An introduction to project management

This article is designed to provide you with background information to a career in Project Management, enabling you to review your options and understand if this is your future career choice.

What is Project Management?

The Association for Project Management state that “project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget”. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary—and more ambitious—challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives.

The objective of a project is to deliver specific benefits for the project sponsor and also to shape or reform the client's brief in order to feasibly be able to address the client's objectives. Once the client's objectives are clearly established they should influence all decisions made by other people involved in the project – for example project managers, designers, contractors and sub-contractors. 

A project is a temporary endeavour designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end always time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.’

In essence, it is a necessary discipline for organisations undergoing large scale change and can be a very rewarding career for those looking to achieve defined results.

What does a Project Manager do?

A project manager is a vital part of the scoping, development and implementation of the project, there to lead a project through to successful completion. They are pivotal to its success or failure and must be able to define the clear, smaller tasks on a day-to-day basis while developing the ‘big idea’. The role involves technical application, people management skills, time management and good business awareness. Part of the successful delivery includes regular, defined objectives and regular review periods to ensure the project remains on track. The role can vary depending on industry, project and client, but generally, Project Managers are responsible for: 

  • Scoping the project and its wider implications on the immediate business and the wider market factors 
  • Developing a business case to define the business rationale to support the expenditure in budget and resource 
  • Planning to include SMART project objectives and clear delivery outcomes 
  • Execution & regular review periods 
  • Time management to keep the project on track 
  • People management of the project delivery team 
  • Client expectations and relations to manage 
  • Risks & Issues central to its success or failure 
  • Quality of delivery 
  • Resource management
  • Monitoring the progress against plan 
  • Communicating and reporting  project delivery against the plan 
  • Finance / budget management 
  • Realisation of the project benefits

Why should I become a Project Manager?

A successful Project Manager has a personality that thrives on the leadership and problem solving skills required to successfully deliver. Let’s not pretend that it’s without risk, as ultimately, the Project Manager is accountable for the success or failure, however it is also a hugely rewarding and interesting career. 

If you are an organised person, who likes to drive forward change; relishes a challenge and can relay your passion to a team, then Project Management is for you. The rewards are immense; a successful delivery means recognition and acclaim and a personal challenge delivered satisfactorily. Why not give it a try?

Transferrable skills

As every project is different, you will pick up a variety of transferrable skills that can be applied to other areas of your life and career. Skills such as leadership, planning, organisation, communication, delegation and timekeeping which can be learned during a Project Management course are all crucial characteristics of a Project Manager who is in demand. 

Salary

Salary can depend entirely on the project, industry and experience; however, an experienced Project Manager in the UK can expect an average salary of £42,000 per year.

Project Management Methodologies

Over time, project management methodologies have been developed to make managing projects easier, effective and more manageable. There are a few out there to choose from and which one you choose depends on your mindset and the project at hand:

1.  Agile Project Management

This methodology focuses on adapting to project changes and has central values of trust, flexibility, encouragement and working collaboratively. Projects can sometimes take unexpected turns, so adapting and moving with those changes with ease could be the thing which stands between a project going well and the project facing some serious problems.

2.  Waterfall Project Management, for example, PRINCE2

The Waterfall methodology essentially handles everything in a sequence. It indicates the tasks that cannot be done until the other has been completed and what requirements are needed for each task. In this methodology, a project is usually grouped into four stages: requirements, planning and design, implementation and completion. This method is a great way to keep teams and individuals organised as the next step that needs to be achieved is easily identifiable. 

In 1996, the UK released and supported the PRINCE2 project management methodology. It’s based on dividing projects into multiple manageable and controllable stages and can be described as a mindset. The seven PRINCE2 principles cannot be tailored or changed, therefore, if a project doesn’t adhere to the principles, it is not being managed by this methodology.

How do I become a Project Manager?

Being a Project Manager is very rewarding, but it’s a well-known fact that studying full time is tricky if you are already in employment or have a busy life. At MOL Learn, our industry recognised Project Management Programme equips you with everything you need to become Association for Project Management qualified. Our Project Management Programme is provided online and in your own time, giving you the flexibility to learn when you can. 

A project management online course is the perfect route to go down if you are looking to learn the essential skills needed to become a qualified Project Manager but you are already employed or don’t have the time to attend a university. Our programme will provide you with live interactive webinars and give you exclusive access to our virtual learning environment, providing you with the tutor support, learning activities and textbook you need to complete the course and exam. We’ve developed the course with five core modules to give you the knowledge you need to become a strong Project Manager:

  • An introduction to project management
  • Leading a project
  • Initiating a project
  • Project planning
  • Project implementation

As we are a social enterprise and are committed to ensuring a smooth process to becoming a Project Manager we don’t charge VAT and we offer an interest-free payment plan, giving you the chance to concentrate on the programme and balancing it with your home life.

For more information on how we can provide you with a course that will kick-off your career as a project management call one of our programme advisors or:

Take a look at our Project Management courses

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