Project Management Overview
When researching project management I discovered approximately 195,000,000 results via Google, which included types of project management, education, skills and other information pertaining to project management. According to the BusinessDictionary.com, project management is a body of knowledge concerned with principles, techniques, and tools used in planning, control, monitoring, and review of projects. Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion. It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular ‘controls’ to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on ‘performance’ relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary. There are various levels of Project Management, and differences between the size and scope of projects to manage.
Industries that use project managers include the building trades: construction, engineering and architecture; computer and other high-tech fields; and real-estate development. In addition, large companies from many other sectors also may use project managers. Educational requirements for project managers vary greatly according to the type of projects they manage. For construction projects, a civil engineering degree is usually required. High-tech PMs may need a degree in electrical engineering or computer science. And in most cases, the most successful project managers have some type of formal business training, such as an MBA.
Project management has a direct effect on a company’s bottom line, so a PM must be able to evaluate a project’s financial repercussions from a corporate point of view. Very few people start in the field as full-fledged project managers. Most are offered an assistant position on a project management team and are assigned responsibility for one aspect of the work. As you gain experience, you may be assigned more and more tasks to manage, until you’re ready to lead others in completing an entire project. Other newcomers start out with primarily technical jobs, creating, tracking, and updating the schedule using a software program; reviewing documents, and writing reports.
Project coordinator is an entry-level position that offers exposure to the work done by project managers. It’s usually an administrative position involving a great deal of paperwork. You generate and distribute the reports that keep the project management team, owners, company staff, and others informed of a project’s progress. You also schedule meetings and assist the management team in any way possible.
For larger projects, a project scheduler runs the software, inputting the information supplied by the management team and updating files as needed. This is a technical position that involves a great deal of computer work and little actual management.
Assistant Project Manager
Assistant PMs do not necessarily assist the project manager directly. Rather, they’re usually assigned specific tasks to manage. They meet regularly with the PM to report progress and problems.
In this position, you may run a project yourself or lead a management team, delegating task management to assistants. PMs report to the “owner” of a project—whether that’s a real estate developer, government agency, or your company’s senior management. You oversee budget and schedule, and take responsibility for the project’s proper completion.
Senior Project Manager
Many large organizations that tackle multiple projects at once (especially construction and engineering companies) employ a senior project manager. The senior project manager supervises a company’s various project managers, coordinating the allocation of company resources, approving costs, and deciding which projects should take priority.
PMI is the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession, with more than half a million members and credential holders in 185 countries. They have a worldwide advocacy for project management and is supported by their globally-recognized standards and credentials, extensive research program, and their professional development opportunities. These products and services are the basis of greater recognition and acceptance of project management’s successful role in governments, organizations, academia and industries. They are the source for developmental needs as a project manager.