There will always be an overwhelming demand for skilled professionals to manage a project's lifecycle from inception to completion. Why? Because well-managed projects directly impact the profitability, efficiency and productivity of teams and organisations.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to lead teams to success through organised direction, strong communication and thrives under pressure, you might just be perfect for a career in project management!
What is Project Management?
Project management refers to the framework and process of creating a project plan, detailing the objectives and milestones that will need to be achieved, and then managing resources, team members and timelines to ensure completion.
This typically involves handling the following responsibilities:
- Selecting the right team with the right skills
- Setting deadlines and milestones for progress
- Setting the budget and which tools are required
- Deciding how teams communicate
- Managing and monitoring progress
- Reporting to senior execs or stakeholders
In simpler terms - you define a goal and then take it from A-Z in the best way possible.
What do Project Managers do?
Project management processes will vary from one industry to another but some constants remain. As a high-level overview, you can expect to follow these basic principles that define a “project lifecycle”:
Initiation: A company decides whether a project is needed and feasible. This is assessed and communicated to stakeholders by determining its purpose, the business case, what resources will be needed including tools and budget and detailing who will be involved and impacted by the project. This information is gathered and used in the project charter.
Planning: Creating a project plan that expands on the charter. The project plan goes into more detail about the scope of the project including the deliverables, budget, deadlines, potential risks and how communication will be managed and monitored between teams and stakeholders. It’s the definitive plan of action.
Executing & Monitoring: Putting the plan into action. Here you’ll execute the project plan and monitor the team’s progress as it develops. This is where organisation and the real management muscles are flexed to keep everything on course and adapt to changes or anomalies.
Closing: The project is finalised and turned in for review. At this stage, project managers take a step back to assess how successful the project has been, the highs and lows, which are then fed back to the team. Project management is a constant learning process, there will always be growth opportunities!
Why Project Management is a great career
Now you know the basics of what a project manager does and how they do it, let’s look at some top reasons why Project Management is the career for you. |
1. Huge job opportunities and talent gap
The demand for project managers is rather large indeed! PMI (Project Management Institute) reports that between 2017-2027 there will be 22 million job openings and by the end of the ten-year prediction, employers will need 88 million individuals in project management. With this sort of predicted demand, it’s highly unlikely you’ll struggle to find suitable employment.
2. Exceptional salary even at entry-level
Project Management has alluring salary prospects, Glassdoor.com (as of Oct-22) has the average salary for an entry-level project manager at $70,088, plus $19,719 in bonuses, making a total salary of $89,807. We’re sure you’ll agree this rate of pay is well-above average and with such demand in the market, this number is sure to stay fixed if not rise in the coming years.
3. Diverse options across industries
You might think of project management as linked to IT or construction but pretty much every major industry has a need for project managers. Some of the most common examples are:
- Real Estate
What this diversity also means is that it’s not uncommon for project managers to switch industries after a tenure which reduces career fatigue and complacency.
4. Develop your skills
No one has the full package from the offset. Even the most experienced project managers are always learning. Each project will require you to lean on different skill sets or even learn how to use new technologies.
One of the most valuable traits of an effective project manager is leadership - how well they can communicate, motivate and organise a team towards a collective goal. Couple this with business analytics, where you’ll be analysing results to extract actionable insights for stakeholders and suddenly, you’re becoming a multi-faceted expert.
5. Project variety
As a project manager, you’ll naturally meander between different projects with varied objectives. Switching from one initiative that might involve a long-term strategy that’s unravelled over months to another that needs executing within weeks is both challenging and immensely refreshing. Often, no two projects will be the same and for many, that’s a big selling point.
6. Straight-line career path
Project management has a structured career progression. For some, they prefer a profession with lateral movements but for those that enjoy a more clear and straightforward path, project management is a great fit. Generally speaking, you’ll move from project coordinator to assistant project manager, then project manager to senior level. From here you can move higher up again to VP level and c-suite positions.
7. Flexible and impactful
We won’t pretend that project management isn’t a demanding career - it is. You’re expected to deliver success whilst balancing the efficacy of a team whilst meeting company demands but by the same token, you’re actively involved in and influence workplace culture and act as a bridge between coworkers and stakeholders.
This makes for a pulsing environment but it isn’t exclusively for the office either. Project managers can work remotely, as freelancers or part-time. A work-life balance can be achieved by pursuing a rewarding career.
The other side to project management is how you’ll help to shape organisations by improving efficiency, saving money and creating a healthy environment for peers and colleagues. As you develop technical and soft skills, this impact only grows and spreads leading to more opportunities and a better sense of accomplishment in your career.
6 soft skills for project management
To excel as a project manager you’ll need to develop both hard (technical and educated) and soft (personality and people) skills. Hard skills can be learnt through training or taking courses and will give you the necessary know-how for the day-to-day role of project management but if you’re thinking about starting your career, it helps to know which soft skills are best suited to the role too.
Here are the most useful and widely recognised soft skills that employers look for:
Some people have a natural leadership trait. They are confident in taking point in a situation and guiding others to success. Good leaders inspire confidence in others and are seen as an authority, motivating them and able to get others to buy into their ideas. Leadership skills can be developed over time however if they don’t come naturally.
This is a two-way street. Project managers possess superior communication skills to convey a project’s objectives and how to get there to teams, customers and stakeholders but they also create psychological safety for others to give feedback, share ideas and inspire a collaborative workforce.
3. Conflict resolution
It’s impossible to avoid conflict irrespective of profession. Project managers work with diverse and dynamic teams, and stakeholders and are client-facing too, so there are always going to be situations that call for a calm approach to neutralise conflict. Your ability to resolve conflict will be called upon when people are feeling the pressure, when resources are scarce or if there’s simply a clash of personality amongst coworkers.
One person alone is not responsible for a successful project. It requires the whole team to come together and push for a common goal. Good project managers know this and leave their ego at the door, encouraging a collaborative atmosphere where people feel safe, trusted and valued. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Projects are likely to encounter issues along the way. Scope creep, budgetary issues or other risks can occur at any moment. This means project managers need to be adaptable and able to solve problems in real-time. No amount of planning can prepare for every risk, so being agile and able to mitigate risks are must-have skills.
Being organised is such an overlooked skill. Project managers have to consider many moving parts in a project lifecycle and how they allocate their time is paramount to keeping both teams and projects themselves on track. Not every task deserves equal attention and deadlines can add pressure, a well-organised project manager understands how to prioritise workloads to get the job done efficiently and profitably.
If you’ve got this far and like the sound of what you’re reading, there’s a good chance that project management is a great career choice for you. As a profession that offers flexibility, diverse options, an excellent career path, well-above-average salaries and the opportunity to learn and grow, there’s a lot to love about starting your project management journey.
For more on project management, leadership and related skills, follow our blog here.
Become Certified in Project Management for FREE*
Learn how to drive successful projects that create ecstatic clients, hyper-productive teams and super-satisfied stakeholders in under 12 weeks.
Our Project Management Certificate will cover:
- The terms, methods and different frameworks
- The stages of a project lifecycle from initiation to closing
- Identifying stakeholders and creating a business strategy
- Governing projects, preventing scope creep and budgets
- Managing teams, resources and developing a leadership style
- Post-project reviews, transitioning and facilitation
See the full course overview here.
Learning with Growth Tribe couldn’t be easier. All of our courses are designed to be flexible for the learner with self-paced content so you can manage your time and learning, to best suit your lifestyle.
Join a community of over 25,000 certified alumni who share a passion for growing their skills and positively impacting their careers.
*Are you eligible for STAP?
The staff training assistance programme or STAP offers up to €1000 in funding to get fully certified for in-demand skills such as Digital Marketing, Business & Data Analytics, UX Design and Project Management.
To be eligible all you need is:
To be an EU citizen with a BSN number
Are aged between 18-67
Have earned Dutch income for at least 6 months
For more details on how to apply, click here