The role of the project manager is to oversee a project from the start to the finish and that means you need a number of skills to be able to do the job. If you are looking to start a career as a project manager, there are some general steps to take then later, you can look to specialise in a particular industry or approach as you gain experience. And the training doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Get the right training
It is crucial that you have the right training before you think about starting a career in project management. No matter how skilled you are, few companies will employ you if you don’t have the right qualifications behind you. But this doesn’t mean taking time out to go to university – specialists like Souters offer online courses with recognised qualifications.
There are a few main options you will want to consider for your training. For starters, there are project management methodologies such as:
- Agile – this is common in industries such as IT which uses short development cycles called sprints to focus on a goal such as product development
- PRINCE2 – this is a structured method used for end to end projects and there is a training available for even the complete beginner before advancing skills through different training and experience
Cultivate the right skills
As you train to be a project manager, you will definitely learn a range of skills that are important for the role. But it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what some of the most important ones are and ensure you work on these.
Time management will top the list – project management is all about balancing the time available with the goals of the project and making the best use of the two. Identifying the most important tasks and saying no to others is a key part of that time management skill.
The organisation of yourself and those around you is another pillar of the skills of a project manager. You need to start with yourself, with the ability to organise your workload and schedule and stick to it. From meetings to working on estimates, checking timelines and working with a team, so organisation is key.
Communication skills is another of the skills you need to have for a project management specialist. You will spend a lot of time communicating with the project team, suppliers, business partners, employers or a number of others involved. This means high-quality communication skills, both written and verbal, is crucial.
Start practising what you learned
Qualifications are very important as a project manager, but you will also want to put into action what you learn and show you can do the job. This means that you want to get as much experience as you can.
You may need to get involved in projects at a lower level or even do a little volunteer work to get something on your CV when you are a complete beginner. Or you may find companies that offer on the job training while you are actually working, and this helps you show you can do what you have learned.
Master the best tools
Finally, you want to be on top of the latest project management tools and how these can help you in your role. There are lots of different ones with some companies preferring certain tools or systems over others. Having a good knowledge of these is important and keeping up to date on the latest version is also important.
Combining the right training with hands-on experience means you can start your career as a project manager and then you are free to follow the full path you require.