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In this article I’ll talk about the best bits about managing projects! I’ve been doing the job for some time, and it never fails to amaze me that I still love it, after all this time.
Let’s dig into the things that I think are so brilliant about this job.
#1. The Variety
Today, IT, tomorrow you’ll be talking to Marketing. Every day is different! Every project is different. If you want to move between projects and disciplines within your business it’s relatively easy.
The job has so much variety, both in terms of people, scope of projects and the kind of tasks project managers do.
There are so many different project management roles, so you can find an area that you love. And there is often clear career progression so you can see the next step to getting promoted.
#2. Leading a team
Teamwork makes the day more interesting. Plus, leadership is a fantastic privilege. You get to inspire and motivate people.
You can encourage people to do their best work, remove roadblocks and really make a difference to the lives of your colleagues.
#3. Getting To Try New Things Before Everyone Else
This is quite a selfish reason, but one of the best parts about managing projects is you get to see what’s coming before anyone else, and test it out. This is particularly the case for new technology.
It’s a great opportunity to get your hands on the latest apps, tools, systems and more before your colleagues in the wider organization get to use them!
#4. Problem solving
It’s satisfying to put things right. The process of problem solving is enjoyable too: the research, analysis, synthesis and then the power of being able to make an awesome recommendation.
Plus, it’s a chance to be creative as a team.
#5. Introducing New Things
Delivering change is fun! Introducing new things into the business is a privilege.
It’s also hard work, but when you get it right, it’s amazing. People appreciate what you’ve done and how you’ve improved the way they work and the way the business operates.
That’s a special feeling — it makes all the hard work of project planning, execution and delivery worth while when you have a successful go live.
There’s so much communicating required in a project management role. I really enjoy this part of the job because it gets me out meeting people. Plus it’s important if you want to understand where your stakeholders are coming from.
Communication goes both ways. It’s so important to listen to your colleagues, your team, your stakeholders, your sponsor and anyone else — because through listening we come to understand better how to communicate the change that is happening.
Think of ways where you can build feedback loops into the way you communicate so there are plenty of ways for people to get in touch with you.
In other words, make it easy to communicate as a team!
#7. Delivering Value
With project work it’s easy to see how your contribution makes a difference. You should be able to draw a direct line between the work of your team on the project, and the strategic objectives for your organization.
When you can make that connection, it’s easier to motivate your team.
#8. Transferable Skills
Project management is a fantastic skill to have because it’s in demand but also because it helps you in other areas of life too.
Having transferable skills like planning, team leadership and communication help future-proof your career and make you more marketable.
#9. The Other People
Project management gives you access to lots of different areas of the business.
This is one of my top reasons for loving the job: instead of only ever seeing the workings inside one department, project work is multidisciplinary and cross-functional.
There’s a huge career benefit for this — you get to see how the rest of the company works, so it makes you more valuable to the business and perhaps you’ll find another area where you want to build your future.
Project work is hard. Particularly at the beginning and the end. These are the busy times, when you may not feel that you have the flexibility to be… flexible.
But project work is inherently flexible. You can do many of the tasks required from home or the office. You can work on site. There’s a lot of knowledge work involved which you can do early mornings or late nights, whatever suits you best.
That only works if you have the support of your management team. If you can get that, managing projects is a good option as a career that allows you to balance work and family.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s often busy, incredibly stressful and long hours. But I’d rather do that from home in my jeans and a jumper than with a long commute and wearing a suit every day!
Not all project management jobs will give you this flexibility, but if you can find one, you’ll flourish.
Check the job description of the project role you’re going for (or that you have), or take a look at your contract. You might be surprised to learn you already have more flexibility than you think.