The Project Manager (PM) is the one who leads and ensures all works happening in the project. They not only communicate with external stakeholders but also supervise the entire team. Despite high pressure and responsibilities, this position definitely is a desire of many IT students.
If you want to know the actual works of a PM, the knowledge needed to reach this position, or just curious how a “powerful” person looks like, let’s find out with Mr Trinh Nguyen – a Project Manager of ENOUVO!
What is a “Project Manager”? What are the duties of a Project Manager?
A Project Manager is a person who manages the entire project. In other words, they are “caretakers” of the project. The responsibility of a PM is to realize customer requirements by providing management solutions, including time, progress, human resources, quality and encapsulating it in a reasonable budget. The ultimate goal of a PM’s duties is to make sure his/her team deliver the best-quality product and brings satisfaction to his/her customers.
What does a Project Manager workday look like?
The most important thing PMs need to do is planning. Initially, PMs develop a long-term plan with the customer. Then, we break down that plan with our team. Based on this plan, PMs will prepare daily tasks for the team, so that we can have an effective workday. In addition, meetings with the team are very important. The more interactions that PMs have with the team, the more we understand our teammates. It helps us promote efficiency when working on projects. Besides, communicating with customers is equally important. This will increase customer loyalty and reliability. Not only that, but we also regularly review the plan to see where our team and the project is. We can understand the plan better and be more confident. It also helps us to come up with solutions and backup plans when facing difficulties or risks.
What is major teaching to become a Project Manager?
In my opinion, a PM must have management skills and understand deeply the software development process. I don’t think there is specific major teaching you to be a PM or be a good manager in this industry. However, you can develop your inherent skills to become a PM. Whether you are a developer or are working in any related position in this software development industry, you can become PMs as long as you are eager to learn and determined.
Take an example from me. In 2018 and earlier, I had never thought that I would become a PM, or work in the management field. At that time, I dreamed of becoming a technical expert. But since 2018, I have been able to try out a few management positions. I also tried my hand at the position of PO, then PM. And I feel that I love planning and working with people, so I concentrate to grow myself to be a PM.
What skills and qualities does the Project Manager need?
The most important skill that a PM needs is planning skill. You must know how to manage the progress and timeline of the project. At one point, you need to know where your team is in the master plan so that you could be confident about your plan. Another skill that PMs also need is human resource management. That is because human resources are not always as abundant as we want. Besides, the addition of human resources may not surely solve the problem. A very common example is a mother cannot give birth to a baby within a month. Project management is similar as well.
The next skill is risk management. Actually, I think this is important not only for PM but also for other management positions. The project doesn’t always go smoothly. There are incidents and things we don’t want to happen. Therefore, risk management is a necessity when managing a project. Finally, a PM really needs the ability to communicate with people. PMs have to work with many different audiences: customers, their own team, or their boss. Everyone has a different personality, emotion, and expression. Therefore, PMs must acquire communication skills to be able to work well with them.
How long does it take to become a Project Manager?
In my opinion, there is no specific number for this. The most important thing is skills and experience. A person who wants to become a PM needs to give himself/herself experience. No matter what position you are working in if you are humble, and eager to learn, practise your skills every day and give yourself the best experience to move towards the position of PM, I am sure you will very quickly become a good PM. However, if a person who just knows the theory wants to jump right into the PM work, it is really difficult.
How is the career path of this job?
The common plan is a Developer becomes a Team Lead, then a PM. This is the journey for someone who has a team management background. When a Team Lead becomes a PM, they have enough management skills for this position. Besides, there are some Business Analysts switching to PM. Understanding and analyzing customer requirements are advantages of these people. However, those are not the only paths to become a PM. I believe that with skills I have mentioned before, such as plan management, human resource management, or risk management, no matter what position you are in, you absolutely can hone those skills to become a PM.
When doing this job, do you see anything different from what you initially thought?
People usually think PM is a very “genuine” position. And for me, I thought that PMs just needed a few skills and applied a few processes, then it will be smooth. But actually, in the process of running a project, tons of things happen. Lots of things can break your process. They may come from products, but there are also problems coming from people, which are the most difficult to control. Those are issues that I could not have imagined or calculated in advance. The importance is still humility, learning and working well with people.
Do you have any advice for those looking to pursue this position?
Honestly, PM is a very interesting job because you not only work with products but also connect with many audiences as I said. It may be difficult for you to catch up with at the beginning, or it may be quite vague because you don’t really know what the PM is supposed to do. But if you prepare for it carefully, you will gradually love it more, and the path to PM will also be brighter for you. Actually, PM is not difficult if you have a roadmap and a thorough preparation for it!
Through the sharing from Mr Trinh Nguyen, we have had a deeper insight into the duties and necessary skills of a Project Manager. Remember to follow ENOUVO and the #ITCareer series to build your own career path!