You're a project manager in it, but are you a change agent?
From year to year we can observe an increasing demand of employers for project managers. In the modern world, dominated by constant changes, the key skill is not only the efficient organization of the team’s work and achieving the set goal, but also great creativity and the implementation of the business needs of the employer in an innovative way. All this is provided by a good project manager.
American project management institute calls the project manager-agent of change. I can’t think of a more accurate term. Project manager brings to the task, using their skills and knowledge to inspire members of the project team, gives a sense of common purpose. The project manager analyzes various symptoms, draws conclusions and is always prepared for the challenges of the future, is able to solve complex tasks and works under great pressure in an environment of extremely dynamic changes. Without a doubt, a man with a unique personality will perfectly suit in this role. A lot of attention is paid to this by recruiters looking for candidates for the position of project manager.
Irreplaceable project manager-what can the best do?
The project manager’s background is in fact a complex, multidimensional work, focusing on various aspects of the project being prepared. It is not true that the best people in this position are people who are well versed in technological issues. In fact, other skills are more important. Yes, a good project manager must understand the technical nuances, but this does not mean that it is necessary to study the details. In this regard, the project manager should be supported by the knowledge of IT specialists and build on their experience.
A good project manager must be, above all, a leader, he must be a man with great charisma. In this position, it is necessary to be able to manage the project team extremely efficiently and effectively motivate subordinates. A good project manager has high soft skills, especially in the area of interpersonal communication. He organizes the work, but also inspires it.
Project manager, who is considered a high-class specialist in his position, is a professional who can quickly and effectively solve problems, using the tools with which he was equipped and the potential of the project team. A good project manager not only comprehensively plans actions, but also is not alien to risk and budget management. Such a person is able to effectively combine the expectations and ambitions of the members of the project team with the expectations of the stakeholder. Thanks to the activities and skills of the project manager, it is possible to efficiently implement innovative business solutions, as well as a previously prepared strategy.
Being a good project manager also means the need for continuous development (which is confirmed by professional certification), gaining experience, learning and developing management methodology. It is thanks to such skills that various problems and difficulties are easier to overcome, which are not lacking in the process of development of each project.
Personality and experience
Without the right personality, the project manager will not only not succeed in this profession, but also in many cases may have a problem with bringing the project to completion. Recruiters are well aware of the importance of the unusual personality of the project manager and often pay attention to this aspect during the interview. The candidate for the position of project manager should be highly confident and self-aware. However, this is not about a pompous attitude or a narcissistic perception of one’s own person. High ambitions, high motivation and a strong focus on achieving success should also be fostered by the ability to think strategically and learn quickly. It also does not hurt to have a positive attitude to the world and to life. The project manager should not only be the most optimistic among the members of the project team, but also have an innate ability to infect with a positive attitude to tasks and to solve possible problems.
Long-term experience is another aspect that employers pay particular attention to when looking for project manager candidates. It is easy to see this when analysing not only current job offers, but also those from the last few years. Most often, at least ten years of experience is desirable. Only in the case of a junior project manager is a shorter length of service (2-5 years) accepted. However, this does not mean that a candidate without experience as a project manager does not have a chance of employment. Here we return again to the question of personality. Often the employer is ready to bet on a person who has never been a project manager, but has experience in the field of it and has certain personality and character traits that can guarantee success. In this case, companies are even ready to invest in the development of the employee, financing him various types of training and even certification. This means that the potential inherent in personality and certain character traits can be successfully used to enter the profession of project manager without many years of experience.
It is also worth paying attention to the knowledge of foreign languages. Without this competence, it is difficult to even think about making a career as a project manager. This is mainly influenced by the specifics of the Polish market, where international corporations create numerous Delivery centers that provide the services of professional project managers in an outsourcing model. This means that the language used by project managers at work does not necessarily have to be Polish. The basis is, of course, English, but employers are also often looking for people who speak less popular languages, such as German, French, Spanish, and even Swedish or Danish.
Knowledge confirmed by the certificate
About 35% of job offers for a project manager contain information that the employer expects knowledge confirmed by certificates, which will be an additional advantage of the candidate. In this profession, certification is very important. Sometimes, candidates who do not have any certificates are not taken into account at all when pre-selecting application documents. However, certification is not only a distinction in the CV, but above all knowledge of the standards and best practices applied in the project manager profession.
A project manager who wants to grow has many different certifications to choose from. In fact, project management methodologies and standards are often similar for different certification bodies, while differences arise in the approach to project documentation and even in the positioning of the project manager. Currently, the most important certifications are Prince2 (a standard first published in 1996, which quickly gained popularity first in the UK, and soon afterwards also around the world), PMI (certificates awarded by the International Association Project Management Institute, established in Pennsylvania in 1969 and having local branches around the world) and IPMA (International Federation Project Management Institute, founded in Switzerland in 1965, in Paris in 1996). These are prestigious certificates also because they are not easy to obtain. Obtaining certification involves the need to pass an exam, to do this, you must document the experience in the profession of project manager, as well as submit references. But that’s not all. It is also necessary to continue training, which is a condition for the maintenance of once acquired rights. Employers greatly appreciate prestigious certifications and they are a signal to them that it is worth to establish cooperation with a given project manager.
The work of a project manager is not easy, it often requires high mental resilience and the ability to adapt quickly. The right personality of the project manager, combined with broad competencies, allows him not only to realize the vision of other people, but also allows effective involvement of all members of the project team, which translates into the quality of their work and the pace of task completion. Project manager is a challenging profession that can provide many satisfactions, and is increasingly seen by labour market professionals as the profession of the future.