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Only a few job roles are as truly versatile as a Project Manager. Not only is Project Management needed in an array of different industries from manufacturing, finance and oil, to fashion, music and IT, but the role itself can grow into many different shapes with almost endless opportunities. Ultimately, this is because the core skills of a Project Manager, communication, organisation and drive are increasingly sought after in all kinds of settings and workplaces. Even for those who dream of starting their own business, Project Management skills are a must-have. On top of that, the world is changing at breakneck speed, and if the Covid-19 crisis has taught us anything, it is that we need to be quick to adapt to new circumstances and that many of these adjustments will be happening within a digital space. The new generation of Project Managers are, therefore, also skilled digital managers, who manage teams sitting in three different continents on a daily basis.
What is Project Management?Project Management is the execution of a temporary, unique project, from the planning phase to the closing chapter. Since it is temporary - meaning it has a start and end date - the project needs its own scope and resources. Because it is unique - meaning it is not a routine operation - a project often involves a specific task force or a team who is not normally working together. A project can be everything from the launch of a new software, the opening of a hotel or the construction of a bridge. What all projects have in common, however, is that they need to stay in-budget and on-time while reaching all goals set from the start. The person in charge of making the magic happen is the Project Manager.
What exactly does a Project Manager do?Completing a project is no simple task; let alone closing it successfully. Project management requires a skill set for a series of tasks that are done in different stages to meet your stakeholder and client requirements. Project managers are also required to keep everyone involved, updated with clear and effective communications. The Project Manager is the main reference point throughout the five stages of a project:
- Project Initiating A starting moment used to understand the client and stakeholders requirements, goals, and objectives.
- Project Planning Developing a plan to reach all the objectives of the project while sticking to an approved budget and timeline.
- Project Executing Engage in and oversee the successful execution of the project in each specific stage.
- Monitoring & Controlling Measuring the performance of the project and tracking progress to be sure everything is running smoothly.
- Closing All the activities related to the project are wrapped up with the team focused on the release or delivery of the project.
The tasks of a Project Manager involve:
- Scoping the project, deciding on the budget and who will do what
- Aligning on expectations with stakeholders
- Assessing risks involved in the project and how these can be mitigated and managed
- Keeping the team motivated and productive
- Communicating with and updating all stakeholders
- Continuously monitoring the quality of the project
- Coordinating the work done by different team members
- Keeping the project within deadlines and budget
- Adapting to new circumstances and dealing with sudden changes
- Making sure the project delivers on the promised outcomes
- Closing the project in style
What are the skills of an effective Project Manager?Each stage of project management requires its own particular skill set, which is why Project Managers are some of the most versatile professionals on the job market.
In order to initiate a project, you will need:
- Analytical and organisational skills to perform a feasibility study and create a project charter
- People skills to recruit the right team members
- Leadership skills to make your team enthusiastic about the project
- Communication skills to neither over-promise nor undersell your capacities
For the project planning phase, you will need:
- Critical thinking skills to find out: What is the actual problem we want to solve?
- People skills to identify all stakeholders. Who will be affected by the project outcome?
- Stakeholder management skills to align expectations with all involved parties
- Communication skills to set and communicate project objectives to all stakeholders
- Structure skills to determine the scope, resources and major tasks within the project, using tools like Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The project execution phase requires:
- Leadership skills to keep your team motivated and active
- Negotiation skills to resolve upcoming conflicts and reaching win-win solutions
- Risk management skills to mitigate risks and decide which ones are worth taking
- Contract management skills for all work with suppliers
For the monitoring and controlling phase of a project, you will need:
- Cost-control skills to make sure you stay within budget.
- Tech skills to use project management software and tools like Monday, Asana and Trello
Finally, for the project closure phase, you will need:
- Critical skills to assess and evaluate project results
- Communication skills to assess project results together with stakeholders
- Leadership skills to show appreciation to your team and help them to keep growing
How much does a Project Manager earn?The salary of a Project Manager depends on whether you work in the public or private sector and where in Denmark you are employed.
- Private company: 39.734 DKK/month
- Municipalities: 34.754 DKK/month
- State employments: 35.847 DKK/month
Is Project Management an in-demand skill?The demand for Project Managers is high. So much so, that the Project Management Institute (PMI®) expects 22 million new project management job openings through 2027 globally. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for advancement within Project Management. Experienced, specialised project managers can increase their salary quickly, and some even consider project management to be CEO training. Both roles have similar challenges, requirements, pressures and financial restraints, and the skills needed for Project Managers have much in common with those of a CEO. Something else that makes Projects Management an in-demand skill is that it requires that you keep learning and developing. You cannot stand still but must regularly refresh your knowledge of tools, processes, new markets, technology, products and services, and customers. Here you can discover "how project management has evolved and what has changed in the new post-COVID world."
How to become a Project Manager and gain project management skills?There are many ways to find out if Project Management is the right fit for you and to get yourself the skills needed to succeed:
- Get a mentor. Ask if someone in your network knows a Project Manager and have a coffee with them. Otherwise, look up a couple of Project Managers on LinkedIn and ask them for a quick chat. No one will be able to describe the ins and outs of the job better than someone doing it on a daily basis.
- Check out some blogs. ProjectManagement.com is a hub for everything Project Management related. It contains material on Project Management, gives you access to experts and offers a network. Brad Egeland’s Blog is written by one of the top influencers within Project Management and offers the kind of inside-expertise that you’d expect from someone with decades of experience and more than 4000 business strategy articles in his portfolio. TaskQue Blog is a Mecca for tutorials, guides, interviews and tips for aspiring and working Project Managers. The Lazy Project Manager is bestselling author Peter Taylor’s guide to “how to do more with less”, and helps you with time and budget - two of the greatest challenges for all Project Managers.
- Get yourself an introductory education. A shorter, practice-oriented education in Project Management might be exactly what you need to decide if Project Management is for you. If you end up feeling that it is not, at least you have learned plenty of essential future-skills that are required and sought after in most positions on today’s job market. You can look into our Project Management course at Talent Garden Rainmaking.
Article updated on: 09 October 2023
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