How To Become A Project Manager???

November 10, 2010

How to Become a Project Manager???

There comes a time where you’ve finished your undergrad and now it’s time to join the workforce. As a new college graduate, you’ve taken on an entry-level position, given it your all and from all of the hard work you’ve put in it’s time to move up that corporate ladder. Along the way you’ve worked on and lead projects. You hear about positions in the field of project management and would like more information.

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers can have the responsibility of the planning, execution, and closing of any project, typically relating to construction industry, architecture, computer networking, telecommunications or software development. [1]

How to Get Started

The evolution of your ability to succeed in project management starts with your education. There are collegiate programs that offer undergraduate as well as graduate studies to obtain a degree in project management. “Consider joining a volunteer or social organization to gain first-hand experience in project management. Offer to run the next drive or head the next fundraiser. Plan the next event for your organization, whether it be arranging transportation or finding lodging or carrying out daily duties. As a project manager you will assign someone else to call the airlines and hotels involved. Your job is to make sure the project gets done – not to do it.” [2]

The skills that you must possess in order to become a project manager are: [3]

1. Be a Leader and a Manager

Leaders share and communicate a common vision; they gain agreement and establish the forward direction. They motivate others. Managers are results driven and focus on getting work done against agreed requirements. Good project managers will constantly switching from a leader to a manager as situations require.

2. Be a Team Builder and a Team Leader

It is up to the project manager to set the “tone” of the team, and to lead them through the various team development phases to the point where they perform as a team.

3. Be a Problem Solver

There are many different problems that you will face in this role, interpersonal, internal sources, external sources, technical sources, management sources, communication, and opinions or perceptions. This is where you as the project manager have to diagnose the cause of these problems and come up with solutions to continue to move forward in a productive manner.

4. Be a Negotiator and Influencer

Negotiation is working together with other people with the intention of coming to a joint agreement. For this you need to have some influencing skills. Influencing is getting events to happen by convincing the other person that your way is the better way – even if it’s not what they want.

5. Be an Excellent Communicator

Being a communicator means recognizing that communication is a two-way street. Information comes into the project and information goes out of the project. As a project manager you will have to deal with both written and oral communications. Some examples are documents, meetings, reviews, reports, and assessments.

6. Be a Good Organizer

To be a good organizer you’ll need to have a checklist of items that are important and critical to this project coming to pass. For example, come up with a sort of project filing system. This filing system should contain documents such as e-mails, memos, reviews, meetings, specialist documents, requirements and specifications, reports, changes, issues, and risks.

7. Be a Competent And Consistent Planner

As a project manager you will certainly own the project plan, but there may be others depending upon the project.

8. Set-Up and Manage Budgets

The project manager will need certain knowledge of financial techniques and systems along with accounting principles.

These skills, education and experience in managing projects will make you an indispensible asset as a project manager. Project managers who possess their certification whether it be SCRUM, PMP, etc. are highly sought after assets for a business or company.

Conclusion

Now that you have the eight skills in learning how to become a project manager it’s time to go forth and prove yourself worthy. Prove yourself worthy by receiving a great education, gain experience by leading projects and become a certified project manager to afford you the opportunity to climb that corporate ladder. Successful projects aren’t delivered by successful teams alone, but it takes a great project manager to pull it all together. Show that you can exemplify what it takes to run a project by getting involved in leadership opportunities in school, at work, and in your community. Join PMI and lead meetings, fundraising activities, or hold an office. Get your name out there by leading projects and gaining experience and do your very best at any project that you lead.

References:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_manager

2. http://www.projectsmart.co/uk/

3. http://pmstudent.com/getting-started-in-project-management

By Tamara Cunningham

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