So You Think You Have What It Takes To Be A Project Manager?

When I hear the term project management, I immediately think of long-hours, large reports, endless nightmares of people not doing what is expected, and the love of being in control of my team. I used to fantasize about how I would spend all the free time because my team was so productive!

Then reality kicked in.

And I realized that it takes some time before you can smell the roses as it were when you get into project management. If you are looking to take this up as your career path, you are probably wondering what you need to know…

Well, the good news is through this article, we will go through the basic procedures of project management. Outline key core skills that are a MUST. And of course, list the four different types of project managers there are out there.

Project Management For Beginners

If you have dreams of resting your feet up on a desk, enjoying your favorite book and knowing that everything is going as planned – you’re not thinking of project management.

Even the most veteran project managers are thrown curve-balls from changed deliverables, extended team vacations, and sick days.

But essentially, your responsibilities would be managing deliverables, streamlining the pipeline, and keeping team morale and ingenuity at an all-time high! Find out how to do just that here. Of course, you will also be responsible for managing your team, and bringing new team members onboard.

Core Skills That You Will Need As A Project Manager

I like to think of the three essential skills for project managers as your stumbling blocks to success. As developing these skills is not exactly something the business school can teach you. It takes tons of trial, error, and bumping your head – but once you nail them; you are golden.

Pipeline Management

The first task is being able to manage a large scope of work. That means assigning work to both your team members and yourself. Making sure everyone understands exactly what is expected of them. Being clear on deliverables, and everything in between.

Generally, we recommend making use of organizational management software. Something as simple as a Trello board, or Zendesk integration can make this process so much easier for you to manage personally.

Communication

Communication. In college, it seems that this skill was nowhere to be found. Lecturers focused on tailoring us for more at-the-desk jobs, right?

But as a project manager it is crucial to be able to clearly communicate with both your team members and shareholders/managing partners. After all, the last thing you want is to expect a certain task tomorrow and be informed that they only thought it was due the following week.

Or take tons of valuable time working on a project, just to be told as you complete it – that the client has gone ahead and canceled on you.

Now, I can tell you personally that is a horrible experience.

Great tools to improve team communication are SaaS applications, such as Slack, Zendesk, and so forth.

Team Productivity Management

Almost 70% of the American workforce struggles to keep themselves motivated. Which makes sense considering over 90% of them hate their jobs. But as a project manager, it makes things just that much harder.

After all, it’s your job to not only motivate yourself, but also motivate your team members, and keep things fun at the workplace, which is proven to improve productivity at work.

Different Types Of Project Managers; What’s Your Ambition Like?

Of course, as with almost every job out there, you have different forms of product management jobs. Some of which are based on skill sets, where others are based on the experience you have.

Project Coordinator (Entry-level)

This is generally where project management grad students wind up first. This is an entry-level position where you manage per project.

The big drawback?

You’re essentially a paper-pusher for the first couple of years of your life. But you will also be helping the lead project manager wherever possible. Whether it is scheduling meetings, or helping automate meetings and streamline the pipeline.

Project Scheduler (You’re Climbing Up The Ladder)

Great, so your slowly starting to move up the corporate ladder. No longer are you a paper-pusher, but now you can be a button-pusher!

This role involves inputting all the information supplied by the management team and updating files on the CRM (if the company uses one!)

The big drawback?

This position is more about technical experience then project management skills per say, which can make it a real bore for those that are passionate about their chosen field.

Assistant Project Manager (You’re Almost There!)

Despite what the name says – the majority of the time, the assistant project manager, and main project manager do not work together. Generally, the assistant is given their own batches or projects that they need to care for. Generally, there is a monthly report that needs to be submitted, which outlines the progress of the project compared to expected deliverables.

Project Manager (Woot! You Have Made It)

Finally. You have studied. You have been a grinder. You have been a hustler. Now you are ready to step into the world with your experience, and big boy/girl pants on. It’s time to take up your role as the lead project manager.

Now is where you will be put in charge of team management, delegating tasks, streamlining the pipeline, managing deliverables, and all of that good stuff.

You will also be responsible for other tasks such as budget management, and team responsibilities.

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I’m no Jethro Tull, but I live a pretty exciting life too!

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