A Career in Project Management

Are you familiar with the word launch? Can you think of any launch occasion you’ve attended or heard of? Ok let’s cite some examples of some launches; the launch of a space ship, the launch of a factory or industry, the launch of a bridge, the launch of an high way, the launch of a school etc.

Spaceship launch Photo credit: Wallpaper up

These things launched was a project, because a project is anything (work) that is planned for the purpose of execution. In our world, there is always a new idea to be worked on in the bid to make the world a better place. Anytime such need arises we can term it a project. Even in our homes and community there is always a project going on. Having an ongoing project is a sign of development. The government of a nation also have a budget created for the purpose of  executing a project. These projects need a person to plan, manage it and to ensure that the end result (The big picture) of the project is established. This is called Project Management. A person who holds project management position is referred to as the Project Manager

Project management positions are vital for keeping projects on track and within budget. We need funds (Money) to execute any project. People who hold project management jobs supervise all aspects of a project, coordinating the workforce to ensure work flows smoothly from start to finish. They are in charge of schedules and manage deadlines and budgets, too.

A project is an endeavor, with a specific goal accomplished with specific steps or stages. This endeavor is usually one with several stages and steps to facilitate and make it an accomplishment

Project managers are assertive and confident, have traits essential to leading (Leadership), coordinating and directing work teams. Flexibility and adaptability when it comes to change are vital project manager traits, as well. This is because, a project manager who is managing a construction project , might scheduled his project to be in the dry season or summer. How would such a manager handle a situation where there is a great out pour of rain? unexpected isn’t it? Similar situations like this can occur in a project, a project manager needs to be flexible and adaptable.

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Simply put, project management is all about setting and  achieving reasonable and attainable goals. It is the process of planning, organizing, and overseeing how and when these goals are met. Unlike business managers who oversee a specific functional business area, project managers orchestrate all aspects of time-limited, discrete projects.

For instance, a project manager who’s overseeing the development of a new product or service may manage folks from departments as disparate as marketing, IT, and human resources.

Everyone practices project management to some degree: Farmers plan what, when, and how they’re going to plant; how they’re going to take care of their crops as they grow; and how and when they’re going to harvest those crops. Parents plan what they’re going to prepare for their children for dinner. (If they have strong project management skills, of course, they delegate things like setting and clearing the table to the kids.) And so on.

Image Credit: Varenya Softech

In business, project management is an art, a skill, and a demanding full-time job. Project managers (PMs) are key employees in such industries as construction, engineering, architecture, manufacturing, and real estate development, but many opportunities for PMs exist outside these areas. In high tech, biotech, or pharmaceuticals, for example, project managers are responsible for launching new products, developing new technologies.

Large corporations such as insurance companies and banks may also hire PMs to manage the implementation of new standards or practices in their many branch offices. Internet companies often look for project managers to oversee site launches or the development of new applications.

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Whether a project involves releasing a product, building out a new office site, or launching a rocket, PMs make sure everything comes together in a timely, cost-effective manner-and take the heat if it doesn’t. Their high-profile, high-risk work demands multitasking ability, analytical thinking, and excellent communication skills.

The project manager oversees the planning, implementing, quality control, and status reporting on a given project. He or she manages the project team, which typically consists of people from all the areas of the PM’s organization. The project manager is responsible for precisely defining the scope of the project; preparing the project schedule, and updating that schedule as it evolves; proposing the project budget, and then managing the project so that it doesn’t cause cost overruns; making sure the project team has the supplies and human resources necessary to get the project done on time and on budget; identifying and minimizing potential risks to the project timeline and budget; making sure that all project team members understand what their responsibilities are; communicating the project’s progression to management; and ensuring the quality of the team’s work and any supplies or materials used by the team.

In most cases, a project is planned down to the daily or even hourly level, and a formal schedule is developed using the Critical Path Method (CPM), a precedence-based technique that determines the sequence in which things must happen. Milestones punctuate most project schedules, indicating the required completion of various steps.

All project managers are familiar with at least one CPM scheduling software application, such as Microsoft Project, Primavera, Scitor Project Scheduler, AEC FastTrack, CA-SuperProject, or Kidasa Milestones. Many scheduling applications are tailored to specific industries or project types, but all use CPM precedence methodology. There is also a recent trend towards using the power of the Internet as a project management tool. A few Web-based solutions that are quickly gaining momentum include Autotask, eProject, and Basecamp.

Image Credit: Project Accelerator

Most scheduling programs also help allocate resources, another big part of a project manager’s job. If you are running a software development project, for example, you have to know how many engineers will be available and how many hours they’ll need to work. Likewise, if you’re running a construction project involving cranes and excavators that must be leased on an hourly basis, you’ll need to know when to have those machines on site to get the most work done for the least money. Balancing limited labor, materials, and other resources is a difficult task that earns a good project manager top dollar.
Many project managers cite stress as the main downside to their jobs. PMs are responsible for their projects’ successes or failures, which determine both their income and their status within a company and industry. In construction, if a project isn’t brought in on time, the builder has to pay damages for each day’s delay, and the project manager will lose a bonus-and possibly even his or her job.

For some, the black-and-white nature of project management work makes for a refreshing challenge. Delivering a project “on time and under budget” can provide great emotional rewards. The job offers the opportunity to lead, and new projects keep the work fresh. If you have an analytical mind, good people skills, and the willingness to rise or fall on the demonstrated success of your work, project management may be for you.

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Glossary of terms:

Budget: A plan for using money

Funds: A sum of money

Execution: To carry out a particular task fully

Assertive: This is a quality possessed by a person that is confident, brave and not frightened

Flexibility: This is an ability to adapt to new situations

Adaptability:  This is an ability to change or be changed in order to fit or work better in some situation or for some purpose

Development:  This is the process by which something grows and become more mature

Factory: This is a building or group of buildings where goods are manufactured (Produced) or assembled  (gathered together)chiefly by machine.

Industry: Activities concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories

Confident: Having confidence in one self (The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.)

Disparate: This means when something is totally different in kind and has no relationship. It is not comparable.

Supervise: Observe and direct the execution of (a task or activity).

Schedule: a plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times.

Deadlines: the latest time or date by which something should be completed.

Coordinating:  This means to bring the different elements of (a complex activity or organization) into a harmonious or efficient relationship.

Overseeing:  This means to  supervise (a person or their work), especially in an official capacity.

Adaptability: This is the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions

Orchestrate:  This means to plan or coordinate the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect

Discrete:  this means when something is individually separate

Implementation:  This means to Implement (to put a decision, plan, agreement, etc.) into effect

Cost-Effective:  This means producing good results without costing a lot of money

Multitasking: This means when a person deal with more than one task at the same time.

Analytical thinking: This is a form of visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively

Cost Overruns: This is also known as a cost increase, it is an  unexpected costs incurred in excess of budgeted amounts due to an underestimation of the actual cost during budgeting.

Project Progression: This is a report produced by the project manager given to the management to track the progress of a project

Cranes: This a large, tall machine used for moving heavy objects

Excavators: This is a  large machine for digging and moving earth

 

 

 



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