Run Away! (And Other Helpful Advice for a Career in Project Management.
I am passionate about project managing in general and helping people who are new to the field.
Let’s be real. We’re all crazy.
Not everyone should be a project manager
It is possible to be gluttony for punishment, some call it a clinical condition. It is not a decision to take lightly the career path of project manager.
As I began my career, I felt a certain resonance as I learned more about the project manager role. Everything I enjoyed about my previous jobs seemed to be part of this crazy thing called Project Management.
“You have to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” ? Dirty Harry (1971).
Hmmmm..actually, I’m going to ask two questions instead. Maybe some sub-questions. I am a contrarian because it is part of me. It’s not something I want to do. For project managers. Not when you contradict a quote you have chosen yourself, like I did. After a while, you’ll be amazed at the benefits of project manager employment. Koo Koo?Koo Koo
Are You a Fitting In?
Although project management careers may sound appealing, do you really love this type of work? Is your personality suited to this type of work?
Do you enjoy working with people? I don’t mean social work, although I might have some there. I mean being able communicate technical concepts to business people and get geeks excited about the goals of upper management. Understanding that projects are about people is essential. As Project Shrink states, “Projects are about humans.” It is a common saying that communication is essential in project management. But it is true. It is essential to communicate effectively and confidently.
Do you feel passionate about this? It is a great experience to create something new. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tangible product, it’s very satisfying for me to be able think back to what we did together. I love process improvement. This is why I chose to be a project manager over other project management roles (project manager/business analyst, program manager, project controller, etc.). I chose to become a project manager.
Do You Like Challenge?? (Being a Glutton for Punishment helps)
One of the best things about project management, is that someone will start running around the place screaming “My hair is on fire!” My hair is on fire! My hair is on fire! ?
Seriously, though, I can’t smell any burnt hair anymore.
Do you enjoy looking at a project from every angle? That is what you need to do to be successful. Customers, team, sponsors, and external stakeholders all need to be happy. You should be able to change your shoes once every 10 minutes. Projects are constantly changing, so you will always find yourself in situations where you have to be the hostage negotiator and make everyone feel happy and safe.
Do you thrive on change and innovation? Is it a fantasy to think that a project plan can be finalized and then there are no changes? It is a conceptual construct that lives only in your project management textbook.
This does not mean that you should let chaos rule your life. It does however mean that effective change management must be a key strength. It is how you handle uncertainty and change that will make a difference.