Since overcoming life-changing injuries from the Paddington Train Crash of 1999, Pam has become a master of re-invention and a catalyst for change not just in her own life but in the lives and work of others. Building on her skills as a businesswoman and Independent Financial Advisor with 13 staff, Pam retrained as a Prince 2 Practitioner project manager and can now be found at pamwarren.co.uk and tweeting from @pamwarren06.
Being a Project Manager can be tough. It requires a certain kind of mind and a certain kind of drive.
There’s plenty of advice available on how to become a good Project Manager, but there are some fundamental aspects of the role that are important to have.
Put simply, some people simply aren’t suited for a career in project management. Here is my top five list of traits that could mean that project management isn’t for you.
1. You struggle to communicate confidently
If you often find yourself struggling to get your point across, you could find a career in project management very difficult. In this role, the ability to co-ordinate groups of people and individuals is paramount.
About half of your time will be spent in meetings, writing e-mails and reports, making phone calls, having one-on-ones, and so on. A good project manager needs to spend time getting to know their team, as well as their clients and stakeholders, so a certain level of charisma / confidence is essential.
2. You can’t disengage with material
As the project manager, your job isn’t to execute the nitty gritty of a project. Before a project begins, you have to spend an appropriate amount of time getting to grips with the material.
Once this is done, you have to take a step back from a project. If you are the type of person who feels that once you have begun something you have to finish it, then you might struggle, because as a PM over-investment in a role can be counterproductive.
Your role is to think about the big picture and delegate specifics.
3. You struggle with structured approaches to working
The complexities of project management are sometimes difficult to get to grips with. However, without knowledge of the techniques at your disposal, and without the mind to apply different management styles, managing projects becomes chaotic.
As projects become larger, the processes are essential to maintaining structure; the project manager provides the structure without which a project struggles to be completed.
4. You are not a leader
This may seem obvious, as you are the leader of a team, but as a project manager, you are given instructions by a customer, and you must arrange for the success of those aims.
However, this does not mean that you are taking orders: PMs have to understand the projects first and foremost, and have to be able to have authority when talking to a client about the viability of a project.
For example, if your client asks for a change or a deadline that is not viable, you have to have the ability to assert the realities of the project.
5. You think of project management itself as non-essential
Ultimately, you have to understand your role, and why it is needed. For some, project managers are overheads who don’t add significant value to a project, so it is important that you understand why this is not the case.
This ties in with your ability to communicate and an adherence to protocol, because if you cannot understand the need for your efforts, then it may be impossible to stay motivated.
What other signs are there that you may not be cut out for project management?
Anyone can learn digital project management, I’ve seen people that knows nothing about Web dev complete projects more efficiently due to their ability to “adapt, change, re-adapt, and learn”.
“The man that thinks he can, and the man that thinks he can’t are both correct.” ~Confucious
These five points are five characteristics which has to be present in the person to be a successful project management and a team leader.