Studies & Degrees in Project Management
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Project Management (PM) evolved from the need to streamline the methodologies, which are generally accepted to be applicable in projects across different industries. The objective of every PM assignment is clear – to deliver all agreed project requirements on time, within budget, and with acceptable quality. This can be done by applying the established best PM practices and using the appropriate skills, tools, and techniques.
To some, it is still not clear as to how PM differs from what we know as conventional operations management. To give us some backgrounder, organizations perform two general types of work – projects and operations. These two coincide in most aspects, such as (1) participation of people to do the work, (2) being constrained by limited means or resources, and (3) being planned, executed, monitored, and controlled. The primary aspect that differentiates one from the other is the fact that projects are temporary, while operations are ongoing. The objectives of these two work types are contradicting: project management is geared at attaining predetermined objectives then terminate, while operations management is towards continuing the business.
Just like Legal, Finance, and Human Resources, PM is a profession that every organization needs – because every organization runs a certain project. It is now becoming one of the pillars of corporate setup. In fact, more and more organizations form Project Management Office (PMO) to centralize the PM activities within the organization. Internet search for PM jobs would yield thousands of results - a clear indication of the large demand, especially in conglomerates and multinational organizations. No wonder more and more people, even those who have been in the line of management for years, enroll in PM courses and certification programs!
So, what does it take to be an effective project manager? You need not be a software engineer to be a project manager in an Information Technology (IT) project. A project manager need not be an expert in the industry he is in, but it is a must to understand the business process. PM is a melting pot of skills, and this makes PM all the more challenging and exciting at the same time. If a software engineer needs to know how to write a code of a program to finish his job, a project manager needs to know a little of lots of things to cover all aspects and objectives of a project. These things primarily include (1) scope management, (2) time management, (3) cost/budget management, (4) quality management, (5) personnel management, (6) communications management, (7) risk management, (8) procurement management, (9) conflict management, and (10) integration management. One of the most common challenges in PM is the presence of conflicts among these factors. It is a must for a project manager to have a good sense of balance to be able to keep all these factors in sync for the good of the project. Equally important, a PM should have a strong sense of leadership, great deal of interpersonal skills, and enthusiasm for success.
PM is certainly not a dull type of job nor is it easy. Being a project manager comes with enticing perks, but it also comes with huge responsibility. The pay is competitive, but the competition is stiff. Getting the necessary PM education and training can give someone a good start to be head and shoulders above others in this challenging field.