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Is Project Management for Me?

Project Management

Over the next decade, project management is slated to grow by more than $6 trillion globally. Clearly, this is a lucrative field with job stability, but how do you know if you have the personality and attributes to maximize this opportunity?

“The dynamic business environment requires that most improvement and innovation efforts utilize a project management approach,” said Jama L. Bradley, PhD, Dissertation Chair, at Northcentral University. “Project management has been, and is projected to be, a growing field requiring individuals with leadership, technical, and people skills.”

Being a good Project Manager isn’t just about technical and business skills. The most successful PMs also bring people skills to the table while delivering projects on deadline and budget.

If you’re considering pursuing a master’s, PhD or doctorate degree in Project Management, assess how your skills and personality line up with the Top 10 traits of great project managers:

  1. Ability to Organize and Prioritize: Because there are so many moving parts of a project, the manager has to pay attention to both the big picture and the details, as well as know how to focus the team’s time and attention.
  2. Strong Intuition: A good manager has a sixth-sense in her ability to anticipate challenges and pitfalls ahead of time and avoid them or work them into the project timeline.
  3. Ability to lead: This one seems obvious, but a strong manager not only has to lead direct reports, but often people over whom he has no direct connection. The leader also has to get buy in from many different types of people and must know how to tailor a message to different groups.
  4. Good Communicators: With so many different groups and people involved in a project, the PM has to know what, when and how to communicate to all the stakeholders. Having high emotional intelligence is a big plus.
  5. Pragmatic: Most project managers are ruled by analytics. A good PM knows that at some point you have to stop analyzing, make a choice and move forward.
  6. Empathetic: Project managers can only succeed if the team succeeds. A strong PM knows how to motivate the team by understanding the different needs and goals of each type of stakeholder.
  7. Value input: Strong project managers ask good questions and take others’ opinions and ideas into consideration.
  8. Nimble: Project managers must react to sudden change, interruptions and issues along the way. Having a calm, go-with-the-flow demeanor is important.
  9. People Person: If you’re the techie who likes to hunker down in his cube with headphones on, project management is probably not for you. The job requires dealing with many types of people. While you don’t have to be an uber extrovert, you do need to enjoy interacting with others during your day.
  10. Strong Networking: Good PMs have a strong internal and external network they can call on as things come up in the project lifecycle.