Becoming a project manager is a tough challenge, there seem to be many expectations, pressures, targets, and harmonizations with respect to the project itself and its associated outputs. It is not that all this is about being competent in the techniques or know-how of the discipline in project management. There are many similarities in this area with many disciplines – in particular, Operations. Such similarities may help to explain why the most fruitfully-performing entrepreneur is more or less a “project” manager today. In many cases, they have developed themselves into a style that is well-adaptable to those projects for which they are effective. This can earn the respect and success which in turn has brought accolades to others who step in to take over for the non-specialist. As on a PRINCE2 Course training.
If you have successful projects in your organization, you will probably be regarded by many as a bit of a specialist. As a successful manager, you are no longer viewed as one of the “pack” and everyone will accept that you are currently the “lead dog.” Now you must get better at those activities that separate you from “the pack” but which still access these conditions. If you want your skills to ensure that you retain and develop your reputation – and therefore your fee – you will need to take a hard look at how you are approaching these targets, or at becoming a specialist – it is not simply about managing the project – and truly think about them.
You will need to start thinking about how your organization’s projects are different from others in your industry. And this applies to corporate and entrepreneurial projects as well as non-corporate ones. If you started them – describe what they are. Then after you have completed your first project you will need to aim at this description even more accurately and will want to do so for every newly spawned project. Try and include the following in these descriptions – the findings are unspoken concerns of a project. These concerns will help greatly in the process of developing project management standards, a useful way of communicating these standards to others.
You will also need to notice gaps between the standards everyone follows and how they are being met. Thankfully many organizations provide some form of project management training and the element of assessing skills during an exam does provide useful input. However, what if you were shown a clear objective to follow and you had been given a written voucher saying so? How do you monitor not only the success of your projects but your ability to meet these objectives?
The main thing to avoid is positioning oneself into one secure “great” place. Stick to the opposition, become a specialist or a project manager. At a job specification level, there are fewer and fewer people who have such skills, even in the most junior of positions. I do think the cornerstone of this will come from those associated with a particular discipline – even if you move forwards from project management to project/process management, for example, you will come to realize that you don’t even have the faintest notion of the intricacies of another discipline! Tell me – have you yet to meet a project/process manager who has a fundamental awareness of construction methods?