A project manager is the person responsible for ensuring that a project is completed on time, within budget and fulfils the requirements of the company. To do this they have to organise a team to do the technical work, plan what resources they need and manage team members and external resource so that they work effectively.
Project manager jobs in IT involve juggling tasks and managing people, so successful project managers need excellent people skills, exceptional organisation skills and some commercial awareness. Project managers can work in any industry, but they are commonly found in IT and tech because the way the industry works on a project-to-project basis.
The role and responsibilities of a project manager.
A major part of a project manager’s job is managing people. You’ll need leadership skills, an ability to negotiate with both team members, suppliers and your own manager, good communication skills – both face-to-face and in writing – as well as an ability to coach members of your team through new opportunities or challenges. You’ll need to make sure that meetings are focused and don’t overrun, and delegate tasks to members of your team.
There are lots of other skills you need that are more technical. You’ll need to be highly numerate, so that you can write a business case, then deal with cost control, managing your budget effectively, and able to manage contracts with your suppliers so that they deliver what they have agreed to, at the cost you have negotiated.
You’ll also need to understand risk management – anticipating potential problems and doing your best to ensure they don’t happen – and if you really want to shine, you’ll understand project recovery – turning round a team that is failing to perform. Critical thinking is a key ability that underpins these skills. By thinking through the options, you can make the right decision more often than not.
Where is the perfect place to look career progression.
The Creative Industries, a British Government-funded organisation which promotes tech, video games, TV and design among other things, has pinpointed Bristol as one of just two creative hubs in the UK with major potential for growth.
Bristol is home to major digital success stories like Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations and the BBC Natural History unit, in addition to large numbers of firms working in gaming, publishing, mobile content production, branding and other digital areas. According to a recent Creative Industries report, there are currently 15,900 jobs in these fields in Bristol and Bath, with annual growth expected to hit 20 per cent.
When you also consider that Bristol is significantly cheaper than London – you need a salary of just £31,000 to have the same standard of living as someone earning £44,000 in London – Bristol is an ideal place to look to progress your career as a project manager.
Career progression paths for project managers.
No doubt being a project manager is a demanding job, but it’s one that is well-rewarded and offers great opportunities for career progression. If you can prove your skills as a project manager, by managing people, budgets and tasks, those skills are very scalable – they are the same skills required in leadership positions in most organisations.
Alternatively, you could end up using your skills as a consultant, particularly if you have acquired specialist skills. A project consultant can help businesses that may have got stuck, or may not have any organisational experience in your field.
Bristol is an ideal place to forge ahead with your career in project management. You have a host of opportunities in all sorts of different fields, and the Bristol tech scene is fast becoming one of the most talked-about and exciting places to work in the UK.