If you’ve been contemplating a career path that melds strategic planning, problem-solving, and effective leadership, look no further than project management. Being a project manager means playing an integral role in any organization — envisioning and executing key initiatives that drive growth and efficiency. The project management field is dynamic, challenging, and rewarding; it offers a unique blend of analytical thinking and interpersonal skills, and it’s a role in high demand across multiple industries. A career in project management opens up a world of opportunities to make a meaningful difference in businesses and society.
Read on to delve deeper into why choosing a career in project management could be one of the best decisions you ever make. We’ll also share a project management course you can take to gain certification and ultimately land a great project management job.
What Are Projects Anyway, and Why Do They Need to Be Managed?
A project, broadly defined, is a short-term task with specific objectives. Cooking a meal for the family. Replacing a light fixture. Revamping a restaurant menu. Overhauling an HR department. Whether the goal is replacing antiquated software systems or feeding your family, everything in a project needs to align with that main goal. As illustrated by the examples above, projects can have varying levels of complexity and impact. A successful project may only affect your immediate family or benefit multiple departments across a large organization.
So, what is project management? Let’s explore this in the next section.
What Is Project Management?
Project management is just what it says: seeing that project through using effective management. If you’re just mowing the lawn, you may not need a team of resources and a highly detailed project plan, but you still need an idea of what steps need to be taken, the order in which they should occur, and what you’ll need in place before you get started. If you don’t own any lawn equipment, the scope of your little landscaping project may include more than just starting up the mower. If your goals are a bit loftier—say, introducing a new system to address and track support calls—you may need to engage the services of an individual with the right project management skills to manage projects of this scope.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating that a project manager’s life is the project they are running. Depending on the end goal, a PM may have more or less to juggle regarding resources, time allocation, key objectives, and contingency plans. Still, regardless of the variables, the intrepid project manager’s loyalty is to the project itself. A PM will be accountable to the stakeholders in the project, and most (if not all) goals of the project will be very clearly defined from the outset. PMs are generally given broad leeway toward achieving those goals and satisfying the aforementioned stakeholders. So what kind of individual might be best suited for this type of work?
Is Project Management a Good Career for You?
Do you have a knack for time management? Do you excel at organizing disparate elements into a cohesive whole? Do you like solving puzzles that require thinking on your feet and adjusting to changing circumstances? How about working with a broad spectrum of individuals with different skill sets and personalities—does this appeal to you? These are some (but certainly not all) opportunities that come with project management jobs. Suppose any of these seem like a good fit for you. In that case, a career in project management might be worth considering if you like a little more variety in your schedule than the average clock-puncher and relish the idea of seeing a task through to completion.
Why Pursue a Career in Project Management?
If it’s starting to seem like a PM career might appeal to you, or if you’re currently working as a one and are considering whether or not to re-invest in your project management skill set and up your game, thousands of opportunities await your talents. EVERYONE needs project management, and these days any company looking toward the future is keenly aware of the benefits of hiring a well-trained PM to help them see their various short-term goals achieved. This is not a niche field or a new corporate fad. Organizations cannot hope to grow without adjusting to the changing world, and a professional with the right project management skills can help them keep pace.
Career opportunities in project management are many and varied. There are some challenges specific to this career, so next, we’ll look at some potential ups and downs of the project manager journey.
Also Read: All About Project Management Qualifications
Pros & Cons of a Project Management Career
- Flexibility – A strong PM can be a good fit for any organization, not limited by subject matter expert requirements.
- Variety – Every type of business imaginable can benefit from good project management, so highly sought-after project managers can find themselves immersed in various industries and not be tied down to one field of work their entire careers.
- Scalability – The same project manager skills can be applied to small, focused projects and large, broad-scope efforts.
- Defined Duration – Most projects will have goals and timelines nailed down before work begins, so you know when you’ve hit the finish line.
- Recognition – The PM is the face of the project, so when it succeeds, there is no shortage of accolades for the leader of the effort.
- Time Investment – PMs are on the clock for the project’s duration, which could mean plenty of off-hours work.
- Job Security – Projects are temporary endeavors, and a project manager may need to be ready for re-employment elsewhere once efforts have wrapped up.
- Knowledge Gap – A good PM can fit in anywhere, which could create hurdles for understanding if it’s an industry in which the manager has little experience.
- Recognition (but not the good kind) – If a project falls short, the project manager gets called into account.
While there are challenges to sustaining a successful career in project management, some tangible upsides might appeal to someone looking for variety and flexibility in their career path.
Popular Project Manager Skills
What specific project manager certifications and tool proficiencies might potential employers seek when locating the right manager for their project? Below is a brief list of some of the more popular tools and methodologies.
- Agile – The popular Agile approach fits best when flexibility and adaptability are critical to a project. Its collaborative and data-driven approach allows the project manager to adjust to changing conditions and roadblocks quickly. Specific methodologies based on Agile include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.
- Six Sigma – This method follows a structured approach called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) used to identify problems, analyze root causes, implement improvements, and sustain results.
- Jira – This project management application includes features specific to the Agile approach and touts customizable workflows and extensive reporting functions.
- Microsoft Project – The original PM software has been used for decades, integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft applications, and includes various planning, scheduling, and resource management features.
- Asana – Favored by companies tackling extremely complex projects, it also includes various flexible features that can be applied to resource management, issue tracking, and reporting.
There are many ways to master these project manager skills, including an online project management course.
Are You Interested in a Project Management Certification?
These are just a few more popular certifications available to today’s project manager. To obtain some of these highly sought-after credentials and broad-reaching skill sets that any aspiring PM could benefit from, check out our project management certification. Classes are interactive and instructor-led by reputable and talented project management specialists. These experts bring their vast knowledge, industry-specific case studies, and integrated lab work to help make the theory practical and applicable. This six-month project management course culminates in a business-oriented Capstone project allowing students to hone, validate, and display their brand-new skill sets. Increase your potential value, and visit us today.