by CHRYSTAL STASICKY Media Editor
Students around the world are lost and confused when it comes to choosing a profession to pursue for the rest of their lives. A project manager could be an occupation for those individuals to consider.
A project manager is an individual that manages a project such as building a house or installing a software, but the project is not the only thing that they manage. They also cooperate with the people that are working on it. They are not the boss, but the PM does need to be sure that everything is going according to plan in order to be successful.
The customer is something else that PMs work with. They have to keep in contact with them to be sure that everything goes as the customers want it.
A project manager does not work alone. When there is a project, there are several teams that work on the project and everyone cooperates together.
The two biggest parts of this job are time and staying within the customer’s budget. All projects have a deadline, and the project has to be completed by that deadline. Project Managers have to make sure that no time is wasted. For example, when an issue is brought to them, they do not work on it alone because that wastes time. They work with all the other team members to solve the problem quickly.
Projects that go over budget are considered failed projects. The PM has to make sure that the customer’s money is spent and used well on the correct resources. Sometimes a resource is bought and it ends up being the wrong one. At this point, the PM must contact the customer and figure out if they will provide more money or trade in the resource to get more.
Some troubles that a PM deals with include product issues, money, people not doing what they are supposed to, and software issues. When it comes to product and software issues, the items are sent back and fixed. However, the people who do not do their job correctly are not completely the project manager’s problem. It is the mess they left that the PM has to take care of, while the boss on site for the project takes care of the people.
There are not many problems that a PM deals with since the boss handles it. The main benefit of this job includes working from home. No gas is wasted on driving to an office and the office is organized the way that the PM wants it to be. It is not an uncomfortable box office in a corporate building. Project managers get to wear the clothes they want and are in complete control of their schedules. In the event that they have a doctors appointment, they can just schedule around it.
Cynthia Ablazey is a project manager for the software company Kronos.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I like the independence and flexibility. I like the people I work with and the product that we have is the best in the industry, so it makes my job great! The only thing I would have to say is I don’t like to be away from my family for extended periods of time and when you have to get on a plane and be gone for a week or two. For me, that piece is the downside. I have people that I work with that love the travel, so it really depends on the person.
What are the circumstances that require travel?
Not all project managers have to travel, but with my company I do. I travel when the project starts up to meet the customer and the customer team. We have a Project Kickoff Meeting where I present to the customer what the project will look like, timeline and expectations. There are also many other meetings that require on site face-to-face support with the customer. Many customers just like to have the resources onsite instead of being remote. If there are big meetings, I recommend being onsite. It gives a comfort level to the customer and gives me the ability to watch facial expressions and body language, which can tell you a lot that you cannot see over the phone.
What are the responsibilities a project manger has?
The project manager is a critical focal point to customers. I am expected to manage all project aspects and resources in order to ensure timely, efficient, successful implementations. I have full responsibility and ownership of the project. If the project goes well, it is mine. If it doesn’t go well, it’s mine, too, and I have to find a resolution to make it work.
What skills and experience do you need for this position?
For those who are looking at this occupation, you need to have the ability to manage a team, strong analytic skills, strong experience scheduling, and [be able to prepare] presentations and status reports. You must also have superb written and oral communication skills, leadership skills, along with the ability to work as part of a project team, and be able to perform multiple tasks, ranging from project management to coaching other team members.
Why would you recommend project manager to other individuals or someone my age?
This is a great job for someone who likes responsibility and seeing something completed. Being a project manager, I get to lead my team from start to finish on a project and get to enjoy the success of the team.
A project manager lives a pretty laid back way of life until it comes to traveling away from home. There are a lot of skills that are needed for this position, but it is worth it if you love what you are doing. Money is not what one should shoot for; go for what you want and makes you happy. That is a life worth living.
What do you think about a project manager? Would you want to have this position in a company?