What it Takes to be a Project Manager
Art Casasa, PMP, PfMP, PgMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, CSM, CSPO, CSSBB, Certified Change Management Practitioner
In recent months, I was asked a few times the personality traits, skills, and attributes that someone pursuing a career in project management should have.
In this short article, I will try to share my opinion on what a good project manager should do, what sort of value project management brings, and how to build your brand. If you are a project manager or would like to come into the profession, read on. In no particular order, I will address these items below.
First, we all agree that a good project manager should bring projects on time, on budget, and within the desired scope and quality. The latter is probably just the minimum requirements that any project manager needs to accomplish, but that is not only what you should be aiming to do.
As the profession has progressed, time, schedule, scope, and quality are the minimum to consider when managing projects. The next big step and something more common nowadays is bringing value as a project manager. To provide value, you must first understand what that is and how it relates to your projects. In general, bringing value to a project goes beyond what I have expressed previously and is not only the notion of bringing your project in control. It includes questioning why we manage the way we manage projects, find better ways to do it, and remove waste from your process. It means engaging your stakeholders, working with them closely, ensuring you are working on the right things, continuously improving, and being a business partner to your teams. Always measure yourself by the service you provide to others, the organization, society, define what is valuable to your stakeholders, and act on it. To determine what is relevant, talk to your stakeholders, never assume, communicate, and then communicate one more time. And when you think you are done communicating, find if you missed anything and discuss it one more time.
When you are a project manager, one of the most important aspects is to make sure that your brand, what you have to offer, is in line with what proper project management is. There are several aspects to consider when building your brand; some include relatively easy ones to more in-depth behaviors. From simple things such as coming in before your meetings start and having all materials ready before your stakeholders arrive, understanding all your assigned projects' value, showing speediness by sending meeting minutes immediately after your sessions to more in-depth behaviors. In-depth practices include what sort of leadership you apply to your projects. For most project management applications, you probably need to think servant leadership style, how assertive you are when you need to be, how you escalate problems, how well accepted you are in your teams, and so forth.
Probably the essential behavior or trait that you need to cultivate is patience. As a project manager, you will come into situations that might look impossible to resolve. These situations involve angry stakeholders, financial problems, behavioral problems, customer issues, and people looking for immediate resolutions to rooted difficulties. Despite the latter, you need to keep your cool and remain composed in front of all your stakeholders, once you lose your patience, once the tone of your voice and your acts reflect impulsivity, harshness, intolerance, impatience, game over you lost your project. Solve the problem and do not add more to the project with poor behavior.
Finally, always remember that project management is genuinely, once of those grassroots professions that build on experience and training. If you commit and want to be an excellent project manager, look for people who can mentor you within the company and look for what globally is considered proper project management. Join an organization like PMI, become a PMP, and attend some of their seminars or local events. Look at what other organizations do regarding project management, interact with your peers in other industries, and be surprised by the wealth of information out there. It will open your eyes and will make you a better project manager.
The Future: A New Generation of Human Capital
Dr. Marisela Jiménez, PMI Contributor
If you are thinking about starting a business because you no longer want to work for an employer and deal with the demands of the daily grind, think again. Consider this question, “Are you sure you have what it takes to be a business owner?” In my advice to solopreneurs, wannabe entrepreneurs, and business owners, I tell them to consider the most fundamental business principle, money. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of startup businesses fail in their first year, and about 50% fail by their fifth year. Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year.
This rate of failure is preventable, but most people who endeavor with their business idea often follow traditional models of marketing by joining a Chamber of Commerce because that is the place to get help and referrals. While membership with a local chamber may prove to be useful, let us be clear that unless you understand the complexities of starting and managing a business, you will not succeed. The Small Business Administration reported that Over 627,000 new businesses open each year and at the same time, about 595,000 businesses close each year. The average 30 percent of business owners who succeed are the ones that built a comprehensive business plan, raised healthy levels of cash flow, and acquired the relevant human capital to strategically manage the needs and challenges of the business.
Therefore, future market demands will reject the past approaches of starting and managing a business. A new generation of human capital is expected to think and act strategically, to produce tangible value, and to take ownership for the success of the business. Whether you decide to remain with your current employer, find another one, or start your own company, be prepared to use new technologies, engage in collective intelligence, and see the world with a culturally competent new set of lenses.
In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Moving forward, take time to reflect on where you are and where do you want to go from here. Regardless of your decision, ensure it is rational and future-driven. Hence, employers are already reshaping their recruitment model, and many companies have already implemented best practices to select the most adaptable talent to lead their organization.
 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/bdm/us_age_naics_00_table7.txt
 Source: SBA. https://www.sba.gov/
Project Management Isn't...
LaToshia Norwood, PMP
President, PMI Houston
Project Management Isn't...
...just a strategy that's used at the office. Project management is a methodology that offers an essential toolkit of strategies that can be used for managing real-life projects too.
In just a few short weeks, students and teachers will transition into new and uncharted territory, full-time virtual learning, a real-life project. While some are indifferent about the transition, others are terrified. Teachers will bare the responsibility of planning lessons that fill knowledge gaps, facilitating interactive lessons virtually for students with varied learning styles, capabilities, and in some cases meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Students, on the other hand, will be responsible for managing multiple classes "projects" at home with limitless distractions, which will be impossible to do without a healthy dose of discipline and time management.
Do you know what I'm getting at? I hope you do. It's time for YOU to jump into the game!
I'm glad you asked. Seek opportunities to teach and share project management strategies. What may be second nature or common knowledge for you, will be a game-changer for those who aren't as familiar with project management.
Great question. Virtually of course. Create a FREE Zoom, WebEX or Teams account and you're ready to go.
Yet another great question! Start with your family, friends, neighbors, and church members. Let them know that you're a project management expert and would you'd like to share a few strategies to help them prepare for the upcoming school year.
You're on a roll. There's no better time than NOW. Schools are scheduled to open in the next few weeks, so that gives you ample time to plan, schedule, and launch your FREE project management training.
What's in it for you?
Can you say PDUs? Yes, PMI awards project management professionals (PMPs) with PDUs for teaching and presenting project management strategies.
Are there any resources available?
Yes! There are a ton of FREE resources that are available for download on the PMI Educational Foundation website.
Are you up for the challenge?
I am and I hope you are too! Honestly, I really want to PMI Houston to create a movement. Together we can share the gift of project management. We can become the hub that companies, practitioners, and PMP hopefully rely on. If you're in, post a note in the comments section below. I would love to post and share your story and let the project management community know just how awesome you are.
Quote of the Month
"Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet." - John Lewis