In my one year of work experience as a Project Manager, I came across many challenges and obstacles that I would like to share with you. I would also like to share the skillsets that are required in order to become a successful Project Manager based on my personal experience.
My company has a hybrid (matrix) structure where functional managers are solely responsible for managing employees and project managers are responsible for managing projects. As we have learned in class, the main responsibilities of project manager are to manage project’s schedule, budget, and performance. These are the 3 main “pillars” tracked by upper management in order to determine the success of any project. In order to maintain a balance in these “pillars”, the project manager needs to have outstanding communication skills. He needs to have a leadership personality to attract desired talent in his project. He needs to create an exposure and a strong relationship with other functional and project managers in order to pull in desired resources at the right time and at the right place. With efficient and desired resources, the project can be easily run on-time and within budget. He also needs to maintain a long-lasting relationship with other supporting departments (such as Material Procurement, Security, IT, etc.), so that help is immediately available when needed without any “showstoppers”.
The project manager needs to be a team-player and team-builder. He needs to have a well-rounded technical knowledge about the project, so that he can even temporarily fill-in for any team member when needed to move the project forward in any circumstances. He needs to build and maintain his own team, ensuring that sufficient resources are available from one project to another. I typically work on the engineering projects involving a team of software, hardware/electrical, systems, mechanical, and design engineers. It is important to build a team with the right skillset to cover all areas in different projects. When leading a team, the project manager also needs to create a right balance in “strictness” and “softness”. When managing project resources, he cannot be too strict so that no one would want to work for him. At the same time, he cannot be too soft so that no one gets the work done on-time and within budget.
Last but not the least, the project manager should also be able to monitor future/anticipated project needs and resolve them upfront. He needs to be able to look at the project from “few feet ahead” and immediately works on satisfying future needs (especially the long-lead items) in order to avoid any anticipated delays.
Over all, the project management requires a unique leadership skills and the right balance in communication, personality, and future predictions to run high-performance projects on-time and within budget.
Here are few references that I found that might also help you:
Few Questions to consider:
1) How does Project Management environment differ at your workplace?
2) What other skillset you might think can also improve your career on the path to project management?
3) What other key challenges (not included in this post) might be faced by a project manager?