Understanding the Value of Project Management Skills

Developing project manager skills can have huge benefits for both your employer and your professional career. Take a look at why these skills are so valuable.

Project managers at their best are like CEOs of smaller corporations in and of themselves: they organized and structure individual projects according to the company’s vision, bringing them in under budget and on time (at least in theory).

Because of that, project manager skills have become absolutely vital to the modern workplace; yet despite their importance, not all companies employ certified project managers.

In fact, only a little over half — 56% — of all project managers have certifications. This despite the fact that two-thirds of all projects are not completed on time or under budget.

Getting proper project manager certification, therefore, demonstrates to potential employees that you’re more qualified than half the industry the minute you set foot in their door.

The Project Manager Skills That Get You Hired

Here are several ways in which having project manager certification can demonstrate your value to potential employees — not just as a title, but as a skill set that works for almost any type of business.

Leadership

Project management is about breaking free from the normal hierarchy of business, along with all the bureaucracy that entails and selecting a small group of hard-working professional elites to make a very specific vision come into being.

As the team leader, you’ll be responsible for overseeing the entire project… and enough success in that area will mark you as a candidate for climbing the corporate ladder. Management is always on the lookout for new talent.

Communication.

Communicating effectively is one of the major selling points of a project manager: the ability to deliver very specific tasks to those with the correct skill set.

Projects almost always fall apart when the left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, as they say. Being able to effectively communicate between several different internal departments of a business not only demonstrates that you have the ability to make things happen, but that you are professional, articulate, and detail-oriented enough to work with just about anyone.

Planning.

This is one area where too many companies assume the right software will do most of the work. But as organized as a business can be, it still needs a team leader, one who understand the realities of day-to-day business.

The great World War II General and former President Dwight Eisenhower once said that “Plans are everything before the battle, but useless once the battle is joined,” meaning that a good general must learn to adapt on the fly to current conditions and adjust his original goals and practices when necessary.

Like so many other rules of war, it applies especially well to business. Which is why being able to compartmentalize duties, integrate different departments into the whole, and make adjustments when necessary is one of the essential project manager skills.

Stakeholder Management.

At some point in the process, it becomes necessary to successfully identify all the parties who will be affected by your project — not just individuals but companies.

Being able to prioritize between entities that wield a lot of power and influence and who have a high interest in the outcome of your project, as opposed to those who have less power and interest, is crucial to understanding what the project is and what its ultimate effects are.

Someone with good project manager skills takes on a tremendous amount of responsibility within the company relative to his standing, and it’s exactly that kind of skill that leads to future promotion within the company.

Knowing what’s important and what isn’t — as well as who’s important and who isn’t — can give you a real leg up on new competition. And it’s something recruiters look for.

Team Building.

Knowing the capabilities of your fellow employees and their individual departments is just as important as knowing who’s affected by your project. Identifying potential weak spots and playing to your strengths, as they say, is important to the success of your project.

You’ll be looking to not only assign the most talented people you can find but those with the time, resources, and drive to make it all happen. Being able to spot talent is incredibly valuable to a future employer because it shows that he can delegate that heavy responsibility to you while he takes care of his other business.

And speaking of which…

Delegation.

As a mini-CEO of sorts, you’ll be doing exactly what the CEO does in his company; that is, hire not just talented but dependable people, those capable of making decisions on their own, and then — and this is the important part –leaving them alone.

Micromanaging a project is just as bad as micromanaging a corporation; it eats up valuable time, resources, and money at the very top, and often leads to long periods of stasis while employees wait for some other employee or department to weigh in on a problem.

Demonstrating that you can delegate authority is probably the number one attribute that classifies you as potential management material.

Motivation and Vision.

Employers like to feel that you’re not just punching the clock when you’re at work. They’re looking for people who share the company’s vision and can articulate it to others while also getting foot soldiers pumped up enough to realize that vision.

As a microcosm of the large corporation, your duties as project manager will include communicating that vision, targeted to one specific need and making everyone on your team feel like they are sufficiently qualified, important, and empowered to make it happen.

Time Management.

If you’ve read certain “cubicle cartoons” about sloppy workplaces, you know that far too much time is spent with project managers holding meetings — meetings which last forever, don’t accomplish enough to justify that time, and in the worst-case scenario, confuse all the individual departments involved.

it’s the bloat of bureaucracy that kills so many projects, and enough of them will successfully tank a business as well.

Your “C-Suite” of execs needs to feel that there’s a point to all this, especially since it’s their money that’s paying the bills. Successful time management skills will prove to a potential employer that you can deliver concrete results and not just hype.

Cost Management.

It’s hard to fathom, but it’s true — 1/10 of the funds¬†allocated to individual projects in the United States business community are utterly wasted. And that’s the average, taking to into account businesses that perform well and those that don’t. companies tend to not assign projects

Companies tend to not assign projects to project managers who waste their money, so cost management is among the most important project manager skills you can acquire with your certification. It shows that you’re not going to help put the company in the red and that you can be trusted with the most valuable asset of any company (besides its employees).

Risk Management.

Here’s another stat to chew on: 3/4 of all business professionals in the IT area take it for granted that their software project won’t be a success. At least not the first time out.

Being prepared for failure, therefore, is every bit as important as planning for success, and it’s one of the project manager skills companies prize most highly.

The only thing you have to fear is fear itself, as another famous President once said; knowing where and when to cut your losses is an essential part of being a project manager, and it’s something companies look for. They need to know that the inevitable bleeding can be stopped sooner rather than later.

Recovery.

As a certified project manager, one of your main duties will be to fix other people’s mistakes — to resurrect projects that are dead in the water, or to take over failures and reboot them into successes.

You’ll be dealing with the demoralized and underfunded refugees of a bad idea, and it’s where all the other aspects of project management will come into play: you’ll not only need to redesign everything from the bottom up but inspire your new team to succeed where they haven’t before.

Employees love fixers. And the quicker you can turn things around, the quicker they can start assigning you more responsibility. it’s a quick way up the ladder of success.

Project Manager Skills Represent Everything Companies Value

A good certified project manager knows how to handle time, money, employees and expectations, not to mention potential failure. He or she operates simultaneously on every level of productivity, articulating a vision, communicating it to others, and delivering quality work on time and under budget that not only moves the company forward but helps expand it outward.

A good project manager produces not only results but innovation through his methods — and it’s exactly that sort of productivity that means the most to any business.

Becoming a certified project manager proves that you understand that connection and that you can be trusted with the day to day aspects of a functioning company.

That 56% number is bound to grow in the next few years, perhaps exponentially, so it’s to your advantage to get started right now in becoming certified and showing the future that you’re ready for it.

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