The thing about Project Management is that it’s not as simple as it sounds. Unfortunately, in the industry, there is a common misconception that you can turn up to a job, look at the spec, put a plan in place and get on with it.
Not really the case.
I have been a Project Manager for a long time and have years of experience. It takes skill and I’m not saying that most other Project Managers don’t have the skill, but I do witness regularly, common mistakes that result in disaster.
It’s a stressful job, there’s no doubt about it. You have a huge responsibility and it takes a certain type of personality.
Unfortunately, that personality tends to be one of routine and structure. Most Project Managers have the skill to put a great plan in place, but a lot don’t have it in them to be flexible.
I have seen it many times. I’ve seen an experienced Project Manager go in to a job, skilled, experienced and professional and end up in a terrible mental state from stress and exhaustion.
Because it didn’t quite go to plan. Along the way, things changed, and they didn’t have the capability to change with it.
The first mistake they made was that they didn’t really listen to what the company wanted. I mean really listen. There may be a plan in place, but the company may want to add their personality. They want to have input and unless you stay open minded and listen carefully, you will inevitably fail.
It’s about building strong relationships. A Project Manager should never go in to a job thinking this is the end result. If you build that relationship, the chances are, that company will rely on you for many other projects in the future. If you don’t and you fold under the pressure, they will never call you again.
You must keep an open mind and understand that things change. What once seemed like a great plan may fall to pieces along the way and you must be able to pick them up and change what needs to be changed.
Ironically, this is the part of the job I love. I love building a rapport with a client and really understanding what they need. I love being able to be flexible and changing the job as and when it needs it. Most importantly, I love working with a team who understands my values and can work to my way of doing things.
When you’re looking for a Project Manager, make sure you ask the right questions. Make sure you take on someone who can sing to your tune and make things happen the way you want them to. Not the way they think it should.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like any advice.