They are organized, passionate and goal-oriented who understand what projects have in common, and their strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change.
Project managers are change agents: they make project goals their own and use their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team. They enjoy the organized adrenaline of new challenges and the responsibility of driving business results.
They work well under pressure and are comfortable with change and complexity in dynamic environments. They can shift readily between the “big picture” and the small-but-crucial details, knowing when to concentrate on each.
Project managers cultivate the people skills needed to develop trust and communication among all of a project’s stakeholders: its sponsors, those who will make use of the project’s results, those who command the resources needed, and the project team members.
They have a broad and flexible toolkit of techniques, resolving complex, interdependent activities into tasks and subtasks that are documented, monitored and controlled. They adapt their approach to the context and constraints of each project, knowing that no “one size” can fit all the variety of projects. And they are always improving their own and their teams’ skills through lessons-learned reviews at project completion.
Project managers are found in every kind of organization — as employees, managers, contractors and independent consultants. With experience, they may become program managers (responsible for multiple related projects) or portfolio managers (responsible for selection, prioritization and alignment of projects and programs with an organization’s strategy).
And they are in increasing demand worldwide. For decades, as the pace of economic and technological change has quickened, organizations have been directing more and more of their energy into projects rather than routine operations.
Today, senior executives and HR managers recognize project management as a strategic competence that is indispensable to business success. They know that skilled and credentialed practitioners are among their most valuable resources.