Project Management: Love It or Hate It?
It’s that time again and I’ve been asked to write another post. This month we’ve been asked to theme our posts around “love”. What do we love about our industry, job, processes, and so forth. When I mentioned to my boss that I had to write a blog post about “what I love about being a project manager”, he laughed… kind of hysterically, actually. I asked, “Why are you laughing?” To which he replied, as he couldn’t stop laughing, “no reason”.
This got me thinking, Does my passion for being a project manager not shine through my personality? Do I focus too much on what’s left to be completed, what hasn’t been tested/fixed, what’s wrong, etc. and not enough on the wins? I mean, if my boss thinks I don’t love being a project manager, what does my team think?
Project management definitely has its stressful moments: budget, schedule, meeting expectations – just to name a few. Heck, we have a lot on our shoulders. So, it can be easy to overlook all the great things about being a project manager. So, here’s why I love being a project manager.
- I love teaching/helping people.
- I love making a difference.
- I love my team.
Teaching and Helping Others
As kids, I’m pretty sure no current day project said, “I want to be a project manager when I grow up!” And neither did I. But, I did know that I wanted to be a part of technology and I enjoyed helping and teaching people. No matter what I did, I always found myself in the position to teach people. This passion started as early as elementary school. I tutored younger grades and in high school, and I also took every computer type class they offered. (In those days they were still pretty scarce…LOTUS 1-2-3, WordPerfect, just to name a few.) I also was one of the first students to use the Internet, which allowed me to help students and teachers learn. When I got to college, I majored in Computer Technology and even taught a freshman computer course for three semesters.
I just wasn’t sure exactly what job would fulfill both of those loves: helping people and technology.
Enter in project management.
As a project manager, I like helping people figure things out. I enjoy training them on new things in the wondrous world of technology. It makes me feel good to “teach people to fish” versus just giving them the fish n’ chips dinner. I also have the pleasure of mentoring my fellow co-workers. I have a passion for hording knowledge. You never know when you are going to need it.
Making a Difference
As the senior project manager, I serve many roles to my clients: I am their first line of defense, their knowledge base, their go-to person. I really enjoy being able to meet a client’s deadline, exceed their expectations, and being able to help them solve their problems. Some people may not like having this type of pressure, but I embrace it. I like to make things happen, both for my clients as well as in the office. I think a great project manager learns to tote the line of knowing when to make executive decisions to get things done and when to ask for permission. This is ‘key’ in getting things done.
Love Thy Team
But don’t let me take all the glory. In order to make a difference for clients, you have to have a great team. Without a supportive, motivated, and intelligent team, I would be nothing. I learn the most from them. But I also enjoy mentoring them as well. As a project manager, I think we could all do better at giving accolades where they are needed and maybe focus more on what is right or has been completed rather than what’s wrong or hasn’t been done.
Looking back through my life, I was always a project manage. Looking forward, I will always be one at heart, no matter what my job position is. Even if I no longer have the title ‘project manager’, I’m sure I will always find a way to 1) teach and help people, 2) make a difference, and 3) have a supportive team.
Let’s hope that next year my boss doesn’t laugh when I say I have to write again about what I love about project management.