How do you know when project management, is right for you?
We’ve experienced our fair share of project managers (PM’s). Some came to us with the PM label firmly attached, but were found to be lacking. While others who started out with us in a different capacity, transitioned into the PM role, and turned out to be some of our very best.
How then do you know when project management is right for you? Well, that’s something we’re aiming to answer in this blog post.
Now, while you don’t need to be ticking every one of the below boxes. Obviously, the more you do, the more you’ll realise that project management is likely to be the thing you’re best cut out for.
Lets get ticking.
1. Good communication skills
Arguably, this is the factor that has the greatest impact on the success of a project. Your ability to communicate effectively with your team, ensures both they and you completely understand just what is going on, and what is expected.
Clear, open, on-going, honest, and timely communications are key.
If you’re not ticking this box, then it’s probably worth saving yourself some time, and not reading on. This skill, is that vital for success.
You’ll likely be working with a team made up of different skills and talents – some with specialist knowledge and expertise. It would be near impossible to be as clued up as each of the different skilled individuals. But you’ll need to know enough, so as to be able to communicate effectively with them, and to know how things are progressing. As the PM, you will also likely be the link between the talent and the client. So, you need to be able to translate communications between the two.
Not afraid to ask difficult, or silly questions
It’s always best to look silly early on, when little investment (time, money, effort) has been made. Rather than looking silly later on, when large investments have been made.
A good project manager will ensure everyone, is clear on everything. Whether that involves asking silly or difficult questions. The success of the project must always be the priority.
2. Natural leadership capabilities
Leadership is a complex area. But essentially, it’s really all about getting the most productivity and creativity from a team. And doing so in a way that creates an atmosphere and culture that people can thrive in.
You need to be able to effortlessly deal with and lead, a range of differing personalities – ensuring everyone knows the mission in hand, and the role they are playing in helping to achieve it.
Leadership skills can be learnt and developed. But you must have strong people skills as a foundation to build on.
Dealing with people from different levels of the hierarchy
Whether you’re dealing with a junior designer, or a CEO – you should aim to be relatable, and understanding of their needs.
Therefore being able to adapt to different people and situations is another key skill to have.
Great leaders don’t blame others for mistakes – taking responsibility only for project successes. Instead they share responsibility for both the wins and the losses. They must be comfortable in knowing that any project decision and action made, rests with them.
3. Good organisational and time management skills
Much like having good communication skills, if you’re not ticking this box, then you may as well stop right here.
These are must-have skills.
While new tools and technologies have become hugely beneficial in supporting organisational and time management skills. The best PM’s will have an innate ability to organise effectively – particularly theirs and others, time.
4. Good at embracing change
Rarely, if ever, will a project run completely as planned. Changes will inevitably occur, whereby you’ll find yourself having to deal with new situations or new problems.
Therefore, being able to work in an unpredictable work environment is essential. One in which you are relied upon to minimise the impact any changes could have on a project.
Make decisive, quick decisions
All projects run on tight time scales and deadlines. And beginning new stages of projects are often dependent on the completion of others. Therefore project managers must be quick and decisive in their decision–making, primarily as a way to effectively manage project risks. Which leads nicely onto the next section…
There are a number of different project risks. The most common being:
Cost Risk – Either inaccurate quoting of costs, or scope creep, leads to increased costs.
Schedule risk – Things taking longer than expected. Costs increased, project delivered later than expected.
Performance risk – Not producing the results desired / promised.
It rests on the project manager to guard against and mitigate the above common potential risks.
5. A can-do attitude
Ultimately, a project manager’s role is about getting stuff done, and delivering the very best possible work. They are the one’s that everyone turns too for guidance, answers and solutions. If the project manager doesn’t immediately know, then they’ll certainly know where to go to find the solutions.
Job done, over making friends
Ideally, a project manager should inspire their team. Team members should want to go above and beyond – with the relationship they have with the project manager playing a big part in this. It is crucial however, that the PM doesn’t allow for any form of friendship bias to creep into the way they manage. Showing leniency or favouritism is unacceptable. The sweet spot between friendship and professionalism is where the very best PM’s are able to regularly occupy.
Able to perform in high-pressure situations
Project managers will not only be juggling a lot of different tasks, but they’ll be facing demanding time and budget constraints. All of which can create high-pressure situations. It is vital they are not fazed by these, and so avoid cracking under pressure. More so they need to ensure they avoid exposing the rest of their team to high-pressure situations.
Still with us? Mentally ticked a fair few boxes? Then a career in project management could very much be for you.
The simple truth is we couldn’t do what we do, without our project managers. They really are indispensable. Shown through the rising number of them we continue to employ, and the effect they have had in helping us grow from a small agency, to one now with a global presence.
If you’re in need of some project management expertise, then please do drop us a line. Alternatively, if you think you’re our next great project manager, get in touch. We’re always on the lookout for top talent.
Until next time…