Project management is the process of managing a project from start to finish. As a project manager, you will be coordinating all the major stakeholders participating in the project with the aim of achieving your set milestones and goals.
While bossing people around may sound appealing to you, it is not going to be as easy as you think—nor is it the real function of a project manager. Not everyone can get into project management, and not everyone should. After all, the success of any project depends mostly on the kind of project manager in charge of it. You may want to determine first if you have what it takes to become a good one.
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You need a number of skills in order to make a good project manager:
1. Business Acumen
Do you possess business acumen? Well, you need to have it if you are to manage projects skillfully.
Projects are all about achieving the organization’s goals within a set budget. If you become a project manager, it will be your responsibility to ensure that the goals are met on time and on budget. You need to know how to deal with the challenges that you encounter in a way that achieves the results without having to take damaging shortcuts. Can you do that?
Not everyone is able to take on the responsibility of a high-pressure job and deliver every time. Project management is about high pressure. If you are in charge of this aspect of the job, the delivery of the product will rest sorely on your shoulders at the end of the day. If you fail, the blame will be placed mostly on you.
It takes guts to take on tasks that require you to be responsible for many parties and manage them effectively to achieve your business goals. If you are afraid of responsibility, you may want to look into another line of work.
3. Organizational Skills
In any project, there are usually a number of stakeholders, each with their own needs and ways of doing things. Project management is about organizing all the sectors relevant to the achievement of a project goal, and helping each stakeholder work seamlessly with the rest. Schedules must also run in sync, and that takes some serious organizational skills.
You need to be a good organizer and even better coordinator in order to become a great project manager. If you cannot even manage your own time, forget about this role.
4. High Stress Tolerance
In any project, things can go wrong. Sometimes, everything goes wrong all at once. When tempers are flaring and everyone is panicking, the project manager needs to remain calm and find solutions. That is stress, right there.
Delays can cause the entire project to lag behind regardless of the scheduling. It can be stressful to try to beat deadlines despite complications.
If your stress tolerance levels are low, you may end up bursting an artery every time a problem arises. How long do you think you will last?
5. Know How
While it may not be necessary in all cases for you to study project management in school, you will be required to know all the basics. You will need to know how to use basic scheduling and budgeting tools for instance. It is important that you acquire such skills.
Once you determine that you have the right skill set for project management, you can begin to apply for the jobs that you qualify for. Always try to work with a mentor who will show you the ropes properly. That way, you can become the best project manager around – the one everyone will want to work with.