What is project management?
Before you can understand what project management is it is important to first understand what defines a project.
A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique service, product, or result. (PMI, 2013)
A project therefore has:
Most people think of construction when they hear the word project, but as you can see from the definition of a project, that projects are actually extremely common and can be applied to almost every industry.
Business project management is the terminology used for projects in these other sectors referring to projects within the IT sector, Marketing projects such as rebranding or campaigns, new product development, etcetera. This means you do not need to be a construction manager to be a project manager.
Let's take a look at the role of a project manager:
To be a project manager is not an easy task. As the title suggests, you are a manager.
Things that can make project management challenging.
When considering the role of a project manager you need to understand the challenges.
In my experience, the worst part about being a project manager is your dependency. Project managers often need to manage a lot of different types of people with a variety of skill sets, and often, the project manager has a broad understanding of the skill sets involved, but it is impossible for the project manager to actively have and/or practice all these skills. This means that when your team does not deliver, we as project managers cannot jump in and do it ourselves. We are dependent on our team to perform. This can be exceptionally challenging for people who like to be in control and for people who struggle to delegate.
Another one of my personal challenges with project management is jumping onto a project that has already been approved and kicked-off and then you need to take over. Sometimes project managers agree to reach certain objectives within a certain timeframe and within a certain budget to win a proposal, but sometimes these objectives, timeframes and budgets can be unrealistic. This can become extremely stressful to complete a project like this.
Another challenge in my experience is a scope that is not well defined, or scope that constantly changes.
Choose your team carefully.
What can make these challenges a lot more bearable is when you as a project manager have the freedom to choose your own team. I am personally very specific about who I choose to work with, I am lucky as I have the luxury to do this - I work for myself.
The right team can make the life of a project manager so much easier and rewarding.