The Career Change Project Manager

The Career Change Project Manager

Insights | 01 June 2015

Is Project Management for you?

Career change statistics typically suggest that we will average around 6 career changes in our working life. There is an indication that for future generations, this will increase. Career change may be enforced or by choice. Increasingly we are seeing more and more people seizing the chance to plan their career and some, of course, are turning to project management.

Why Project Management?

“…Project management is a critical strategic discipline, the project manager becomes the link between the strategy and the team”.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition

Regardless of industry, size or sector, projects are an inherent element of successful organisations. Projects are essential to growth and survival. Projects, project management and project managers are required in all types of organisations and industries.

Many of us get a taste of projects in our day-to-day operational roles – and want more.

Project management may not always be glamorous but it is intensively rewarding: think achievements – attaining milestones, delivering to plan, resolving issues and conflicts, reaching deadlines and meeting customer expectations!

10 Key interpersonal skills

In embarking on a career in project management, interpersonal skills are quintessential. Do you enjoy and excel in:

  1. Communication. With all different levels within an organisation, different personalities, and different communication dimensions from written, oral, verbal, non-verbal, official, ‘off the record’, internal, external to formal and informal.
  2. Problem solving. Projects are challenging – a skilled project manager needs to be able to fact-find, probe ideas and situations and manage expectations on a regular, often daily, basis.
  3. Negotiating. Projects typically require reaching agreements on limited resources such as people, money, equipment, and time. Effective negotiation skills are integral to project success.
  4. Influencing. As a project manager you may not necessarily have the authority, but you often will need to ‘make things happen’ through others. Persuasion and persistence are implicit in a project manager’s toolkit.
  5. Managing Conflict. Conflict can be good or bad, the key is that it must be managed appropriately. Some conflicts may actually benefit your project by encouraging the search for new or different solutions. Conflict management involves building trust in an open and honest environment.
  6. Motivating and coaching. Projects are about people working to meet agreed project objectives. Successful projects depend on committed teams – as a project manager when the going gets tough you need to motivate, coach, lead and inspire your team to new heights.
  7. Political and cultural awareness. Projects involve different people and are about introducing change often across diverse areas. Increasingly project managers need to operate in a global environment – trust, effective communications and skilful use of politics is important for success.
  8. Team player and team builder. Project management is a team concept. The project manager needs to accomplish work through the team and other stakeholders. Team building is ongoing throughout the project and often a continuous approach is required, given changing team dynamics.
  9. Decision making. Day to day decisions (sometimes on limited information) need to be made and acted upon. Projects are not about autocracy – decision making needs to be informed, involving team members and other stakeholders as appropriate. Decision-making approaches will need to be adjusted based on time constraints, level of buy-in, and quality of information available.
  10. Leadership. Paradoxically we talk about project ‘management’; realistically, savvy and successful project managers are leaders.

“Effective project managers acquire a balance of technical, interpersonal, and conceptual skills that help them analyse situations and interact appropriately.”

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition

For advice and guidance on suitable courses to undertake to become a project manager or to advance your skills as a Project Manager speak to us today on +65 6818 5771

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