How to become a project manager in 2021

Simone Kohl

4 mins read

Perhaps you are considering becoming a project manager or are already working in project management. In a project, there are several benefits and challenges for the project manager.  
Project managers organize teams to achieve a specific goal or complete a project. As a project manager, you, therefore, need to be organized and interested in people. 

What is project management?  

Project management means managing a project and all its components from start to finish. This sounds simple, but it encompasses many different activities that a project manager must perform. Project management plays an important role in many industries. Whether it’s software development, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, or construction management, project management is important for all sectors.  

You can distinguish the same phases in every industry: 

Initiation 

Before a project can begin, the necessary groundwork must first be laid to determine if the project can be started. To do this, you need to make a business case and it must be determined how likely it is that the project will be successful.  

Planning 

Once this has been clarified, the planning phase can begin. This is where you formally develop and document the project. This should list the following: the scope of the project, the objectives, the tasks, the schedule, the budget, opportunities and risks, the allocation of internal and external resources, the project stakeholders, and the communication strategies.  

Execution  

After the plan is in place, the execution of the project can begin. This involves completing the previously defined tasks and documenting milestones. In addition, you can select a method for project management here. For example, this can be the Scrum method.   

Monitoring  

During the execution of the project, you monitor the progress and milestones. You need to ensure communication between the project team and people involved and measuring performance against the defined aspects such as time and cost. It is also about implementing changes and ensuring quality.  

Closure  

Finally, the project must be closed. Closure involves evaluating the results against the objectives. It is determined whether the tasks have all been completed and all administrative things such as payment of external invoices or reallocation of internal resources have been done.  

What does it mean to be a project manager?  

The project manager has a complex job. So he does not get bored. The Project Manager is responsible for leading an entire project through the phases mentioned above.  

The project manager has to adapt to different people and situations and act flexibly. This is because they are the key to communication within the team.  

You will be the person the team turns to when they have problems or questions. Therefore, you will also know what problems, requests, or expectations the employees and customers have. All responsibility for a project lies with the Project Manager. This includes being responsible for any mistakes the team makes and being held accountable for customer complaints.  

In addition, the profession is constantly changing. You can pick and change the industry, the project, and often even procedures and tools. No two projects are the same, however, the expertise from the field can be helpful when you are faced with similar situations.  

Skills to become a project manager 

Pure knowledge in project management is often not enough. It also requires the right soft skills. To master the daily challenges, you need a sense of responsibility, analytical and strategic thinking, and a stress-resistant personality. Therefore, multitasking is also one of the needed skills as a project manager.  

Hard skills include basic business knowledge. Knowledge of programming is not essential, but you must be able to clarify and describe the tasks for the developers. The project manager’s job is about making sure the team has all the relevant information to complete the task. Knowledge of resource management is also an important skill. 

How to become a project manager  

If you want to become a project manager, there are many ways. Some study the principles of project management to become a project manager in a company or some become a project manager more or less “by accident”. When this happens “by chance”, more and more responsibility is given to the person. Regardless of the path through which you become a project manager, some steps should be followed.  

1. draw on existing project management skills 

Have you ever planned, managed, scheduled, or documented the status of a project? If so, you’ve done some elements of a project before. Or even if they’ve planned an event before, they may have gained skills you can use as a project manager.  

2. gain experience  

Many project managers start on a team without a leadership position. For example, IT project managers may start as IT staff, supporting the team. Then, the scope of responsibilities may gradually expand to include new industry skills and leadership roles. To build project management skills, you can look for opportunities in their current work environment. Chances are some tasks need to be planned or improved. Perhaps you can contribute ideas and give your input so that their supervisor knows of the interest in project management.  

3. look for entry-level positions  

For starters, you can also look for entry-level positions where you can gain skills. These could be positions such as project coordinator, operations coordinator, junior project manager, or administrative assistant.  

4. complete project management certification 

With a certificate in project management, you can maximize your chances of getting a job. With it, you can get started and gain initial skills. For example, you can take a Scrum Master certification or Google Project Management Certification: Professional Certification.

Final thoughts  

Before you start the job as a project manager, write down all the things you like and don’t like to deal with in your career. There are also many online learning resources or blogs that you can use to stay up to date.  


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Simone Kohl
Simone Kohl

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