Learn from the past and skill yourself for the future

Project management – especially “old school” PMBOK®* style project management – is often eschewed by younger people for more trendy career choices. But, more project managers (PMs) are needed in South Africa and the industry has a responsibility to make the profession more appealing to new entrants. And, once on board, newbies should be encouraged to lean on the knowledge of those that came before them. That’s according to veteran project manager, Tony McManus, CEO of McManus Consulting.

While McManus is a proponent of PMBOK® and prefers a more structured style of project management, he is quick to acknowledge that there are traits and soft skills that would set PMs apart from their peers.

Dependability tops the list of sought-after PM qualities. Doing what you said you were going to do, when (and how) you said you were going to do it builds trust and allows all stakeholders to feel comforted by the fact that you have got everything under control.

Knowing (and not being afraid to admit) what you don’t know is an important life skill, and particularly so in the project management world. Asking questions and not moving on before you understand exactly what the issue is helps you to resolve problems much quicker and more effectively than bumbling along until you stumble on the answers.

Being hands-on and paying relentless attention to detail is probably the most important thing a PM can do to ensure a project’s success. Attention to detail inevitably translates to fewer errors and better output; and it keeps team members on their toes! But there is a difference between being hands-on and holding on. Good PMs delegate, but don’t lose touch.

Becoming an expert on a particular topic is another key differentiator for PMs. In many aspects, PMs are required to be something of a jack of all trades but having a particular area of expertise will set you apart – and keep you in demand.

© Tony McManus, McManus Consulting.  |  Image created by Freepik.com.