Project management is a vital component of organizational structure, particularly for organizations undertaking large-scale projects. It is therefore necessary that individuals with requisite skills, abilities, education, and knowledge undertake such tasks (Du, Johnson & Keil, 2004). Additionally, the organization should provide the necessary tools and technology for the execution of such intricate and resource-intensive tasks. Institutions should therefore impart requisite training to prepare students for the tasks they will undertake in the real world as well as the skills, knowledge, and abilities they will need to execute projects successfully.
Project managers are experts required in almost every industry. Their tasks largely involve the planning and management of different kinds of business projects, with an emphasis on timely completion and within the specified budget (Pappas, 2005). Additionally, project managers coordinate with clients for information on what the client wants to achieve. Such coordination also involves agreement on timescales within when a project should be complete, the cost involved and the resources required for the completion of the project.
The project manager’s responsibility also includes drawing up a comprehensive plan and calendar for measures required for the achievement of each project’s stage. The calendar goes further the manager’s selection and leadership of the team responsible for each task and stage of the project (Pappas, 2005).
To carry out these tasks effectively, project managers require tools and technologies. The market has a diverse number of tools and technologies for project managers given the complexity of the whole process of project management (Du, Johnson & Keil, 2004). Among the common tools is the Program Evaluation Review Technique as well as Gantt Charts. These tools offer efficient project management and are easily available in software form, although they can also be produced manually. Technologies involved in project management include computers and access to communication technologies such as the internet. These technologies allow for project planning and execution, as well as communication of any changes within the project to responsible team members.
An overall project manager requires knowledge in a number of project management processes. These processes fall under the scope of nine knowledge areas that include management of communication, integration, quality, risk, procurement, human resource, cost, time, and scope (Pappas, 2005). These knowledge areas all encompass processes that every project manager must carry out for effective and timely completion of the project.
Even with the knowledge of these processes, individual skills and abilities are also fundamental in ensuring the project is completed successfully. These abilities and skills help in the management of the project processes and knowledge the project manager gains from educational training (Pappas, 2005). Among these skills and abilities are top-notch organizational, time management, and planning skills. The three help in the formulation of a feasible project plan and the organization of resources for the timely completion of the project. A project manager also needs the ability to logically think and come up with novel problem-solving approaches. Additionally, the manager should be able to pay attention to detail, and equally, possess good communication skills to relay these details to the project management team. IT skills also come in handy given technological advancement in most industries.
Moreover, because the project is not a one-man show, the project manager must possess good leadership skills as well as the ability to work with others (Pappas, 2005). Such skills and abilities are the lifelines of the project as it involves people working at different stages. Further, since the project is a business entity, a good comprehension of business is an asset to the project manager in addition to budget control and good negotiation skills.
Education in project management or a relevant field in the industry is a necessary qualification for a project manager. Therefore, a degree or postgraduate level in project management or a related field would be an entry requirement for a project manager (Pappas, 2005). Education in fields such as business, management, IT, accountancy, among others can also be pathways to one becoming a project manager. Undertaking specific software courses relevant to project management such as Workbench, MS Project and PRINCE2 also add to the educational qualifications for project management.
Given the many project managers in the market, it is important to choose a unique method in the selection of project managers. The nature and duration of the project are among the considerations made during the selection process of a project manager. Headhunting and referrals are among the most common methods of project managers’ selection. Headhunting offers the organization the best there is in the market from a proven record of accomplishment and qualification, since the manager is identified and profiled, specifically those who meet the organizational needs for the project. Conversely, hiring through referrals, networking and recommendation bring managers who are well known to other team members making it easy for the team to strike a rapport and begin on the project faster than it would be with completely new individuals.
Du, S., M., Johnson, R., D. & Keil, M., (2004). Project Management Courses in IS Graduate Programs: What is Being Taught? Journal of Information Systems Education, 15(2):181-187
Pappas, L., (2005). The State of Project Management Training. PM Network, 19(8):61-66