Being a Project Manager is not an easy task. Having the role that comes with the need of having many skills, both soft and technical makes it a little more complicated especially if you already do not have the required technical skills. In this article, I will show you how I started my project management gigs, and several useful tips and tools to streamline your personal skills.
Now, I love planning! I can do it from anywhere! I meet the most amazing people, I put my brain to work, collaborate, and get creative, which is actually my forte! I learn new things every day; and I often find my heart racing out of excitement when I have to put together a project. Weird right?
I always loved birthdays, I always saved my pocket-money to celebrate my birthday in class for my friends, it was that parrrteyyy…lol. it always gave me a thrill, I’m guessing that’s why my classmates always wanted me to put theirs together as well. The first access I can remember was planning birthdays for friends in secondary school, from about the age of 13, and then I was also always selected in class whenever we had to plan anything, interclass matches, end of the year class quiz, etc, I always found myself championing the process eventually and setting up the “meetings” and details for all the class events. And I loved it. At that point, I had no idea what basic project management was.
Who is a project manager? A Project Manager is responsible for all aspects of a project, from the initial specification, development, release planning, the actual releases, and finally, collecting the user experience and feedback. A project manager eats, sleep, dreams of the project. A project can be anything, house repairs, creating a startup, planning an event, all these are projects but with slightly different dynamics of execution.
I got into the University and also got involved in a lot of class planning, and little events for the class and friends, my project management skill and resume exposed me to people and places that made it easy for me to get the position of BlackBerry Brand Ambassador when the search started on campus (ill discuss this and others in future posts). And then went further to organize bigger events with over 3000 participants like The Nigerian Teen Choice Awards and an event with over 1000 people in attendance like NaijaHacks.
I couldn’t do all of this without these listed points.
1. PRACTICE: Practice, practice, practice… with small events, home parties, mini birthdays, street events. Get involved. For every time you do, you streamline your skills to be better and sharper at it
2. NETWORK: My best and easiest jobs came to life after I made calls to my network, I had friends and family I could call for any questions, research and inquiries, and following that people are wealth, dive into your pool of wealth.
3. PLANNING: We all know nothing goes exactly according to plan. Even if you do everything right, it’s not very often that a project comes in completely on time and within budget. If you can visualize and foresee complications while having plans in place to address them, you will cover your team if the stars don’t align. If you can create just enough buffer to protect without going overboard, you’ve found the sweet spot of project management preparedness.
4. TEAMWORK: The better the team, the more streamlined the ideas go, and the easier it is for a project to run. Pick a team that is as driven as you are, pay when you should. The most sluggish team you can work with is a team that isn’t paid or remunerated.
5. RISK MANAGEMENT: Risk is inevitable and unavoidable in any endeavor. It’s your job to be able to secure the parachute to your project before launching it from the plane. A risk is only a potential problem. With your swift intervention, it never needs to become anything more.
To be a project manager, You have to be a natural coach and born leader. People who love what they do, also love to show others what they love. If you enjoy helping your colleagues succeed, and are invested in their advancement, you probably see what you do as your calling. As the leader of your project, it is your job to inspire your team to navigate the turbulent waters that sometimes occur in any project. If you naturally invigorate people to do better and can bring positivity to any interaction, you are in the right field.
If you find that most of these characteristics describe you, then congratulations! You have found your career calling as a project manager!