A project manager is not just required for multi-million-dollar construction builds; anything from upgrading to new software to launching a new manufacturing capability will have an end goal that needs to be supported throughout the process. These projects need a skilled leader to make sure everything stays on track, objectives are being met, and results will be delivered on schedule and within budget.
Throughout all stages of project management – initiation, planning, execution, monitor and control, and closing – a project manager is there to bring order to chaos, hold the team together, maximize resources, and deliver high-quality outputs.
You might be reading this and realizing that you have been a “project manager” without the official title and really enjoyed the experience and responsibilities. If you are thinking of beginning or transitioning to a career in project management, consider some of the resources and certifications below to get you started.
Characteristics of a Project Manager
A project manager is there to get things done. They will oversee the team and keep everyone focused to ensure they’re working on the right tasks. A project manager will possess many qualities such as being goal-oriented, well-organized, and a good communicator. Some of the responsibilities they might have include:
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- Resource management;
- Planning the project with sponsors;
- Conflict management;
- Ensuring the project is aligned to strategic goals;
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- Creating a project schedule;
- Change management;
- Stakeholder communication;
- Assigning and tracking tasks; and
- Providing leadership to the team.
So essentially, anything project-related is on the horizon of the project manager. They are the leaders of the project and manage the teams that are executing the project plan. Depending on the project, managers may also need to have technical skills such as creating and using dashboards, Gantt charts, timesheets, and task management tools.
Project Management Accreditations
Between 2010 and 2020, the project management profession is expected to add $87.7M in roles and USD$6.61 trillion to the global economy. Project management is a framework for tackling big ideas in the right way at the right time and there is great opportunity and room for success for those who have the abilities of a great project manager.
There are many levels of project managers and the scope of any project may require different background and experience. Here are some of the top recognized beginner to intermediate project management certifications:
Administered by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM), this project management certification is focused on a broad knowledge base and emphasizes effective resource allocation, clear direction, adaptability to change, effective communication, and assurance of quality deliverables at minimal risk. The APM program is designed for the entry-level project manager, or for those who want to start a career in the field.
Administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), this course is the forerunner to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. For professionals with a high-school diploma, associate degree or equivalent, or with only basic project management experience, the CAPM is a great stepping-stone to the more demanding PMP.
This is an entry-level certification similar to the PMI’s CAPM credential. Administered by CompTIA, this certification solicits feedback from the computing industry, government representatives, research institutions, academia, and independent experts to design the certification.
The PMP is an intermediate-level certification and requires a hefty list of requirements and experience to achieve. This test covers everything needed to prove your knowledge and skill in managing the “triple constraints”: time, cost, and scope. The PMI also administers this certification and works continuously with businesses and academia to ensure relevance for the certification. The PMP is a globally recognized certification, so it offers a lot of value and benefits to achieve this level of project management.
While project management may seem simple in theory, the road to becoming a certified project manager is not an easy task. It requires hours of studying, exams to pass, and discipline to renew your certification. You are spending a lot of time and money on these certifications, so think of it as an investment in your career in project management.
“If it’s anybody’s job, then nobody will do it. People are happy to work on the project, but without a project manager to plan the project, delegate tasks, and keep the team on point, nothing will get done because everyone will think their task is someone else’s job.”
– BrightWork CEO, Éamonn McGuinness
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