I remember when I was very young, like 8 to 9 years old we would have a lot of guests at my house. My dad would always ask me to manage the kids and prepare a show for everyone. Then I would get all the kids in one room, see who knew which songs, we could dance and who could recite a poem. I would get them all organized, decide their order of performance and we would start the show. Have you done that too when you were young? I guess that was my little project management.
To better understand what project management is, let’s understand what it consists of. So, a project is temporary, right? It has a defined beginning and end in time. Therefore, it also has defined scope and resources. A project is also unique: it is not a routine operation. Furthermore, it is a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a single goal. And we know that a project team usually includes people who don’t usually work together. Those people can be from different organizations and across multiple geographies. So all of this must be expertly managed and delivered on-time, on-budget results, learning, and integration that organizations need. Therefore, we can conclude, that project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.
First of all, it is important to understand the real reasons why you are thinking about trying project management. I mean, if you are not going to be a good project manager, who cares about the people he/she mentors, who does not teach them guilt-free ways to have a fun work life, and so much more, then why even bother? Here is a self-test that will help you reveal your true intentions.
Money, power, and glamour
Ask yourself: Are you looking to get into project management for money, power, and glamour? If this is the real reason for you, then the answer is “no, you should not try PM.” And here is why: project management is one of the most difficult professions there is. Think about it, you have all the people reporting to you from different prospectives to clients, to stakeholder, to team members. And that is not all: there are all those organizations that you may be interfacing with. So if you only want project management for fun reasons you need to understand that it is not all about fun. There is also a lot of hard work related to PM. Moreover, sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a lot of discord. In this scenario, your decision is coming from a perspective of a delusion about what project management really does.
Availability, experience, and knowledge
Next question you need to ask yourself is the following: Are you looking to get into project management for availability, experience, and knowledge? Maybe you have extra availability, meaning extra time, and you want to do something more. Maybe you have great experience and knowledge about the company you are working in. So you might be thinking if project management is the next logical move for you. If this is your reason, then the answer is “maybe you should try PM.” That means that project management is an area for you that needs to be explored. Your reason is from an accidental perspective: you might find yourself in the right place. And likewise, you might find the exact opposite.
Lead, change, and impact
The last question of this self-test is the following: Are you looking to get into project management because you want to lead, change and impact? If these are your intentions then you definitely need to try. This means that you have a clue of what project management is about. And you are moving into PM from an intentional perspective. There is nothing more to add.
Now that you know your true motivations behind wanting to get into PM, let’s move on to the main reasons why one should try this profession.
#1 Lead people
Project management gives a chance to lead people. This is one of the main reasons why people take the profession. Team members are looking for someone to lead them through and guide them through the organization and through the projects. And leading people is not for everyone. It is challenging in all of its forms.
#2 Influence others
Project management gives the opportunity to the manager to influence others. You most probably believe in the projects you are working on. And you also believe in their cause. So here you have the opportunity to influence others and to make a change.
#3 Drive results
Who does not love driving results? Well, most of us do. But not all of us are able to. Organizations and causes are actually looking for people who can manage the projects and lead the team to get results. So this is one of the reasons why one should get into project management.
#4 Effect change
If you want to have the ability to effect change PM is for you. As human beings, one of the things that is very difficult for us to do is to change. In project management, you are able to effect change within an organization, a community or a cause.
#5 Impact cause
This fifth reason why one should try project management is probably the most important one. You will have the power to impact cause as a project manager. And there is nothing more to say about this.
Want some benefits?
Moving on, when you get into PM there are some benefits that you might get. From the tangible benefits, you might advance your career and you might increase your pay. And these are things to look forward to. From the intangible benefits, you might get the opportunity to change a perspective and change a life. As a project manager, you deal with tons of people. And you can change their perspective for the good, for impacting change. Moreover, by being a mentor to others you might have the chance of changing a life.
And lastly, here are some success keys for you. First of all, have the love to learn: there is always a lot to learn, whether it is about your organization, the market, new technologies or yourself and others. Next, trust yourself: sometimes we get thrown into scenarios where we have to do the best we can with what we have. Moving on, another success key for project management is to respect others: other people on your team can take you a long way. And lastly, seek progress: remember, that it is about progress and not perfection.
So if you are good at managing projects, managing teams, getting results and working with people, then you would be remiss not to.