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How to secure a career in Project Management

Project Management

If this intrigues you and you are good at interpersonal skills, Project management is precisely the field you do not want to miss out on.

This blog will be your complete guide to becoming a project manager.

Let’s dive right in

You must be thinking about what it is to be in the shoes of a project manager. Here is the answer to that!

What exactly does a project manager do?

Even though the duties might differ depending on the industry, a project manager works in. The fundamental soft skills stay intact.

Here are some of the most common roles and responsibilities that project managers have

  • Directing the phases of project management
  • Creating a professional business relationship among employees
  • Motivate, mentor, and supervise the group
  • Define goals and targets with the overall scope of the project
  • Track progress using suitable systems, tools, and techniques
  • Coordinate personnel
  • Building budgets and maintaining billings
  • Secure customer input
  • Establishing customer satisfaction
  • Evaluating team performance
  • Have training and workshops
  • Manage projects through KPIs
Tip for newbies-

Suppose you are in the initial stage of the inception of your project management career. 

In that case, you can explore the field by taking online courses at websites like edX, Alison, Coursera, Simplilearn, and Udemy.

A project manager will lead a project and organize personnel from the initial to the completion stage of the task or the project.

Being a friendly team player comes instinctively to a project manager. They can be flexible and adapt to new cultures, people, and situations quickly.

  • Professional certification – PMP (Project management professional) or Prince2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments)

Skills you need for a career in project management –

No matter what field of project management you choose, certain skills will take you far, as this job is very much driven by human connections and the ability to manage and delegate tasks in the best way suited.

Soft skills

  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Management
  • Communication
  • Capability to work under pressure
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Analytical mindset
  • Organization
  • Multitasking
  • Working knowledge of project management tools
  • Time management
  • Presentation skills

Hard skills-

  • Work experience (This includes managerial experience from developing in-house platforms for internal processes and coaching and educating project teams to strengthen the team’s skill set and capabilities to have knowledge of the field you will be managing. Example- IT Project management)
Note- 

Do not jump into project management without prior on-the-job experience, as you need to be highly efficient with the processes and tools of project management, like network diagrams, critical path methods, Gantt charts, etc.

Education required for project management

Even though a formal certification in project management is not a necessity, it will provide you with a headstart in the field.

Addressing the former, “a formal certification in project management is not a necessity.”

Here is the exact reason why –

  • The Project Manager does not belong to only one field as the projects belong to separate lines of business activities, such as art, software logistics, linguistics, economics, etc.
  • Agencies might require you to hold a degree in that field for a better understanding. This makes project management education entirely up to your own will and desire to improve yourself professionally.

Self-development and learning with a will to constantly develop oneself throughout a lifetime are vital for keeping your career at the top.

You can opt for a college degree that can prove helpful for a future project since the academic world will teach you how to study and acquire knowledge gradually.

Challenges and Career problems of Project Managers

From the naked eye, it might seem all a project manager has to do is delegate and operate according to their own will, but this job goes much deeper.

  • Constant work –
    No matter if it is a holiday or hours after work, a project manager usually has to constantly be on their toes as they are in charge of meeting deadlines
  • Conflict with clients-
    The job of managing projects can be pretty hectic as you need to put the demand of clients first if there are any last-minute changes in the project. You will not just have to make a plan of action but delegate and manage personnel under a short deadline.
  • Dynamic working conditions-
    The ways of managing projects can change at any given point in time, and the Project Manager has to constantly be on their toes and be ready to work in high-stress environments.

Ways of Project management

There are various frameworks and approaches that project managers use in order to conduct a project. These vary based on the goals of the project, organization, etc.

Some of these frameworks Include –

Agile

  • As the name suggests, this series of practices and principles are based on adaptability.
  • This is used for projects that face constant changes during their progress.
  • Cycles – The agile framework is based on short delivery cycles called sprints. Feedback from the team regularly is used to reshape the project course and work in a dynamic environment.
  • Responsibility – The entire team shares project responsibility in agile, and there is no clearly defined path and control in projects managed in agile. Objectives are set in the beginning, but the deliverables and outcomes can be changed. Stakeholders will review each stage and recommend adjustments accordingly.

SCRUM

  • This style of project management is primarily used in product development and software. Here a product owner is responsible for the product’s direction and the team’s work with the owner.
  • Cycle – Usually, scrum management is divided into smaller cycles of usually two weeks.
  • Responsibility – Team members review their tasks every day and decide what needs to be done throughout the day at the stand-up meeting.

Waterfall

  • Ideology- The waterfall framework forms its basis on the belief that time should be invested thoughtfully in the initial stages of a project to save maintenance time and prevent errors.
  • Industry – Used in companies that build physical products rather than software development.
  • Cycle- Aimed to be linear with a strict fashion to conduct work
  • Responsibility- Strict timelines set.

Seven main phases of Waterfall –

  • Client Requirements
  • Design
  • Creation (Construction)
  • Integration
  • Validation (Testing)
  • Installation
  • Continuous Maintenance

Kanban

  • A visual overview of work takes place using a physical or digital board.
  • This board has three columns: To Do, In Progress, and Done.
  • These columns have the tasks assigned to each team member so that the project manager can monitor the Progress.

Extreme Programming

  • As the name suggests, this framework manages and improves software.
  • Cycles – Quick sprints like SCRUM
  • Responsibility – There is constant collaboration with the stakeholders, and the quick sprints and frequent releases help avoid burnout of employees.

The six main steps –

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control
  • Synergize

Lean

  • Focus – High-quality product delivery with fewer resources
  • Benefits – Helps quickly adapt to changing customer needs
  • Main features- customer value, bottlenecks removal, and repeated process improvement to eliminate waste

Critical Path

  • Four elements to create a blueprint of the project
  1. Listing required tasks
  2. The time needed for each task
  3. Dependencies
  4. Milestones
  • Responsibility – The project manager differentiates items as critical or non-critical.
  • Industry- Commonly used by manufacturers and scientists
  • Benefits- Fair allocation of resources, bottleneck prevention, and more efficiency leading to faster completion.

PRiSM (Projects integrating Sustainable Methods)

  • Using this style, environmental factors are kept in mind every time a blueprint is created for the management of any project.
  • Industry – Commonly used for architecture and construction.
  • Benefits- Helps reduce pollution levels, saves energy, and eliminates waste.

PRINCE2 (Projects In Controlled Environments2)

  • Benefits-
  1. More control over resources
  2. Enhanced risk management
  3. Accountability allocation is done in a structured manner.
  4. Regular review cycles
  • Responsibility-
  1. Divided between higher-authority project board and project manager
  2. Higher authority project board: Provides resources and sets up the business justification.
  3. Project manager- Team management by taking care of themes, principles, and processes needed to complete the task most suitably.

Now there are various other approaches to project management you can use.

The most common ones are the predictive approach, Waterfall, and the Iterative approach, agile. Both have pros and cons depending upon the industry, company culture, etc.

Data suggests that 60% of organizations go for the Hybrid method rather than coming to a singular approach. Hybrid is an excellent method as you get the flexibility of agile and leverage the proper structure through Waterfall. 

Bonus- 

Here are some of the most commonly used project management softwares you can try your hand on 

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Zoho Projects
  • Wrike
  • Paymo

Commonly asked questions in a Project Management Interview –

Key Takeaways

  • Who is a Project Manager
  • Qualifications necessary for project management
  • Frameworks of managing a project

Now that you have a deeper insight into how project management works,
It is your turn to explore this field and create a spectacular work profile, as this job is high in demand and will pay you well!

Sanskriti Sharma Sanskriti is a content writing intern with beyond grades and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Her work ranges from Research papers, Articles, and Book and Film Reviews, and her qualifications are in Media Research, World Cinema, Digital Marketing, Public relations, and Behavioral science as well.

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