In the tech world, a “project” refers to a unique offering, be it in the form of a product, service, or result – and a project’s success or failure could have a huge impact on the bottom line. A project might involve one or more people and the requirements can vary greatly. But regardless of the size or purpose, all projects share a couple of common qualities: Each project has unique goals.
Each project has a definite beginning and an end. Project management is all about taking a “plan, execute, operate” approach to a goal by streamlining the processes. It involves taking an idea from a conceptual level to finally delivering a product or service. In recent years, the field of project management has evolved to a whole new level. In order to get hired in project management, you’ll have to learn the ins and outs of specialized software, as well as the most popular approaches and methodologies.
We’ll outline everything you need to know about the art of project management and what the role entails.
What Does A Project Manager (PM) Do?
A project manager plans and defines the outcome of projects. A PM also:
- Coordinates and oversees the execution of projects.
- Manages schedules and budget.
- Measures and reports the progress of the projects.
To be a successful project manager, you’ll need a wide variety of skills. These skills range from leadership, time management, risk management, cost management, all the way to creative thinking. Regardless of the field of work or the type of industry you’re In, the following factors make project managers efficient: Good time management skills. Great communication skills with project stakeholders (even when working from remote locations). Understands the expectations of the project. Evaluates the costs to avoid any surprises at the end of a project. Cognizant of any potential risks that might creep up in a project. Ensures that projects are completed on time, with high-quality results. Project managers deal with a lot of moving pieces. A big part of their work is associated with task management, cost management, and risk analysis. There are instances where the role of a project manager will intersect with that of an operations manager. However, both roles are different.
Why Companies Need Project Management
The competitive environment for most businesses is intensifying, and businesses need to ensure that they’re always on top of their game. To make sure that projects run smoothly and efficiently within the desired budget, project managers are needed. The world’s best companies have all used project managers to handle their tasks, track their timelines, and manage their divergent projects. To ensure a structured approach, they use project management tools like ProofHub, Trello, and Basecamp.
How to Become A Project Manager
If you’re reading this, chances are you want to become a project manager. The good news is, there are tons of options for you to choose from when it comes to entering this field.
Get a degree: If you’d like to go the university route, you can get a degree in project management. Various colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in this field. Some of these universities are Northeastern University, Boston University, Liberty University, Mississippi State University, University of Michigan, Missouri State University, Lasell College, and more. Many schools also offer an online bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, but only a few have the option to specialize in project management. Online BBA programs usually consist of an introductory course in leadership or management. You’d learn about the managerial decision-making process, conflict resolution, ethical leadership, employee motivation, and effective communication strategies.
Join a Bootcamp: If you’re not too keen to take 4 years of schooling to get into project management, then no problem! Another popular option is to enroll in a bootcamp. Bootcamps are in-depth courses, but the information is compact and usually taught in only a few months. Bootcamps usually have great success rates for students getting hired post-graduation because of the most up-to-date information taught. You can check out our bootcamp success rates for reference. Both degrees and bootcamps can prepare you for a wide range of industries such as IT, health, finance, entertainment, retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism. But it’s always important to continue to learn even once you’re in the field. For that reason, it’s important to be passionate about the role. When you start working in the field, you can find free resources online to improve your knowledge base. Most big companies will offer workshops for career-improvement too.
Project Management Methodologies
When you enter the world of project management, there are a ton of management methods to be aware of. Of course, you’ll learn this throughout your education. But we thought it would be helpful to give you some insight into what you can expect as a project manager.
Let’s kick things off by listing seven methods of project management:
- Waterfall methodology
- Agile methodology
- Kanban methodology
- Scrum management
- Rapid application development
- PRINCE2 project management methodology
- Critical chain project management methodology
Each of the above methodologies comes with their own set of rules, principles, processes, and practices. Whether an organization uses tools like Scrum, Kanban, or Agile methodology, the project manager (PM) must be sure that his or her team fully understands what that methodology means. Two of the most common methodologies are Agile and Waterfall:
Waterfall methodology is a linear sequential method that’s suitable for milestone-focused projects. It has its roots in non-software industries that emphasize strict planning and documentation at every phase of the project.
This methodology entails mapping out a project into distinct, sequential phases:
- Requirement analysis
- Quality assurance and testing
- Final product and its maintenance
Imagine that you’re a structural engineer who’s building a house. Following the waterfall methodology, you’ll first develop an idea as to how you want the house to be, prepare a cost estimate, check all the requirements for the construction, and then start designing.
If you make a mistake in any phase of the project, the only way you can fix it is by going back to square one. For example, you can’t put on a roof if you don’t have the framing in place. So, you need to go from phase 1 to phase 2, so on and so forth.
Benefits of Waterfall Methodology:
Easy to manage – One of the benefits of waterfall project management is that it’s easy for the project manager to manage. It’s a phase-based method. Each phase needs to be completed before the next one can begin. So, the PM will only need to focus on one phase at a time.
Thorough documentation – Waterfall project management is a very document-heavy method, and so the planning is heavily detailed. The documentation allows the PM to check if the team is on track.
Shows progress – The PM describes specific milestones for each phase with great care. With this method, you can determine if a project is moving forward on schedule. So, there isn’t any guesswork. Drawbacks of Waterfall Methodology: This methodology is not suitable for those projects in which: the clients’ requirements change often There's no guarantee that the requirements that the organization has thought of would work.
This methodology is best suited for complex projects that require flexibility, feedback-driven changes, and experimental ways of driving production. In such projects, demands and solutions keep evolving. At times, clients may not exactly know how to define their project needs and they may change what they want. These situations can’t be resolved by the waterfall methodology because the PM will have to redo the entire project altogether. Due to the inadequacies of the waterfall method, the organizations felt the need to adopt the agile methodology. Agile project management methodology entails the following key points:
Direct interactions and collaborations - The team that uses this methodology interacts with the clients and end-users, finds out whether any core functionality is missing, fixes that issue, and refines the product. The team conceives and executes the tasks by adapting to the situational demands, rather than following a pre-planned process.
Working software and prototypes over detailed documentation - Unlike the waterfall method that emphasizes detailed documentation, the agile method users care about using software and prototypes. You can easily check what’s working and what isn’t, and then determine how to proceed.
Flexibility – In the software world, when a decision to build or further develop an existing technology is made, the product may be hard to define because of changing requirements. The agile method can accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process of the project.
Cross-team collaboration – This method entails face-to-face interactions among various teams, business stakeholders, and developers throughout the project. All in all, there’s more transparency and proactiveness in dealing with situations as they arise.
Frequent delivery of working software – If the clients don’t know exactly what their requirements are before they see a functional model, agile method users focus to develop and release multiple iterations of a product. They make decisions throughout the process instead of relying on top-down instruction or guidance.
Refined and high-quality product – You’ll respond to ongoing issues in real-time and pay continuous attention to technical excellence. You can make corrections efficiently without wasting resources. So, the team can deliver a refined final version of the product. The agile method is broken down into iterative steps, which ensures flexibility, testing, and change throughout the lifecycle of a project. Because of this, you can serve the client better.
Final Tips for Project Management
Project management is the perfect field for someone who enjoys a challenge, multitasking, and taking charge. It’s an exciting, dynamic role that will have you partnering with a wide variety of departments on any given day. If you’re interested in the field, it’s best to weigh your education options and choose the best one for you. For more information on our Project Management Bootcamp, you can speak with a member of our team.