Project Manager

so you want to lead projects?

Role

As a project manager, you can expect to be the face of the project - everyone will come to you for information regarding the project! You’ll often find yourself leading both stakeholder and project team meetings. Project managers create project plans which outline a project from start to finish. More often than enough, the project manager will allocate resources to all of the project tasks and will be responsible for modifying the schedule as needed.

Characteristics

Charisma and a commanding presence is essential as you’ll need to be comfortable presenting in front of executives and clients. However, that’s only a small part of such a significant role. Borderline perfectionists and organization savvy individuals perform best as a project manager. You’ll need to be tactful when it comes to sharing information about the project. Shy away from becoming the project manager who cried wolf as not every issue demands a mental breakdown. Be mindful that the project team and stakeholders will look to you for how setbacks impact a project. With that said, if you freak out, they will freak out!

Whether your project stakeholders are internal staff or external clients, you’ll need to possess exemplary communication skills and do well with holding a conversation. You’ll often find yourself prying information from stakeholders to gather project requirements or deliverable feedback. You’ll need to be able to communicate to both a technical and non-technical audience. Therefore, consider brushing up on the technical terms which relate to your project.

It also helps to be punctual as you will be responsible for updating the project status within the project plan. If your stakeholder has access to the project plan, they’ll often consult the project plan for updates rather than reach out to the project manager directly.

Education

Some colleges offer project management programs that are designed to prepare you for obtaining your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Whether or not you intend to sit for the exam, the coursework that you’ll go through will provide you with a solid foundation for understanding project management principles.

Is obtaining a certification required? Well, that heavily depends on the company. While some companies will require that a project manager have their PMP, others simply desire experience. Although the certification is not always necessary, it’s nice to have if you intend to work for the government or larger Fortune-500 companies. Obtaining the certification requires the following:

  • Course enrollment

  • Logging real-life project hours

  • Passing the PMP exam

Just be mindful that if you intend to pursue the certification and pass the exam, you will be required to maintain your validity by taking continuing courses.