There are positions available for project managers all over modern America. However not all project managers have the required skills to do the job they are given. Indeed, some people find themselves in the role as a result of a request by their employer. Would they be able to handle a project for the next couple of days, weeks or months? The answer is, of course, yes, and this can often be the turning point into a new career that wasn’t planned for.
However it matters little whether you are looking into this career as a possibility or you are already there by chance rather than design. Gaining experience is essential if you are to excel in this position. The more you have the easier you will find it to manage each new project that comes your way.
It is unlikely you would start your career in project management by handling a multi-million dollar project with huge responsibilities that impacted every area of a business. Instead it is far more likely you would begin in a smaller way, perhaps with a project in your department area.
This is exactly how you want to begin. Taking on a large project as your first one is not only challenging, it can set you back before you have begun to develop your skills. Some may successfully navigate the many obstacles in front of them, but it is far better to start with a more basic project if you can.
Look to obtain a qualification
If you are looking for a position as a project manager, or you have been thrust into that position while working for a particular company, you’ll probably want to dress well to ensure you look the part. However you may also want to brush up on your skills to ensure you can deliver the results that will likely be expected of you. There are many risks involved in project management, as one particular report into IT projects confirmed. Learning how to manage a project fully from start to finish – including learning where the most common pitfalls lie – is an essential skill. It is also one that can be partially taught through taking a good course resulting in a recognized qualification. You must be able to identify the focus of each project so you can approach it and break it down into bite-sized pieces. For example a marketing project may require you to deliver a specific percentage increase on sales for a certain period of time. Finding solid communications strategies you can use to communicate with customers both old and new is just one skill you will learn over time, and through achieving a qualification. Having a certificate in project management is something not all project managers have, so to achieve one will give you a head start over many other managers in similar roles.
Be prepared to work with a variety of tools and methods
There are many ways to manage a project, especially when you take into account our position in the 21st century. We have technology at our fingertips, including the internet, various software products and apps that are designed to make life easier. These can all be used to communicate with team members working on a project, not to mention making certain aspects of the process easier to manage. One study found that project managers most successful in meeting the aims of their projects were more likely to exhibit certain features. Finding the right people, tackling the basics and handling any changes on the way to completion all appeared in this list. We could also reasonably add the willingness to use various tools to help make tasks easier to complete.
In a sense, experience can only be gained by leading and managing a project from start to finish. All the training you could have would never fully prepare you for the reality of any project. However it will give you the basic framework you can use to support you through every project you handle from that point on. This applies regardless of whether you are looking into the profession or whether you are already there and trying to work out what you should do next.