We hear about the shortage of software engineers. But it’s less common to hear about a growing demand for project managers. But that’s what a recent report by Project Management Institute suggests. “Across the globe,” it says, “there’s a widening gap between employers’ need for skilled project management workers and the availability of professionals to fill those roles.”
It cites three reasons for the gap: attrition; a rise in jobs requiring “project-oriented” skills; and an increase in jobs that call for “project talent”—particularly in China and India, along with other “rapidly developing economies.”
If project management is in demand, then it’s a good time to step back and answer this fundamental question: what does it mean to be a project manager today?
A project manager is responsible for a project, from beginning to end. The role involves:
- Determining the problem you’re trying to solve,
- Careful planning, and
- Monitoring the project throughout its lifecycle.
Let’s take a closer look at each component.
Determining the problem you need to solve is not always easy, but it’s critical information to know before you hit the ground running. You may need to ask the client additional questions or strategize with a few teammates in order to clearly define the project’s aim. This will be helpful to you and your staffers. Then, break down a project into manageable tasks with budgets and deadlines, which is the next step.
Careful planning is known part of project management. This includes establishing budgets, setting deadlines, and creating tasks and assigning staffers to them. You can manage all of these detail with our Task Editor.
The tricky part about project management is juggling these details for multiple projects and tasks. That’s where resource allocation comes in.
Among its many uses, this tool helps project managers plan for the future. Plan weeks or months in advance, and shift allocations if your plans change. Then, when an unexpected client request occurs with an urgent deadline, you’ll know whether or not their request is feasible. Or, as you plan for the next quarter, you decide to hire another programmer to help you complete an upcoming project.
Monitoring a project is critical. It takes a lot just to get a project up and running, so keep a close eye on it to ensure its success. Here are some questions worth asking:
- Am I using my staffers effectively? Are they within capacity?
- Are my staffers allocated to the right tasks?
- Which staffers are logging the most hours to a project?
- Am I on track to meet the project deadline?
- Am I on budget?
Above all, project managers are organized, detail-oriented problem-solvers who communicate well. But most don’t do it alone. BigTime is here to help.