Tag Archives: Project Management

Project Manager Career Path

Project Manager Jobs and Salaries Are on the Rise

A recent PMI report indicates that 25% of companies that have reduced their headcounts in other specialties will still be hiring project managers, while an Anderson Economic Group study projected that approximately 1.2 million project management jobs will need to be filled each year through 2016.

The availability of open positions is just part of the appeal of a project management career path; the substantial salaries are another enticement. Payscale.com reports that IT Project Managers typically earn between $74,299 and $103,710 a year. PMI’s annual salary survey indicates that those with industry certification – such as the Project Management Professional (PMP®) designation – earn upwards of $100,000 annually.

Career opportunities and potential earnings are two of the most important factors that individuals must consider before choosing a career path, and the field of project management scores well on both points.

Project Managers Have a Place in Every Industry

Professionals who have embarked on a project management career path possess skills that can be used in virtually any industry – from information technology to consumer goods to business services. This career mobility ensures that project managers can readily find work, even if their current industry is affected by an economic downturn or cyclical demand.

Skills Required for a Project Manager Career Path

Before embarking on a project manager career path, you need to ask yourself whether or not you have a passion and aptitude for this type of work. If you’re up to the challenge overseeing the contributions of a diverse team and managing the expectations of key stakeholders, this may be the position for you.

A project manager career path requires strong communication and organizational skills, the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and an understanding of the functional roles of departments throughout the organization.

Project Management Training and Education

The first step in becoming a project manager is to get the right education. You don’t necessarily need a degree in project management, but you do need to have specialized training. Industry certification will give you an even greater edge in securing the best positions.

When evaluating your training options, consider what will make your résumé stand apart from the competition. A credential from an accredited university shows that you are serious about a project manager career path. The good news is that with the widespread availability of online programs, location is no longer a limitation.

Villanova University has made a name for itself as the leading provider of project management education online through its acclaimed video-based e-learning platform. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 university in the Master’s category/North region for nearly two decades, Villanova offers a variety of project management certificate courses 100% online, as well as multi-course master certificate programs.

Students can earn a Master Certificate in IS/IT Project Management or Applied Project Management, both of which prepare participants to pass the CAPM® or PMP® certification exam. Those who have completed a master certificate or hold professional certification can go on to earn an Advanced Master Certificate in IS/IT Project Management or Applied Project Management.

Embark on Your Project Manager Career Path

Project management training and industry certification can help professionals land their first project manager position. Over time, successful project managers will be assigned projects of increasing size and complexity.

Those who prove themselves on the job and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning have excellent advancement potential. Take the first steps toward a project manager career path today, and you’ll be on your way toward a wealth of job opportunities, a lucrative salary and genuine long-term career satisfaction.

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Project Manager Career Change

What Is Project Management?

One of the biggest misconceptions about a project management career is that it’s essentially the same as a more traditional management career. While it’s true that project managers need to have strong leadership skills, their role is primarily to manage projects – not people.

Unlike departmental managers, project managers are not part of the typical supervisory structure most companies employ. Instead, they work as a sort of free agent – a project management career involves coordinating the work of many people and divisions in order to complete a particular assignment. Throughout the course of a project, the project manager will interact with individual contributors at all levels of the company in relation to various deliverables.

Always a New Challenge

While a project manager generally relies on the same skill set for each project, the projects themselves can vary significantly. The constantly changing focus of this type of work is what makes a project management career so attractive to many people. This dynamic field is ideal for those who enjoy taking on new challenges. However, if you’re serious about pursuing a project management career, you’ll need to be sure you can handle the demands of the job.

Essential Qualities of Project Managers

Successful project managers are highly organized and pay meticulous attention to detail. They have a knack for seeing the big picture and how each individual piece of the puzzle needs to fit into place to make their project a success. They also possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. While these qualities are important for all business professionals, they are absolutely essential in a project management career because of the need to closely coordinate the efforts of many different people.

Excelling in the world of project management also requires the ability to make good decisions quickly. Project managers must know how to size up a situation and determine the best way to proceed to avoid costly delays. While thorough planning is critical to the success of a project, the best project managers are able to adapt to unexpected circumstances and adjust their plans accordingly on short notice.

Enhance Your Project Management Career Prospects Through Industry Certification

Acquiring the skills and traits of an effective project manager is just the first step. To get your project management career off to a successful start, you should attain industry certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI®). By completing a formal project management training course, you can develop the expertise needed to pass the exams to achieve certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®). These certifications will make you a more attractive candidate for project manager jobs and enable you to carry out the responsibilities of that position more effectively.


Top 10 Tips for Project Management Prosperity

Tip 1: Nail Down Project Details

Before you ever start the project, make sure that it is based on a solid foundation and that you have the buy-in from all key stakeholders. Understand their interests and expectations and be aware of how they will determine whether or not the project is successful. You will also need to ensure that the project scope is distinctly identified, including the roles and responsibilities of the various project team members. Develop the project plan and verify that the goals of the key elements are clearly defined and closely aligned. You should also establish measurable and trackable success criteria, including accomplishing tasks on schedule, achieving budget targets, confirming product functionality is satisfactory to the customer, and ensuring government and/or industry regulations are met. Take care of all the details to lay the groundwork for your project’s success.

Tip 2: Identify Project and Team Requirements

Once you have a strong plan in place, you can start implementing it by assembling an effective project team. As noted in an article released by ITToolkit.com, “The project team is a working unit of individual parts, sharing a common goal, achieved through the structured application of combined skills.” The article also states that, “The first step to team success begins with initial organization: to assemble and organize available resources capable of working together as a whole through the integration of individual skills, talents and personalities.” As aproject manager, you’ll need to align those skills, talents and personalities with the appropriate project needs. Make sure that each individual working on the project is clear about their task and what they are providing upon completion.

Tip 3: Be the Project Leader

A key role in project management is the project leader. In this position, you will need to cultivate good and positive team dynamics and act as a coach and/or mentor to all team members. You will also be the leader when it comes to getting input from the project team and major stakeholders, as well as getting their buy-in. As a project leader, you are essentially the captain of the ship. That means you will need to ascertain the rough waters that may be ahead. In addition, you will need to inspire your team to follow you through the turbulent times, as well as the calm times. If you don’t have effective leadership skills, you may not be able to prevail over the challenges facing your project. Take the helm and lead your team to success.

Tip 4: Define Critical Project Milestones

Identify defining moments throughout the project. You can provide a life cycle of the project by including the four main phases: initiation, planning, execution and closure. Perform a real evaluation at the end of each phase. Make sure to examine every deliverable. From parts of the product to the technical documents to the project plan, you will need all of the elements involved to ensure the product is meeting the project specifications. The product needs to be aligned with the quality your customers are expecting. These milestones will not only help you to eliminate project risk and monitor project change, but will also alert you to any continuing problems and ensure that each piece is correctly completed.

Tip 5: Keep the Communication Lines Open

One of the most critical steps in the project management process is to ensure that the communication lines are open. As the project manager, you will need to be the operator of this communications system. Keep a communications plan and stick with it. Throughout the entire project, communication should be consistent, open, honest and clear. Make sure you keep in touch with all key stakeholders and team members during the project process. Ensure that everyone has the information necessary to make decisions and proceed with the project. You can also keep everyone on the same page by creating status reports based upon the project information and updates.

Tip 6: Attain Pertinent Documentation

From the initiation of the project to the milestones along the way, you should have documentation signed by the stakeholders. A recent ConnectITNews.com article, recommended to “Make sure all documentation is in-line with your project management methodology of choice to ensure your project team is covered in terms of deliverables, and expectations.” Even with the best project management processes in place, it is not often that a project is completed on time and within budget, so you will need to have the appropriate documentation ready for the stakeholders and plan for any unforeseen events. However, you don’t want to overcomplicate the project management process with too much documentation that doesn’t add value to the project.

Tip 7: Manage Project Risks

There can be risk at any time during the project. Your project management experience with similar projects can help guide you so that you may be able to foresee when risk is imminent and when corrective action needs to be taken. By having open communication, you should be able to understand what, if any, risks are approaching and manage them before they get out of hand. You will need to identify and control project risks before they control you. Since a risk is only a potential problem, you want to take care of it before it becomes an actual problem. As one of the most imperative best practices in the project management process, risk management is essential to project success.

Tip 8: Avoid Scope Creep

Managing scope creep in project management is another essential element to project success. Although some change is inevitable in any project situation, you will want to keep your project from creeping into chaos. In general, scope creep happens when new elements are added to a project that’s already been approved, but no consideration is given to increasing the budget, adding more time to the schedule and/or adding more resources to compensate for the revised project. If the project’s scope does need to be revisited, you can participate in the rescoping process. Make sure to have the proper documentation and have all stakeholders sign off on these changes before proceeding.

Tip 9: Test Deliverables

Deliverables should be tested at every critical milestone and the final product must meet the project requirements. Before moving on to the next phase of the project, you need to be sure that the product is coming along as planned. An ITToolkit.com article states that, “As a project evolves, various types of deliverables are produced to support project continuation, to measure progress, and to validate plans and assumptions … Results are expected and must be delivered at every stage of the project lifecycle.” At the end of the project, the deliverable must meet or exceed the customer expectations to be considered a success. The final phase of the project is closure. This grand finale is a sign of achievement for you as a project manager, as well as the rest of your team and stakeholders. Once the project is complete and the customer is happy, your mission is complete.

Tip 10: Evaluate the Project

What lessons have you learned along your project management process? Each project can be a valuable learning tool. You will want to review the project as a whole, as well as analyze various project components. What were the project victories? Where were there project disappointments? Make informed conclusions about the project’s quality and the product’s performance. Compare the planned return on investment (ROI) to the actual ROI as one way to understand the level of your success. You can use the lessons learned from each project to minimize future failures and maximize future successes.

 


Business Case: Project Management

Organizations Need Effective Project Management for Business Growth and Sustainability

Corporate strategies often rely on project management for business growth and sustainability. As more and more companies recognize the value of effective project management, demand for skilled project managers continues to grow.

What Can Project Management Do for Business?

There are two elements at play concerning the business case for project management. The first is the question of why an organization needs project management in the first place, while the second relates to when to implement project management for business initiatives.

A Means to an End: Project Management for Business Goals

Some companies need to be sold on the benefits of implementing project management for business reasons, and this would be a general instance of making the case for project management as an in-house process. Companies that start small and subsequently experience significant growth may find it difficult to keep key stakeholders on the same page and ensure the cooperation of all departments involved. The project sponsor – or the person being held accountable for its key deliverables – should address upper management and explain the importance of project management for business success, as it provides structure and facilitates collaboration toward a common goal.

Securing Project Approval and Obtaining Project Management for Business Initiatives

Once an organization has accepted project management a means to achieve efficiency and ensure accountability, the task remains of identifying which projects will be carried out, and which of those require a dedicated project manger. Executives often expect to see the potential gain before committing resources to project management for business initiatives.

Projects go through several phases of development, and the first is known as the strategy and business case phase. This is when the individual or group that is sponsoring the project will attempt to “sell” it to upper management, by making a case that the project will yield a positive return on investment. The sponsor will usually gather the stakeholders who would play a role in bringing the proposed project to fruition and collaborate with them to create an effective presentation that indicates a high potential for the project’s ultimate success. It begins with a carefully written proposal that details the responsibilities and deliverables of all contributors. Without this, a project will rarely gain the momentum that it needs to move forward. Decision-makers must be convinced of the value of project management for business goals before they will allocate resources to a project.

Making the Case of Project Management for Business Success

Whether you’re a project sponsor looking to secure project management services or a project manager seeking to build a more compelling business case, you can gain the tools and strategies you need through a good project management training program. One option is the 100% online certificate courses offered by Villanova University, which is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 university in the Master’s category/North region for nearly two decades. Villanova’s multimedia video-based training includes two multi-course certificate programs: a Master Certificate in IS/IT Project Management and a Master Certificate in Applied Project Management. In addition to preparing professionals for PMP® or CAPM® certification, these programs impart the necessary skills and knowledge to make a compelling case for project management for business growth and sustainability.


Which Project Management Certification is Right for You?

Once you’ve decided to pursue a PMI certification you’ll want to select the proper one.

There are currently 5 variations to choose from. Find the one that’s right for you.

Good Luck!

 

Important

You can apply to any certification that matches your qualifications.

You do not need to be a PMI member to obtain the credential.

 

  • The Project Management Professional (PMP)® is the most important globally-recognized and independently validated credential for project managers, perfect if you have demonstrated experience and competence in leading project teams.
  • The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® is a good entry-level certification if you’re new to project management, or still figuring out your career path.
  • The Program Management Professional (PgMP)® is designed for those who manage multiple, complex projects to achieve strategic and organizational results.
  • The PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)® is a specialty credential for practitioners who want to focus on developing and maintaining project schedules.
  • The PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® is a specialty credential that demonstrates competence in assessing project risks, mitigating threats and capitalizing on opportunities.

More information on how to study for the PMP.


Tips for Project Managers

Project managers can always use a few fresh tips.

Juggling project after project, it can be difficult to incorporate different methods, though I think we can all agree that each project can and should be approached with a unique eye.

Here on Squidoo is a page listing various Project Management resources which I’ve found helpful. A nice, easy, organized place to get a few new tips, or add your own in the comments!