The profession of a project manager was established about a hundred years ago in the construction industry. Now, these types of professionals are needed in every business sector, especially in IT, telecommunications, construction, energy, etc.
These professionals are highly sought after because it depends on their organizational and professional skills, whether the task will be completed on time, at the budget. With the quality found, i.e., to a large extent, the profits and success of the business also depend on them. That is why the people involved in this profession are distinguished by their organization, ability to lead and engage people, to plan well, they are excellent communicators, they can make quick decisions, and so on.
The role of a project manager
Usually, the role of a project manager is entrusted to a person who has the necessary knowledge of the specific industry, the specifics of the organization, and the core business involved in the project. This can sometimes be the natural career development of an expert in a particular organization. But the path to this profession can also go through specialized training at the university, such as management or business administration.
Several organizations offer internationally recognized certificates that demonstrate knowledge and skills for this type of work. Among the most recognized are the American Organization Project Management Institute (PMI), the British Prince2, and BVOP. Their project management certificates are obtained after attending compulsory training courses and passing difficult exams.
Knowledge related to project management is largely standardized, which gives great career flexibility for professionals in the field. Project managers can work on different types of projects (creating a new product, making in-house changes, executing outsourcing, etc.) in various industries and even in different countries.
Project Manager is an exciting, dynamic and sought after profession
Project Manager is an exciting, dynamic and sought after profession today, and with a view to the future. One can even talk about some “security” in professional realization. In essence, there are projects in every organization, and with the development of technology and entrepreneurial culture, such specialists are becoming more in demand. Also, project skills and approaches are valuable and necessary, not only in organizations but also at the individual level. For example, you decide to buy a car – this is a project again: you have certain requirements, the budget you have available, and the time requirements until when you want the car to be available at the latest.
The project manager is responsible for the organization’s goals.
The project manager is responsible for achieving the organization’s goals. Its tasks are not merely administrative and paper-based. At 80% of his role is related to communication – with the team, with the sponsor, with stakeholders, other managers/experts within or outside the organization, etc. The leader is involved from the beginning to the end of the project, and it is up to him to provide the necessary environment for the successful completion of the tasks. Therefore, the profession requires different skills – technical, leadership, business, and strategic.
Usually, organizations “tailor” their project management methodology to be based on good practices and standards, but related to the industry, organization, and its scale and the business goals it pursues.
My management history
I graduated as an engineer in Communication Technology and Technology (specialty “Telecommunications”) at New York University. Already with a bachelor’s degree, I applied for a specialty and started at the Communications Regulation Commission. At the same time, I also completed a master’s degree in the same specialty. Subsequently, I joined Siemens Enterprise Communications as a service engineer. Reaching out to the business world, and more to my personal characteristics has increasingly increased my appetite for design work, doing things that are far from routine, adding value and leaving a mark. This was also the leading motive when, despite my satisfaction with the engineering work, I decided to focus on the role of the project manager. I was also ambitious for the idea of an additional Master’s degree in Economics, focusing on a two-year Master’s Degree in Business Administration at New York University.
In the meantime, in the company where I was still working, they opened an additional department that started to deal with global ITIL / ITSM solutions and projects. In addition to training and developing my new position, I was certified as an ITSM expert.
My job as a designer was the beginning of my design work. I started with the management of small parts of the project, and at the same time, I was also interested in training that was offered for good practices and methodologies – PMI, Prince II. For me, the next steps in my career at HP / HPE / DXC Technology, where I worked as an Implementation Manager (ITSM) and ITSM Project Manager, were a complete development in the project world.
My path to the profession is actually one of the ways to become a project manager – at first, you manage parts of projects, and then you take on a whole project on your own. I think that one can only acquire project management skills by practicing, i.e., it’s a skill profession. And it is advisable to “try” a little of the profession before you devote to it. Of course, today, there are also examples of project managers entering this role after having completed a similar major at the university or having received an international certificate. This is also a path to the profession, but to be successful in this case, they must have the support of their more experienced colleagues. I am grateful that I was lucky at that time. That is why I am now open to helping the younger ones in the profession.
My tasks and responsibilities as a project manager
With project work, I de facto help people and organizations achieve their business goals in a cost-effective way and within the timeframes we have. The clients I work for are mostly global companies from different industries. They decide how much of the business IT services to be outsourced to external organizations. The tasks can be grouped into one project, but most often, it is a whole transformation program consisting of many projects.
There is no daily routine in this profession. Sometimes there are even daily changes. Of course, the tasks and responsibilities depend on what phase the project is in – whether it is just getting started and planned, or whether the work is long overdue, but implementation faces many challenges. Different projects have different rates and this also affects daily work. In fact, here’s what works on a project involves:
The project manager may be involved before the official launch of the project or before the project is signed. Familiarity with the contract and the client and preparation of a document describing the scope of the endeavor, the individual tasks, the expected final results, the criteria for accepting the project, clearly documented and what is not part of the project, the risks, dependencies (inside the organization and with the client), assumptions. This document is agreed upon and discussed with all parties to the contract.
Usually, the client also has a project manager with whom we partner with us during the execution of the tasks. Ultimately, the idea is that everyone involved/interested in the project has the same expectations of the project. If there is something unspecified at this stage, disagreements, delays in the different phases, the eventual reworking of the assignments, or even termination of the project may subsequently result.
Once created, the project plan is continuously updated to reflect the reality of the project as well as the progress of the various sub-tasks. I support when the plan is developed in conjunction with a team of experts who will work on the implementation. So they engage more, get acquainted with the specific requirements for their tasks, and at the same time, can provide valuable advice on the real-time needed for performance.
During the implementation of the project, the manager must constantly monitor the project risks that he or she may extinguish or change, which he or she manages appropriately – on the part of the client, in connection with the imposed regulations, etc.
With the completion of the project, it is good practice to summarize lessons learned, lessons learned, and recommendations for future similar tasks. Usually, such a document includes a description of the project, changes to it (if any), completed assignments accepted by the client, identified successes within the project, evaluation of the client project manager for the project implementation, my feedback, potential opportunities for development. The whole process of summarizing the lessons learned is critical and time-consuming, but only so can organizations improve themselves in the implementation of each successive project. The dynamics and complexity of future projects require shared experience and knowledge, and this sometimes turns out to be a key factor in the rapid and successful planning of a new project.