It’s only a few days till December and the launch of open celebration season. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas yourself, it’s going to be hard to get away from the relentless celebrations at work and at home. There will be Turkey. There will be trouble. And if you’ve somehow pulled the short straw, or simply love being right at the centre of it all, you’re going to need a plan.
That’s where project management comes in. The skill and discipline of getting something to work right, it’s as critical a skill at a Thanksgiving buffet or new years party, as it is for building bridges. The key thing is to understand that a project is generally defined as a temporary activity which has a defined beginning and end. A project is also typically unique.
What is a Project Manager?
The Project Manager is the person, or persons, who are ultimately responsible for the implementation and results of a project. The job title, where it occurs is the same in many industries including technical, architecture, chemical, construction and many more. Quite often, however, a senior member in an organisation may be working as project manager rather than a designated separate individual.
Project managers, whether entitled so or not, need to have a particular set of skills in order to succeed. They must be great communicators, able to communicate a vision to subordinates and to understand information that is being given to them in return. They must be negotiators, able to discuss and debate costs and time-frames with clients and contractors alike. But most of all, they must be excellent risk assessors.
Risk is the catch-all problem against which every project is considered. It comes in a great many forms, all of which can present problems for the successful delivery of the end product, service or goal. Some of the problems that might interfere might be:
Financial: Not enough resources for the project.
Supply Shortages: For example, a supplier goes out of business or is otherwise not able to keep to an agreement.
Political: Influence of local or national laws of government.
Labour: Disputes and conflicts in the workplace, such as strikes.
Personnel: Not finding the right people to carry out the project.
Risk Management then becomes the core of a successful project manager’s skill set. By using proven project management techniques and methods, the manager lowers the risks inherent in the project, helping to ensure successful delivery of the end goal.
How to Become a Project Manager
As suggested previously, Project Managers are in a position of seniority and have overall responsability for the project, hence prior skills and demonstrable experience are essential. Most project managers are drawn from established positions within organizations rather than being recruited outright specifically for their project management role (though exceptions do occur) Qualifications are useful, though not always mandatory. The key thing for an aspiring project manager is to be able to demonstrate they have the skills needed to lead and manage people to run a project successfully.
ADLs own Project Management course is an ideal start for individuals looking to earn the fundamental skills needed to run a project properly form start to finish. Across nine comprehensive lessons, you’ll cover everything from the Project Lifecycle to Risk and core Leadership skills. It’s everything you need to manage building a hospital – or host the most tightly run turkey dinner you ever saw.