Catch the Next Generation Project Managers Young

03 November, 2014

Since its inception, Velopi has been working with practicing Project Managers in order to help them achieve Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. Helping our students in their studies of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) has been very satisfying for us, particularly when we learn that they have passed the PMP® exam at the end of the day. Over the years, we have evolved our Blended Learning Solution which has proved highly effective in providing the support needed to obtain the PMP® certificate in project management.

However, a question that has to be asked is how did our students get to be Project Managers in the first place? Borrowing from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, is it a case that some are born Project Managers, some achieve Project Manager status and some have project management thrust upon them?

On the surface, that sounds highly plausible. Throughout our lives, even if we never become aware that there is a profession called project management, we have to manage projects. A great example is a wedding. The happy couple have to decide how big and elaborate the wedding should be (Project Scope Management); set a date for the wedding (Project Time Management); determine how much they (or the bride’s people) can afford to spend on it (Project Cost Management); enlist bridesmaids / groomsmen (Project Human Resource Management); send out invitations (Project Communications Management); agonize over what to do if the weather is bad (Project Risk Management); hire a band, buy outfits, select a hotel venue (Project Procurement and Quality Management) and, finally, ensure that Auntie Maggie stays away from the port and cousins Mike and Johnny are sat at the furthest corners of the room (Project Stakeholder Management). Within these tasks, the Project Managers have to work within the familiar triple constraints. Lack of money can mean the planned massive wedding ends up being a modest affair in a country pub. High demand could mean that the earliest wedding date is years into the future and the politically expedient step of signing up all first cousins for bridesmaid duties, could necessitate the purchase of poor quality dresses for them.

For anyone entering a project focused profession, such as civil engineering, the management of large construction projects becomes part of their training and expectation. To be a successful civil engineer, or architect, means also being a successful Project Manager. You will often find project management modules in the under-graduate curricula of these career choices.

However, Velopi’s main catchment area is made up of those who have project management thrust upon them. These are people who are happily working in project teams when suddenly there is an opening for a Project Manager and they are the most senior or the one currently between projects.

In this situation, the newly crowned Project Manager has to draw on experience to tackle the job. Often, people who have come up through the ranks are extremely task-focused and end up trying to do too much hands-on, technical work. The trouble is: technical work tends to require a lot of concentration and a narrow, focused perspective, which project management is all about taking a holistic view and looking around, constantly assessing the project’s environment.

After a few years floundering around like this, such Project Managers welcome the structure of the PMP® training. Interestingly, experienced Project Managers are surprised to learn that they know so much. Over time and through osmosis, it is amazing how many project management practices you will pick up. It is not so much doing the PMP® exam as studying the PMBOK® Guide that convinces you finally that you are a proper Project Manager – a Project Management Professional (PMP)®.

But we would like to spare our customers the trauma of building up their project management experience by their wits alone. It is important for new graduates, or indeed anyone who finds themselves in a niche where projects are used to organize the work, to understand project management. Even if you never become a Project Manager yourself, knowing the concerns of Project Managers will help you to become a more effective team member. Now you can align your progress reports with their concerns, help to identify risks and understand why work is being organized in a particular way.

To this end, Velopi provides two entry-level project management courses – our one-day Introduction to Project Management and our two-day Project Management Essentials programmes. No experience or prior knowledge is assumed for these course offerings, so please visit our training page or contact us directly to enter the world of project management. Velopi is a Registered Education Provider for the Project Management Institute and an Approved Training Provider for Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) so you will be in good hands.

By Velopi Seamus Collins

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