This is Chapter 4 of a much more comprehensive post Project Management Guide: Starting Out. Let’s get right in and discover how you can learn project management.

Learn Project Management. Yes or No?

This post will help you make up your mind about project management. Read on to find out what is expected from a project manager on daily basis as well as what skills are required to perform.

Project management can appear very appealing to a lot of you, but until you have what is required to perform in this position you must take the time to prepare and learn. Firstly go ahead and discover what project management is and after that read this article to add more substance and gain a better understanding of what is required from you to be a successful project manager.

So any way, what does a project manager all day? Of course he/she has to accomplish all the obvious things like planning, define roles and responsibilities, gather resources, track, report, and so forth, but maybe there are other less obvious activities a project manager should do. Some spring to mind like:

  • Making a project fun – a productive workforce is a happy workforce
  • Hold kick off meeting
  • Arrange social and team building events
  • Reward success – a pat on the back can increase trust and bring higher levels of commitment
  • Keep informal contact with the project team

Good project managers balance the use of hard-edged project management discipline and people management.

Project managers don’t co-ordinate, administer, spectate or preside, they manage. They usually don’t like surprises, so they use tools and techniques to prevent them: planning in advance, attempt to foresee problems as early as possible and try to remove them before they occur. Monitoring the projects progress to identify any deviation from the plan. But when problems do occur, they deal with them head on, address conflicts, and fight fires. Yes, they reward but they also punish. They must make decisions, when necessary, and try to get consensus when possible, and dictate when they have no other option.

Project managers should tailor project controls according to the real project needs, make sure that a smaller project is not overburdened with unnecessary bureaucracy, and a more complex project in not running by itself. Explain to the project team what controls are used and why, and show that they are an investment and not an overhead.

What do you think about what I have said so far? Do you feel an attraction to project management? Decided you want to learn project management? I have to tell you we haven’t finished yet.

Read on to find out what skills employers are looking for in a project manager.

So what does it take to become a project manager?

What skills do you need? From my research I have compiled a list of 10 skills that are most common in project management job descriptions.

  • An innate leader
  • Focus & Vision
  • Well Organized
  • Good Communicator
  • Quick Learner
  • Common Sense
  • Willing to Be the Bad Guy
  • Calm under Pressure
  • Empathy
  • Love Your Job

I am sure you have noticed I have made no reference to formal qualifications, such as university degrees, MBA or project management qualifications (PMP or APMP). Also I have left out skills like being a team player, ability to follow rules or general management skills. I feel that these skills are easier to acquire through discipline and learning, and being able to learn something doesn’t necessarily imply that you can actually do it, especially in a complex project.

Of course there are numerous other skills than the ones I have presented and they will be useful to have but for the time being I feel that these are key to succeeding in your quest. If you think about it, every skill from the list can be branched out (for example a good communicator would be a team player)

So, can you learn these 10 skills? I’ll cover that in a future article.

Done for now. This concludes this chapter. The next article in this guide is: How to learn project management? Also you can go to the first post of the guide Project Management Guide: Starting Out to get an overview of how I have structured the guide. Please leave your comments below.

Image courtesy of Freepik

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I am a Project Management practitioner with more than 5 years experience in hardware and software implementation projects. Also a bit of a geek and a great WordPress enthusiast. I hope you enjoy the content, and I encourage you to share your knowledge with the world.

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