Using Your Project Management Skills – No Matter What the Industry
Are you looking to take the lead on a project for the company you currently work for? Or are you hoping to secure a new position elsewhere? Either way, you might want to consider honing your project management skills with the help of a software program. Companies such as Seattle-based LiquidPlanner offer in-depth project management software programs that have all the functions required to effectively manage projects, no matter what the industry.
What is Involved in Project Management?
For starters, to be a good project manager you need to be well organized and able to effectively lead a team to get the job done. But know that the principles of project management are the same, no matter what industry you might be working in.
Project management is typically broken down into five phases. Your own skills as a project manager will improve once you have mastered each of these. These five stages are:
- Concept and Initiation
- Definition and Planning
- Monitoring and Control
Project Concept and Initiation
Concept and initiation is the beginning of the project, the stage where the schedule is mapped out. It is during this phase that both research and the feasibility study takes place. Once all of the research and planning has been completed, stakeholders and/or senior management can then give the project the green light (if they believe it is worthwhile proceeding, obviously).
After concept and initiation comes planning. This is a hugely important stage as it maps out the route the project will follow. The skills of a project manager will be tested at this stage. Those managers with experience usually set their goals out according to the SMART or CLEAR methods.
The SMART goals method follows this process:
- S – Specific. The project manager and his/her team will use a series of questions to set specific goals.
- M – Measurable. Criteria will be created to enable the team to measure how successful their specific goals are.
- A – Attainable. Goals are set according to importance. The team must also identify what is required to achieve these goals.
- R– Realistic. Project managers and their teams must be realistic about which goals they can achieve.
- T– Time bound. Completing each task in a timely manner.
The CLEAR method follows this process:
- C – Collaborative. Collaboration and communication are encouraged to ensure all team members work well together.
- L – Limited. Goals should be limited in terms of time and scope to make them more manageable.
- E – Emotional. Goals should evoke passion within your team, meaning they will want to achieve them.
- A – Appreciable. Larger goals are broken into smaller ones that will be easier to achieve in a quicker timeframe.
- R – Refinable. Goals need to be adaptable or refinable to take into account changes or new situations.
Executing the project should include assigning of tasks to individual employees and the commencement of the actual work. Resources are also allocated at this stage and tracking systems will be set up.
Good project management skills are necessary at this point of the process as it is important that goals are being met and that the project is staying within budget. A software program is considered useful when it comes to project control and monitoring.
Once the project has been completed, closure can take place. The project manager may hold a meeting or event to recognize those who have worked well. The PM will also produce a final report for senior management and stakeholders.
In closing, the above are the principles of project management; they apply in every industry. As long as you develop your project management skills according to these principles, you will have the ability to gain employment in any industry.