It would seem that everyone thinks that they can be a project manager at the moment. However, not everyone has what it takes to be a professional project manager and manage projects effectively – and to be honest, that’s okay.
Picture the scene
Your online calendar has advised you that you have a meeting shortly for which you will need to review a series of pieces of information. There is just one hour to go until this all-important meeting with your stakeholders, but you do not have any of the information that you need. A search of your emails might offer you some shreds of hope in the form of a few pieces of the information that you need but it isn’t enough. You fire off a few emails to your team trying to get their input, you get what you were looking for, you update your files, and you are good to go. Then at the last minute your meeting is, predictably, cancelled.
This communication, bringing information together, fitting all the pieces into the puzzle is project management in a nutshell, and more people are doing it than they realise.
However, a good deal of the people fulfilling this type of role have not undertaken any form of formal training to gain the appropriate qualifications that mean they can be a professional project manager. It is this lack of training combined with the increased expectations of a demanding workplace that are setting people up for failure.
The right processes
In order to be a professional project manager, you need the right project management qualifications, although these can be learnt and studied for whilst you work in the role. However, project managing is a skilled and demanding role and there are a number of other things that you need as well. In order to succeed as a professional project manager, you require the ability to potentially manage a number of projects spread over several teams at the same time. The ability to adapt, and quickly, to meetings being cancelled at short notice, or worse still don’t meetings being sprung on you at a moment’s notice. Deadlines and budgets may also be changed and not always in the way that you might like. Project managing is stressful without all of these changeable elements. In addition to being able to cope with these and increasing stress levels all too often a project manager needs to be able to deal with the fact that some projects simply don’t get carried forward to completion and simply die because the needs of the company suddenly change.
Whilst there are a number of different project management approaches that companies can take, not everyone chooses to use a standard approach and take advantage of all of the advantages that that offers. In fact, over half of the companies who believe that they are using a project management approach probably are not. If they want to use project management effectively employing those with the appropriate project management skills is something that they may need to consider.