What are you looking for in a Project Manager?

Updated on : January 20, 2022 by Edward Watts



What are you looking for in a Project Manager?

I am looking for doers! (vs ladies). People who really have the skill and experience to do a day job involved in the bigger project. The project manager must have a stake in the project, he must actually have a part of the work that needs to be done for the project to be successful.

In my opinion, there is no job that is just a project manager. It should be more like, "this is Alice, she's the lead designer and by the way, she's also the project manager." Those kinds of projects are always much more successful than the traditional idea of ​​a Project Manager with a team that does all the work.

And yes

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I am looking for doers! (vs ladies). People who really have the skill and experience to do a day job involved in the bigger project. The project manager must have a stake in the project, he must actually have a part of the work that needs to be done for the project to be successful.

In my opinion, there is no job that is just a project manager. It should be more like, "this is Alice, she's the lead designer and by the way, she's also the project manager." Those kinds of projects are always much more successful than the traditional idea of ​​a Project Manager with a team that does all the work.

And I'm sorry, this is a cause for concern to me - any project manager who utters the words, "The golden triangle of project management" (cost versus schedule versus quality) should be avoided. Great PMs are flexible, determined to meet all project needs, and don't gloat over common tradeoffs.

Note: I have managed hundreds of projects, from small to very large, with large budgets. I have been a prime minister without participation and I have also been a prime minister with a large participation, so I speak from my own experience.

I am looking for someone who has some real practical skills with using Microsoft Project and the critical path method correctly. I know this is not the whole story of project management, but it is a basic thing. I know there are other skills and experience counts too. There are so-called project managers who can't even do something sensible by putting together a feasible plan in the most common software tool on the market, and then working on the plan and monitoring and reporting progress against that plan, and justify their ineptitude. pretending it's not important. I couldn't ca

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I am looking for someone who has some real practical skills with using Microsoft Project and the critical path method correctly. I know this is not the whole story of project management, but it is a basic thing. I know there are other skills and experience counts too. There are so-called project managers who can't even do something sensible by putting together a feasible plan in the most common software tool on the market, and then working on the plan and monitoring and reporting progress against that plan, and justify their ineptitude. pretending it's not important. I couldn't care less about credentials.

I have worked with many project managers as my subordinates. My honest answer would be attitude. There are no scientific methods to identify this in case you are planning to hire one. We can expect the PM to have basic knowledge of PM processes or even to be certified. However, with the right attitude, the PM can communicate better (90% of the time spent on the project is communicating). Establishing a good relationship in the project team and with the project stakeholders is also very important.

In addition to the excellent responses that precede mine, the ability to move from CONOPS to execution and exercise agility that leverages the PMBOK premise while adapting to the specific environment in which they are operating. A PM that understands more than one methodology that can organize solutions based on best practices across all standards is invaluable in moving project management from an academic exercise to an effective and efficient execution model.

Risk and change management should also be considered at the beginning and not just as an after-thought.

Ability to manage projects as indicated by your verifiable work history. How did you handle problems, mitigate risks, resolve conflicts, implement contingency plans, etc.

Personally, I couldn't care less if the candidate has her PM certification (but her organization could); it would come as a secondary or even tertiary consideration, after the management philosophy and mastery of the tools used in the environment.

The key to answering this is found in the Agile Manifesto. The Manifesto is the philosophy and value base for all agile project management frameworks and methodologies (Manifesto for Agile Software Development). The two values ​​that most impact daily project management are "Individuals and interactions about processes and tools" and "Responding to change about following a plan". According to the site, these values ​​should be read with these meanings: while we value processes and tools, we value people and the interactions about them, and while we value following a plan, we value responding

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The key to answering this is found in the Agile Manifesto. The Manifesto is the philosophy and value base for all agile project management frameworks and methodologies (Manifesto for Agile Software Development). The two values ​​that most impact daily project management are "Individuals and interactions about processes and tools" and "Responding to change about following a plan". According to the site, these values ​​should be read with these meanings: while we value processes and tools, we value people and the interactions about them, and while we value following a plan, we value response to change more.

In traditional project management, as reflected in the Project Management Institute's PMBOK, the key to managing everything from project integration, through scope and risk management, to procurement management, is based on creation of plans and their execution. Plans are processes and procedures. The management proposes the processes that the professionals who develop the project will use and the professionals use them. Period. Decision taken. Go to work. Because Agile values ​​people above processes and tools, Agile projects put the work of identifying the best processes to do the project in the hands of the professionals who were actually hired because they have the specific skills and knowledge necessary to know which processes would be most effective. .

Because traditional management depends on the plan, when change comes, everything must go back to the planning stage and must be repeated to some extent to address change. This creates often elaborate and time-consuming organizational gadgets. In agile projects, changes are expected and therefore evaluated and addressed on the fly by professionals who have the processes, skills, and knowledge to do so quickly and efficiently. Because some changes impact business priorities and hierarchies, most agile frameworks, like Scrum, create ways to handle this. In Scrum, each team of professionals has a Product Owner, who represents business values ​​and is in a position to understand business priorities and interact with senior management / stakeholders who have decision-making authority if they are lacking and needed. Otherwise, the product owner has the authority to incorporate a change, and the development team has the necessary information to help put it in the right place in the development process. This can be done quickly, flexibly and efficiently on the go. the product owner has the authority to incorporate a change and the development team has the information necessary to help put it in the right place in the development process. This can be done quickly, flexibly and efficiently on the go. the product owner has the authority to incorporate a change and the development team has the information necessary to help put it in the right place in the development process. This can be done quickly, flexibly and efficiently on the go.

Books and book chapters have been written that outline the differences between these two general areas. My intention in this answer is to have provided insight into the agile mind that will help you understand these differences. Hope this helps you.

Thanks for the A2A!

Not surprisingly, project management can be incredibly stressful. We are responsible for delivering on time, within budget and scope, but we often have to deal with limited or ill-equipped resources, unrealistic customer expectations, and a to-do list that could easily land on the moon and back.

Some PMs believe they can handle and cope with high stress, but there are some who ignore or refuse to acknowledge that they are under stress. The experience of stress is not only affecting your cognitive and behavioral performance, it can also have a negative impact on your personal health, good.

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Not surprisingly, project management can be incredibly stressful. We are responsible for delivering on time, within budget and scope, but we often have to deal with limited or ill-equipped resources, unrealistic customer expectations, and a to-do list that could easily land on the moon and back.

Some PMs believe they can handle and cope with high stress, but there are some who ignore or refuse to acknowledge that they are under stress. The experience of stress is not only affecting your cognitive and behavioral performance, it can also have a negative impact on your personal health, well-being, and family life. You may not be able to change the amount of stress you have on a daily basis, but you can change the way you handle it. It is important to manage stress before it becomes increasingly difficult to handle and handle.

Causes of stress in project management

There are 2 weeks to imagine the project deadline and there are still some critical issues to be solved. To make matters worse, one of the key members of his team has been hospitalized. The customer is not satisfied and the management requests a daily review. The sources of stress in project management can be many and varied. Some common sources are listed below:

  1. Unrealistic timeline
  2. Work in a matrix system where PM does not have full control of resources
  3. Lack of resources: human and / or equipment to use the appropriate tools
  4. Proliferation of virtual teams and intercultural influences
  5. Conflict between groups in the organization
  6. Project environment

And the list goes on.

Stress management techniques

The Project Manager must first acknowledge or acknowledge that he or she is under stress and then develop self-discipline before proceeding to learn and practice stress management techniques. Learning to manage stress successfully begins with our willingness to look at ourselves honestly.

Many techniques can help you manage stress. There is no one-size-fits-all technique, and no single technique can completely eliminate stress. Each person must decide what will work best for them. A few techniques should be explored to determine which one works best, and once you've found some strategies that work, a commitment to practicing them is the key to managing stress.

I find five interpersonal skills and / or attitudes that help reduce stress from "Tangible Tips for Handling Endless Stress in Project Management" by Steven Flannes, Ph.D., Director, Flannes & Associates below that are really helpful. to manage stress in Project Management:

  1. Separate or disassociate: Consider the team meeting where you are extremely frustrated at seeing a waste of time or the personal posture of a team member. To use detachment or dissociation, allow yourself to mentally "check" the meeting as much as appropriate, letting your mind wander to a more pleasant image. Obviously, these approaches are used selectively and discreetly.
  2. Prioritize: Create a priority matrix and assign each task based on its urgency and importance. Focus on tasks that are urgent and important. Don't get overwhelmed worrying about your entire workload.

In this case, you must use the appropriate project management tool for your jobs. Brief is a visual collaboration platform and project management tool that gives teams insight into projects. Use Brief for All C's to collaborate, communicate, and coordinate on all your projects.

In the first days of its launch, things are going to be hectic. You will not have time to reserve to smooth and make the processes perfect. But you should at least try. This is where Brief comes in. Using a pre-planned structure will help your startup. After all, it worked for Brief.

This roundup consolidates the most effective features you love about top-rated job messengers and trackers.

1. Group and private chats, file sharing of any size, desktop and browser accessibility, superior speed and guaranteed security.

2. Enhanced short task management: turn any message into a task with one click. Don't waste time copying and pasting. Set a task instantly and share it with your team.

3. Helicopter view: Create "hubs", centralize, order and prioritize tasks based on your needs and goals. This helps teams focus on critical tasks first and allows stakeholders to minimize time spent evaluating progress.

4. Maximum ease - Eliminate the learning curve required by most project management tools. Brief features an intuitive design that makes using it as simple as your basic messenger.

3. Develop powerful conflict resolution skills: We add stress to our work lives by either under-reacting to the stressful situation (avoiding or denying it) or by overreacting to the stressful situation (coming in too hard). Both approaches increase our stress. A menu of conflict resolution skills (that will help reduce stress) is found in Flannes and Levin (2005).

4. Know when enough is enough and avoid debating: A natural, but often unproductive, approach to resolving a stressful situation is to debate with another person the wisdom of their point of view. This does not mean that you should not assert your beliefs, but you should know when to stop, often when your message has been heard. At this point in the dialogue, if we keep trying to be seen as "correct," we are actually increasing our stress. It is better to stop earlier than later; It may be a matter of diminishing returns to remain seen as "correct."

5. Look for a paradoxical component in the situation: In the midst of a situation that is legitimately stressful, we may find ourselves taking ourselves or the situation too seriously. Cognitive-behavioral psychologists would say that we are engaging in "catastrophic" behavior, in which we take a singular negative event, cognitively "run with it," and then we find ourselves believing, for example, that the entire project is probably doomed. this is a serious problem. An antidote to this is to find a paradoxical cognition that you can hold onto, something that puts your stress and worries in perspective.

These roles often cause confusion, even in smart tech companies. It's understandable: the words are only two letters apart. And in most organizations, responsibilities overlap in more ways than any other role. In some cases, the same person is the product manager and the project manager.

So what is the first step towards a successful working relationship if you are working in a team with product and project managers?

The key is to have clear boundaries (and cross them when necessary with intention and clear communication). When you internalize what each of you is responsible for,

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These roles often cause confusion, even in smart tech companies. It's understandable: the words are only two letters apart. And in most organizations, responsibilities overlap in more ways than any other role. In some cases, the same person is the product manager and the project manager.

So what is the first step towards a successful working relationship if you are working in a team with product and project managers?

The key is to have clear boundaries (and cross them when necessary with intention and clear communication). When you internalize what each of you is responsible for, you will better understand your responsibilities and points of intersection. This is how you collaborate and create great products.

Definition: product manager vs project manager

It is useful to begin by describing how we think about a product and a project.

A product is what you are providing to a group of users. It can be anything: a physical product that you are holding, a software application, or a service that you are providing.

In contrast, a project is a plan with a series of activities that has a defined outcome and a fixed start and end date. The project is complete when that result is achieved.

So let's say your product is a new mobile app. It can contain many projects before it is ready to be launched. All of these projects have their own unique starting and ending points. The mobile app, however, is a product that will continue to improve as long as it is sold to customers.

Paper

What is a product manager? Product managers are often described as the CEOs of their products. They set the strategy, prioritize launches, talk to customers, and clearly define features. Their efforts are continuous and involve managing the entire product life cycle. The goal of a product manager is to deliver a product that customers love.

What is a project manager? Project managers oversee a fixed project from start to finish. It can be a single project or a group of projects. Your job is to execute the strategy set by the product manager or leadership team. The goal of a project manager is to work with a larger team with a diverse set of skills and complete a project on time and on budget.

Each role performs unique functions to accomplish specific goals. So the next step is to break down the details of who does what, because this is where uncertainty and conflict often arise.

Responsibility

The product manager is responsible for establishing the product strategy. By having a “goal first” approach to managing and developing the product, great product managers can create initiatives to help achieve those goals.

This approach helps determine what functions need to be created to achieve those goals. Product managers must answer these three questions:

  • What problem does this solve?
  • What are you building?
  • What will be the benefits?

Product managers have:

  • Strategy
  • Releases
  • Ideation
  • Characteristics
  • Go to the market
  • Organizational training
  • Profit and loss

The project manager is usually less concerned with specific product goals. They are more focused on the project itself. A project manager takes initiatives and product characteristics to develop a schedule based on any potential constraints related to resources, risks, or scope.

Project managers must answer the questions:

  • What resources are needed?
  • When will the project be delivered?
  • Who will do what?

Project managers have:

  • Budget
  • Delivery
  • Means
  • Capacity
  • Organization of crossed teams
  • Problem solving
  • Status updates

Collaboration

Product managers and project managers work closely together and develop clear plans in high-performing organizations. And they both work with the broader product team and executive leaders.

The product manager collaborates with cross-functional teams on a daily basis regarding the future of the product: engineering, sales and marketing, customer success, etc. And since the product manager is responsible for the product throughout its life cycle, she will naturally be involved in any project. that refers to the product. So it's the product manager's job to define the scope of each specific project. She explains why these projects will achieve high-level goals for her product and business.

The project manager also works with the overall team, but is focused on making plans come true. And his work is more fixed in time. Manage an effort and once that project is complete, move on to organizing other tasks. For example, a project team could meet to tackle a UX redesign with a target date that is six months. The project manager will be concerned with the budget, resources, timing, and quality of that project. You will understand the many details of each project.

Each of the product and project managers performs unique functions. When lined up correctly, both can shine.

Product and project managers view the same work through different lenses. And that's good when you're trying to achieve something special, like bringing a new product to market like me. But they both work for the same team. And when they join forces to collaborate, everyone benefits and the company wins.

About eight years ago, I was trying to get into project management. He was in college, getting an education, since that seemed like the most logical thing to do. When it came time to apply for a job, I realized that virtually all positions required some level of experience. How could you apply for an entry-level job when you didn't have the 2-3 years of experience that roles require?

There are many project managers who have started in some way. But how? I was frustrated and discouraged. Six months had passed and I was turning down papers because I didn't like them, they didn't pay what I owed.

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About eight years ago, I was trying to get into project management. He was in college, getting an education, since that seemed like the most logical thing to do. When it came time to apply for a job, I realized that virtually all positions required some level of experience. How could you apply for an entry-level job when you didn't have the 2-3 years of experience that roles require?

There are many project managers who have started in some way. But how? I was frustrated and discouraged. Six months had passed and I was turning down roles because I didn't like them, they didn't pay what I thought was worthy, or I didn't have a project management degree that I felt like I had worked to win (oh my young and naive expectations).

During an interview, they asked me about my experience. Fortunately for me, I had worked in a family business as well as being a volunteer, so I knew how to harness those skills and relate them to the role of operations analyst. I talked about the skills and how they would help me work with clients. Although I didn't have a "project manager" title in the past, I could still mention my skills. And suddenly, it seemed to me that I had more experience than I thought.

Desperate to do more and start my career, I accepted the position of Operations Analyst, having nothing that I thought I wanted in a position. However, what I did have was experience doing a job similar to that of a PM and it was with a company where I felt I could grow throughout my career. Being an operations coordinator meant helping small self-storage facilities set up their accounts (20-40 at a time) based on their business needs and providing training and support. Other tasks included reporting and holding accounts and intending to work with other cross-functional teams.

While the job was challenging, he knew he wanted more hands-on project execution experience. I explained to my boss during my review that I really enjoyed what I was learning in class and hoped there would be another job that would allow me to manage and lead. He found some internal projects to work on with different team members. He also reached out to the company's project management team and began inviting me to participate in their meetings and act as a liaison between the company's project management team and our department. I was excited that he was really trying to help me grow, but I wish everything had happened sooner.

Finally, I was looking for a new role outside the company. My desire for a more focused project management function was the main factor. I also realized that the company was large and that moving up the organization would take too long for my liking. Also, going late was not that great here. If that's the kind of work you wanted to do, you had to move on.

I found another company and received an offer as a Project Manager. The offer promised a higher salary than before and had great benefits. In my new role, I was officially a "Project Manager". Finally. My techniques in the interview process were the same as before and they worked again.

I spent the next several years working for this private company, but unlike before, I constantly received huge calls for attention when it came to what it takes to live, breathe, and be a PM. As an implementation project manager, I helped clients replace their outdated and archaic paper systems (in most cases) with a cloud-based compliance system. This role meant working with many cross-functional teams on the client side and internally to deliver results.

Reliving these 4 years, where the hell do I start?

I spent the first year familiarizing myself with my role, the company, and the software. As an implementation manager, the role was much more “invested” than a traditional project manager role. About a year later, I got a small raise. My boss started asking questions about my decision to start an MBA education and what kinds of projects I enjoyed (cookie cutter, small, simple projects versus complex projects, requiring extensive critical thinking). I answered the first but ended the second by realizing that I was good at problem solving and collaboration. Also, if he wanted to stand out, he needed to take the road less traveled. The hard.

I think that's what she wanted to hear and probably what she saw in me all along. I started getting more projects out of the box, but nothing I felt was too crazy. When some revolutionary projects were about to begin, it was time to speak. I began to insist on complex projects.

But soon the stress started to get to me. He worked full time and went to school at night, getting more training in business and project management. However, it did not go unnoticed. By now I had received a 20% raise and was feeling pretty good.

Going into sophomore year, I received more crazy projects, and it felt amazing to get them out of the park, even though they often cost me my time. There were days when I was at work at 7 a.m., only to leave at 11 p.m. and be back early the next morning. Also, the days when I found something new and stressed about unfamiliar territory and keeping everything afloat. I really had to lean on my boss (who is a great mentor and friend to me) to help me navigate the waters and really hone my skills. I like to think that she is one of the main reasons I am often told that I am good at what I do.

Another year, I was promoted to Senior Project Manager.

I decided to start studying for my PMP because my earning potential would soon exceed that of the company. It was at that moment that I really ignited my self-learning. It was also around this time that my new supervisor of the year left and I officially became the team leader. It was difficult for a while because I was responsible for the staff, my own workload, and getting the PMP.

Life began to take a major turn just before my fourth anniversary with the company. I wanted to have my own business, so I started working in my own company with my boyfriend. I made the decision to freelance full time and leave my position. It turned out to be the best decision. The PMP certification was helpful and I was offered positions where my hourly rate was doubled.

In just 6 years, my hourly rate had doubled twice.

And that's what I want for everyone who reads this. I am 27 years old and I am gaining more than 10 years or more than my age with twice the experience that I have. It's possible. That's how:

Transferable skills

Assess your current skills and show them off. If you want to become a project coordinator or project manager, it is important to show the skills that a project manager has. Even if you've never had a "project manager" title.

If you can show how your current skills translate into skills that a project manager needs, you will suddenly have more experience than you thought. Make sure it's on your resume, too.

Good examples of transferable skills are organization, team leadership, communication, meeting planning, etc.

Note that I'm not suggesting just listing them on a resume, but rather being able to talk about their experience in these areas in previous roles.

Ask to be in new projects

Many times, even if you are not currently a project manager, companies have ongoing project or project management roles that you can join as a resource. This is a great way to experiment and get your foot in the door.

When I worked at U-Haul as an Operations Analyst, I managed several small storage facility account setups. They were projects, but compared to what PMI considers a project, nothing too complex (for example, no project documents, limited stakeholders, usually no tight deadlines or budgets). It gave me exposure.

In the meantime, I spoke with my manager. I expressed that I was receiving training (next point) but wanted more experience in project management. She gave me some projects to lead within our department and invited me to the U-Haul project meetings that expanded the entire organization so that I could see how things were done and act as a liaison and retrieve any key information that our team needed. Boom! Experience and exposure.

Get training

If you are looking to pursue a career in project management, get training. It can be a degree, a certificate, or some introductions to project management classes. New skills open up new opportunities. Additionally, certifications through the Project Management Institute (PMI) require 23 to 35 hours of educational contact in project management, depending on the certification.

Get a mentor

I remember seeing this tip when I was starting out. For me, it came naturally in the workplace when I found someone who believed in me and what I was capable of. This also happened to my business partner.

A mentor does not have to limit himself to his workplace. You really just need someone who wants to see you succeed and who can help you achieve it.

Now that I've shared my path, I hope your path to project management is much easier than mine. Good luck!

If a project is large enough (effort / complexity, cost, or criticality) to justify a project manager, it is unreasonable, and in most cases counterproductive, for the PM to know all the details. Stakeholders, from sponsors to subject matter experts (SMEs), are the places where the specifics reside.

The role of the PM is not to know all the details. But they must be able to source and examine from those stakeholders those items that, if not delivered on time or at sufficient quality levels or at estimated cost, could jeopardize the project and potentially make it unsuccessful. That should be the

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If a project is large enough (effort / complexity, cost, or criticality) to justify a project manager, it is unreasonable, and in most cases counterproductive, for the PM to know all the details. Stakeholders, from sponsors to subject matter experts (SMEs), are the places where the specifics reside.

The role of the PM is not to know all the details. But they must be able to source and scrutinize from those stakeholders those items that, if not delivered on time or at sufficient quality levels or at estimated cost, could jeopardize the project and potentially make it unsuccessful. That should be the scope of "knowledge".

Additionally, PMs who are hired or put into their roles specifically because they have subject matter expertise immediately put themselves and the project at risk in two significant ways:

  1. A PM who overrules the judgment of an interested SME because he believes his judgment is better, undermines the contribution of the SME and from then on owns not only that decision, but any additional work related to it.
  2. In my experience, having “rescued” failed projects that had SME PMs in place, they all suffered the same: PM spent too much time in the SME elements (where it was comfortable and challenging) versus managing the initiative. Only the smallest projects allow the PM and the SME to be one in the same. Otherwise, one side of the SME-PM dynamic will always be shortened, and most of the time (from what I have seen), the management side is the one that suffers, because that is not where the strength lies.

The best way to become a project manager is like any other profession. It's not just getting a certification or degree from a college or university (although that helps) but practicing and having a passion for it. The best engineers, musicians, artists, etc. They may or may not have a degree, but they all have something in common with each other and those "things" are passion and practice, and a lot. I know the people at PMI don't like what I say, but the truth is that sometimes a 16-year-old is a much better software engineer than a college graduate. Why? For the passion that burns within 16 years

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The best way to become a project manager is like any other profession. It's not just getting a certification or degree from a college or university (although that helps) but practicing and having a passion for it. The best engineers, musicians, artists, etc. They may or may not have a degree, but they all have something in common with each other and those "things" are passion and practice, and a lot. I know the people at PMI don't like what I'm saying, but the truth is that sometimes a 16-year-old is a much better software engineer than a college graduate. Why? For the passion that burns within 16 years and the long hours of practice that passion made possible. Getting a title doesn't have the same effect as the two mentioned above. When all three (passion, practice and education) are combined,

If you are working and have no project management experience, apply to become an observer on a project managed by a project manager you know is good and start learning by doing. Read case studies on project management and understand the area you want to practice as a project manager. It is important to have a degree of proficiency in the area you want to practice. If software project management is your passion, learn all you can about software, if marketing is your passion, learn about business and marketing.

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