Things I wish I had known about being a Project Manager

When I was looking at becoming a Project Manager, I had a very basic overview of what was involved in the role and what was expected of me. I’d lead teams, deliver amazing projects that would add value and change the organisation for the better. I had so many aspirations. Looking back, I wish I had a post like this to tell me about the sides of being a Project Manager that I might not realise.

The hours are long

If someone had told me how much overtime I put in, I might be tempted to choose a different job! I have made the conscious attempt in the last year to focus on productive hours and working which means that I’ve limited my overtime somewhat!

During a typical project, the hours do tend to even out as during initiation and closure, I’ll have less hours to work than during execution/cutover period but there are still times when I’m working a lot more than my alloted hours. Being a Project Manager does mean that you will be working more hours than other Project Management roles.

Your team is likely to hate you at one point in the project.

There have been times during my career when I am sure that my team would have wished for any other project manager than me! You cannot aim to please everyone during the duration of projects so it is important to keep your professionalism in the front of your mind. When I was starting my career, I was told “You cannot please everyone, all the time. Focus on what’s best for the project and organisation”. This can be especially true when you are working as a consultant!

You get to see a lot of different sides of an organisation

Working in Projects means that I touch and talk to almost every level and department in an organisation. This means that I can see how different departments work and function and also I’m able to network effectively to learn the best way to deliver projects within the organisation. I try to make a list of every person I meet within the different departments and learn a small snippit of information which can help me later on in the project.

You get to be a part of a (normally positive) change

The projects that I have been a part of are all involved in a positive change for the organisation. I’m talking about delivering something that will make others lives easier as well as potentially saving the company money in the long run.

You get to build and be a part of a team

Some of the best projects that I have been a part of have been a success due to one reason: the Team of individuals that were working on it. The memories of these projects that I have remind me of the team members and the comradery that we had during the project. I have built teams that have delivered projects effectively because I could trust and worked with some of the most experienced and wonderful colleagues in the industry. I’ve been honoured to work with industry experts, juniors eager to learn and develop, Managers who honestly wanted to do the best for their teams. All of this, makes it a pleasure to work in and deliver projects.

What else would you like to know about projects? or being a Project Manager?

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