What Is Project Management?
Understanding project management means you first have to understand the meaning of "project." The Project Management Institute defines a project as a temporary endeavor that's undertaken to create a unique product, result or service. It's temporary because it's not on-going. The scope and resources are defined. There is a specific timeline for the project, with starting and ending points. A project is unique in that it is not part of an organization's day-to-day routine. It's a special set of operations designed to accomplish a stated goal. Project management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills, techniques and tools to project activities, to ensure that stated goal is met.
Why Use Project Management?
Because of the unique nature of a project, a team may be assembled that includes people who don't ordinarily work together. They may be in different departments, in different parts of a building, or they may be separated geographically by thousands of miles. Project management facilitates communications among team members.
What Is a Project Management Officer ?
Project management has always been practiced informally in organizations, but over the last 70 years, it has has emerged as a distinct profession. A project management officer (PMO) coordinates the efforts of a team in accomplishing an identified outcome. PMOs often find themselves wearing multiple hats, depending on the size and complexity of a project and on any resource constraints. PMOs are expected to do all the project work themselves, of course. Although they're ultimately accountable, they must be able to delegate responsibilities to qualified team members.
PMO Job Description
Job descriptions can vary widely because there are so many industries that use PMOs. Examples of some of the duties that might be outlined in a project management officer job description include the following:
- Delegate project tasks.
- Develop comprehensive project plans.
- Meet budget objectives, making adjustments as needed.
- Meet with clients to get detailed project briefs.
- Track project performance.
- Use and continually develop leadership skills.
PMO Job Responsibilities
The project manager is accountable for the success or failure of a project. Typical duties fall under one of five groups of project management processes:
- Initiating: Setting goals and defining the project.
- Planning: Budgeting, staffing, ordering materials, developing a timeline.
- Executing: Making sure team members can understand and begin their work.
- Monitoring and Controlling: Ensuring compliance with deadlines and project specifications, problem-solving.
- Closing: Bringing the project to its conclusion on time, within budget and with desired results.
Education Requirements for Project Management Careers
In most positions, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in business management or related field. You'll need extensive experience in the field where you'll be working as a project manager. In technical fields, that might mean you need a master's or even a doctorate. It's possible to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in project management from a number of institutions across the country, including online programs.
Certification as a Project Management Professional is available through the Project Management Institute, (PMI). Currently, there are eight different certifications that can be earned by exam, each with its own unique eligibility criteria. Although certification is not required to land a job as a project manager, it's a credential that attests to your expertise and commitment to the field. Certification may open up more job opportunities and could lead to higher pay.
Along with formal education, you'll need excellent leadership and time management skills. You must be confident in your math skills since budgeting is a large part of most project management assignments. You'll need strong analytical skills for problem-solving and decision-making.
Salary and Job Outlook
How much you earn depends on the field you're in. Construction managers, for example, earned median pay of $91,370 per year in 2017. Median pay means that half in the field earned more while half earned less. Human resource managers earned median pay of $110,120 per year in 2017. In the computer/information technology industry, median salary in 2017 was $149,730.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks data and makes projections for all civilian occupations. The job growth for project management positions is expected to be around 9 percent through 2026, which is about as fast as average. Opportunities vary according to industry, geographic location and a number of other factors, so it's difficult to predict the future of the job market.