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How to get into Project Management


A skilled and experienced project manager is an asset for any organization because the person is responsible for managing a project throughout its lifecycle. Having said that, you may be wondering how to get into project management? Our project managers created by accident, luck, or careful planning? The answer is - a project manager may be created by accident or some may enter into the profession with careful planning. Whatever be your choice, this post aims to answer the key question - how to get into project management? Why is it a lucrative career option?

Why Project Management Is In Demand

To answer this question let’s have a quick look over the following stats-

  • Over 2.2 million new project management roles will be created between 2017 to 2027 across the globe.
  • By 2027, 87.7 million individuals will be hired in different project management capacities globally. This is exactly a 33% increase from 2017.
  • In the US, the median salary of project management is almost 82% higher than non-project management professionals.
  • The project manager earns an average salary of $75,474 with an additional cash compensation of $1,541 and $19,755.
  • There is a high demand for project management professionals in industries like publishing, healthcare, and professional services.

The stats don’t lie. It is no doubt that Project Management has a tremendous demand irrespective of the industry. The real question then arises- How to get into project management? Let’s explore now-

An Overview of Project Management

Project management is the discipline of managing projects or projects in business organizations. Although the roles of the project managers may slightly vary across industry segments, the process of project management can be broken into the following phases:

  1. Conceptualization/initiation: This is the first phase where the project is initiated.
  2. Planning: In this phase, the project planning takes place. The full scope of the project including its objectives and deliverables, tasks involved, task completion timelines, internal and external resources allocation, budgeting, and so on, are decided here.
  3. Execution/implementation: In this phase, the project is executed as per the plan. Here, the project managers may adopt project management methodologies like Scrum, agile, lean, Kanban, six sigma, and so on.
  4. Monitoring and controlling: The project progress is monitored on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. In this phase, the work progress is compared to scope, schedule deadlines and baselines, and costs.
  5. Closing: This is the last step in project management. In this phase, the comparisons are made between the accomplished project results and established objectives. This phase also involves ensuring the completion of tasks directly or indirectly related to a project such as document archiving, paying invoices of external resources ( if any), closing contracts, and so on.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Project Manager

A project manager is expected to perform the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Communicating with team members through a mix of media such as phone calls, emails, team meetings, chats, and so on. This will help them understand the status of the project. This will help them understand the progress made on different tasks and ensure the smooth completion of the project.
  • Challenges addressal is another key responsibility of a project manager. Regular communication and follow-ups on tasks will allow project managers to identify the roadblocks or challenges and address them before they escalate.
  • Cost control and budgeting including cost approval and resource management may be performed by a project manager.
  • Reporting and communicating the project progress to stakeholders is another key responsibility that many project managers undertake.
  • Managing a team and creating a favourable work environment for all members to work and collaborate is also a responsibility that many skilled project managers shoulder happily.

If you read carefully, you can see these responsibilities demand certain skills which you need to develop or sharpen to succeed in a highly competitive work environment. What these skills are? How they can create a successful project manager? Read the next section to know the answers.

Important skills That Make a Successful Project Manager

Soft Skills

Soft skills are interpersonal skills or people’s skills, which are core skills needed to succeed in any business organization. As with any other skill, these soft skills can be acquired and practised. The following are a few popular soft skills that project managers must possess.

  • Communication: Any project may involve multiple teams that collaborate in real-time to complete tasks. The project manager’s job is to communicate with these teams to ensure the timely completion of tasks. Nowadays, project managers use various tools to communicate with team members, project sponsors, key stakeholders and outside vendors.
  • Leadership Skills: The job of a project manager is not only limited to project outcomes or success, rather it demands leadership qualities. The leadership quality is not acquired in a day and it focuses on core people management. You need to clearly and effectively influence, inspire, and motivate a team and build a consensus between the team members. This becomes only possible when you guide and lead them through challenges.
  • Conflict Resolution: A project team may comprise members of different experience levels and age groups. Generally, the project teams follow a typical routine, still, there are bound to be tensions and conflicts between team members. A project manager must be able to tackle this situation and ease tensions between the team members easily.
  • Time Management: Time management and resource allocation are two important requirements of a project. A project manager must be capable to handle both. The person must ensure that the tasks are completed on time, and the project is moving ahead as per the schedule. Time management involves several intricate concepts such as foreseeing or anticipating challenges, adding adequate buffer time between different tasks, and ability to manage resources.
  • Decision Making: A project manager must consider other views and inputs and summarize them to make a clear decision. This is extremely important to ensure project success.
  • Negotiation: A project manager with good negotiation skills is an asset to any team. The negotiation may be in terms of resources, budget, or human relationships. A capable project manager always believes in creating a win-win situation in such conflicts.
  • Motivation: Although team members in the project team may work towards a common goal, still, they may need an extra boost of motivation at times. This is when they may look forward to a project manager who can intervene and lend extra help or motivate them to do better.
  • Coaching: This is one soft skill that enables project managers to exploit their potentials and elevate their skills to the next level.

Hard Skills

These are the skills that most people acquire during the job. These skills are quantifiable and measurable and utilized for specific processes.

  • Technical Expertise: The project manager must possess technical knowledge of their domain or industry if they wish to lead the team. It is impossible to lead a team without knowing the specifics that lead to success or failure.
  • Risk Management: Is it a hard skill or a soft skill? Perhaps, it is the combination of both. Project management is not always about resource and people management, it is also about addressing unforeseen risks, analyzing the impact of a worst-case scenario, and creating contingency plans.
  • Budgeting: This is one of the key drivers of project success. At every step of the project, a project manager must ensure that the project stays within the allocated budget through resource management and cost control.

Tips to Get Into Project Management

How to get into project management? Can I become a project manager even if I do not have relevant experience? Yes, you can become a project manager anytime in your career by taking the right steps as described below.

  • Learn By Working and Observation
  • If you are considering a career as a project manager, it is important to learn the nuances of a project management routine by observing your project manager.

    You need to focus on things like the objectives and goals of the project, your role in the project, deadlines, steps taken by you and your colleagues at different phases of the project, available resources, challenges, and so on.

    Along with these, you also need to focus on developing or sharpening the aforementioned skills required to manage people and projects.

  • Earn a Project Management Certification
  • The information covered in this post offers you several tips to start your career as a project manager. Many business organizations may hire people with project management experience, however, the demand for certified project managers has increased in recent years.

    Earning project management certifications will help employers understand that you possess relevant skills, knowledge, and experience needed to perform your roles and responsibilities in their organization.

    The following are a few popular project management certifications that you can choose from and attempt in order to kickstart your career-

    1. Project Management Professional (PMP)®: This is the most popular project management certification, which is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) methodology. To clear this exam, you need to attempt 200 multiple-choice questions. There is a high demand for PMP certified professionals in countries like Middle East, Canada, and the United States.
    2. PRINCE2®: This is a project management methodology developed by the UK government, and it equips you with the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful project manager. PRINCE is the acronym for Projects IN Controlled Environments. This certification is valued in many countries in Europe.
    3. Scrum: This is a project management methodology that discusses agility. This methodology addresses the unique challenges in software development. The certification is owned by Scrum Alliance, and there are six certifications offered currently for people in different job roles.

  • Focus on Self Learning: You may have several years of experience to your credit, still, self-learning can be helpful. You can access the study guides for The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Scrum, and PRINCE2 online.

Conclusion

All the aforementioned project management certifications demand extensive preparation and practice along with a disciplined approach and focus.

This Project Management Certification Training will help you to earn your 35 PDU contact hours with PMI accredited certification which will make you eligible to apply for PMP professional.

Curated by-

Ms. Mahima Garg

She is a technology enthusiast and an author who is passionate about ideation, planning, implementing, integrating, and managing business processes for business growth. This led her and the team to build a Global IT Certification and Preparation Platform for professionals which help them get certified and enhance their career growth. With 20+ years of experience in IT and Management, she believes to impart what she has learned in her exciting career.

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