All of us, at some point in our career, want to be project managers. Sooner (for competitive freaks) later (for zen-balanced fairies) the PM virus starts spreading inside our brains building false inceptions of managing everything and everyone. Some might say that it is a natural evolution, while others might claim that only the capable should bear the prize. But what is actually to be one?
First of all it’s a role, at least it should be. It is a costume that you should have it cleaned and ironed every once in a while. People will look at your costume to identify your PM qualities and abilities to lead and manage. Nobody cares about your education level, your childhood, your sport car and all other “collectibles” you think define your value in this world. People feel comfortable with managers with know-how and ability to inject their vision inside their minds.
So first things first, you need to acknowledge the fact that this is a role and as all roles in life at some point you need to step down and pass the script to younger and more promising actors, unless you’re a Cambridge Dean sentenced to bear the role for eternity. So, it’s not about YOU!
Moving on, you should be able to answer the following question (quickly and accurately – don’t cheat): Why I want to be a project manager? If your answer includes some of the following:
- I want…
- I believe that I’m…
- I Know…
- I’m willing to…
Bad news boys and girls…YOU SHOULDN’T BE! Simply because:
- If you knew what is to be a project manager, you wouldn’t want to
- You only believe in yourself (admit it)
- You know nothing (accept it. It’s not a shame, even Socrates claimed that)
- You’re willing to do anything…and that is scary!
Project management means to be humble. An almost good manager says: “we managed to build …” and never goes like: “I managed to build...”. A true project manager always says: “my guys managed to build…” No awards, no ceremonies, no happy-clappy Friday meetings. So, it’s not about glory.
Is it about imposing your ideas and experience to your team? Nop, never! It is about sharing your ideas and “war stories” and converting those tired and bored faces into war machines utilizing kanban boards, gantt charts and other cool online project management tools. One of your responsibilities is to have your team always ready, shiny, motivated and 110% available. Motivate them, tell them how capable they are, make them get the most out of their collaboration. Tell them that no matter the challenge, you fight as one. Hence, it’s not about “I did it my way”.
Is it about responsibilities? Hell, YES! A true manager always takes full responsibility when things go sideways. There are no excuses. If your team didn’t/under delivered, it is due to your inability to inspire, motivate, set clear goals, organize resources, assign correct tasks, user your Business Intelligence and productivity tools etc. and you should take the blame.
So, it’s neither about your personal promotion, nor glory, nor satisfaction and it’s all about responsibilities! Back to point zero. Why I want to be a project manager? It’s because:
- I want to… leverage others’ ideas, capacities and abilities for achieving a common goal
- I believe that I’m… only a simple tool for unlocking others’ potential
- I Know that I’m only achieving through my team
- I’m willing to take full responsibility
Isn’t it the best job in the world?
Androklis Mavridis is an expert in Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Real Options and decision making in S/W investments