If you work in a corporate role, then you’ve most likely heard of project management in some capacity, but more and more industries are adopting project management approaches, so even if you’re early in your career or working in the service industry, you might be wondering what project management is and why it’s so important.
Project Management encompasses a huge range of skills and developing these can truly change your life for the better, but we understand that it’s not always easy to get started. That’s why we’ve developed the ultimate guide to developing your project management skills, and what this can do for you – read on to find out more!
Project management can look very different depending on the type of organization you work within, and the approach that your management team prefers to take, but essentially it can be defined as the balancing of a project’s time, scope, and budget to lead the work of a team to deliver on target. First emerging in the early 1960s, project management has evolved into a number of different branches over the years, and some of the ones that you might be most familiar with include:
One of the first project management styles, the waterfall methodology is a clearly structured system through which tasks are planned and executed chronologically, with the commencement of one task being dependent on the completion of another. Typically, the waterfall method is seen in construction projects, as the foundations of a building always need to be laid before further work can begin.
In some industries, the needs and demands of a project are constantly changing, and so the Agile project management system evolved as a response to team leaders who needed more flexibility in the way they work. Rather than plan tasks chronologically, Agile project managers can break one larger goal into smaller chunks of work that can be developed at the same time, reducing the overall delivery time and financial costs. For brands that require continuous delivery to customers, such as software houses that provide app updates over time, Agile is one of the most reliable and enduring methodologies out there.
The Projects In Controlled Environments approach, more commonly known as PRINCE2, prioritizes organization and structure throughout the entirety of a project’s lifecycle, with emphasis being placed on justification and solid financing during the initial stages. While this approach is sometimes seen as more rigid in structure than some Agile approaches, it still
offers flexibility for project managers to make changes as demand arises.
Often described as a sub-section of the Agile methodology, Scrum involves splitting a project down into short cycles, known as ‘sprints.’ The management of these sprints is completed by a ‘scrum master’ who will hold daily briefings to discuss any barriers to project completion.
Another sub-section of Agile project management is the Kanban methodology, which instead of using sprints, breaks projects down by task using a visual Kanban board. These boards allow team members and managers to see how each task fits together, which tasks are on track, and which might be falling behind, making it a fantastic tool for larger projects that need to stick to a clear structure.
The skills that project managers used are highly transferable, and can serve you well in just about any area of your life. From time management and deadline tracking to effective communication with others, project managers are often viewed as highly desirable candidates for roles in most organizations. That’s why, even if you aren’t a project manager in the traditional sense, the skills and abilities needed to perform highly in this area will serve you well no matter your role or responsibilities.
Project management qualifications and skills are highly sought-after for a reason – they show that an individual is capable of managing teams and delivering on complex pieces of work. If you’re thinking of becoming a project manager or considering pursuing a project management qualification, then there’s never been a better time to take the leap. Some of the most significant advantages of developing project management skills include:
By understanding what a qualification can bring, you’ll be more energized to complete a course and see where this exciting skillset can take you.
The best thing about project management is that anyone can develop the necessary skills and capabilities to become a brilliant project manager, even with no experience. There’s a huge range of different courses, training programs, and skills sessions out there, and the best way to learn is to find an approach that works for you. For example, Washington University in St Louis offer a range of virtual courses in agile project management that are suitable for individuals with any level of
experience. Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll be able to take advantage of everything that the project management industry has to teach you, and before you know it, you’ll have developed skills for life.
Project management is a career full of development opportunities, but even if you’re just looking to supplement your existing skillset with some further learning, a project management qualification might be the best option for you to grow. From communication and people skills to the in-depth ability you’ll develop to manage tasks and deliver to tight deadlines, the career prospects with one of these qualifications are vast.
Developing an agile mindset and learning to be flexible around how you deliver work is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life, so there has truly never been a better time to pick up a new qualification and expand your horizons.