Following the vicious spate of mass layoffs since the pandemic, many governments have started spending more on reconstructing projects to heal the condition. These numerous projects need to go into production, which calls for leadership roles to head the projects. That is where a project manager comes in. Are you a people person who enjoys breaking down complex issues? Then this may be your ultimate career, moulded after your personality.
What does a project manager do?
The project management role is precisely what it sounds like—a person managing the daily responsibilities of a given project for its timely delivery and success. Almost every industry—from tech to retail to publishing—requires people with this skill set.
A career in project management involves planning, organising, and learning cross-functional teams to deliver projects on time and within the scope and budget. The role demands strong communication, leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, as well as the ability to manage stakeholders, risks, and changing project requirements. Project managers may oversee small projects leading complex, multi-million dollar initiatives. The role often involves balancing competing priorities and can be fast-paced and challenging but also rewarding and satisfying.
Skills and responsibilities of a project manager
A project manager is vested with the following responsibilities:
- Developing project plans: Defining scope, goals, timelines, budgets, and resources required.
- Managing project resources: Assigning tasks, monitoring progress, and making changes as needed to ensure project success.
- Communicating with stakeholders: Keeping all project stakeholders informed and engaged, including project team members, clients, and senior management.
- Monitoring project progress: Tracking progress against project plans and schedules, identifying risks and issues, and taking corrective action whenever necessary.
- Ensuring project quality: Establishing quality standards, keeping track of project deliverables, and guaranteeing project outputs are up to par.
- Managing project budgets: Tracking project expenses, ensuring that costs are within budget, and recommending cost savings.
- Managing project risks: Identifying potential risks, developing contingency plans, and taking action to mitigate risks and minimise their impact.
- Closing the project: Assuring that all project activities finish on schedule, that the stakeholders accept the deliverables, and all project records are accurately attained.
Yes, it’s quite the balancing act. That’s why you need all the academic help you can get as early as possible. So let’s look at some courses and specialisations that can help sharpen your skills towards the responsibilities mentioned above.
What qualifications do you need to be a project manager?
Depending on the organisation or the industry, the qualifications of a project manager do vary. But here are the three significant aspects a project manager must be able to show for themselves:
Formal education: Employers may also require bachelor’s degrees in related fields like business administration, management, engineering, or construction management. High-level industries also require a master’s degree, such as an MBA or a master’s in Project Management.
Professional certifications: Additional certifications always help to secure and widen your opportunities. Some examples are:
- the Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI) ( a US-based professional organisation) or
- the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) from PMI
These certifications serve the dual purpose of demonstrating your knowledge and expertise.
Experience: Any management experience in a related field will add value and weightage to your resume. Employers tend to hold such experiences in high regard, and they can be an essential factor in advancing a career in project management.
Role of AI in project managing
AI is likely to play an instrumental role in this field. AI tools can significantly help project managers to automate routine tasks, reduce the risk of errors, and improve the speed and accuracy of decision-making. In addition, data analysis and the identification of patterns and trends using AI can also provide valuable insights that the human eye might miss.
With the recent developments in AI, will it one day take over our jobs? Not to worry. While AI can automate specific tasks and provide valuable support to project managers, it cannot fully replace the human element central to project management. From leading teams, making complex decisions, and handling challenging scenarios, to solving problems, project management requires human judgement and emotional intelligence that AI lacks (at least for now!).
Project management is a dynamic and complex discipline that leans on human intelligence and command to be successful. It goes without saying that project managers will undoubtedly continue to be essential in creating a sustainable society.