Project Management

To define a project manager, first we must define project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a project is “a temporary group activity designed to produce a unique product, service or result.” It is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and ending time, and unique as it is not a routine operation. The manager then is the one who can apply knowledge, skills, and techniques to achieve the project’s goals effectively and efficiently. While this may sound like a field that relies on natural motivation to lead, it became a distinct profession under the logistics umbrella within the past few decades.

Overview of Project Management

The PMI divides project management processes into five groups:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing

Essentially, this is managing the project from beginning to end, and being there every step of the way. A project manager is not limited to remaining in the field of logistics; they may do work related to construction, engineering, architecture, computing, or telecommunications. No matter the field, a project manager’s job is to represent the client and their interest, accounting for strategy, budgeting, procedures, and evaluating the final product.

While degree programs do exist, a future project manager will more likely take certification courses; either way, do confirm that the degree program or certification is accredited by the PMI. There are six certifications offered by the PMI:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): The PMP is globally-recognized as the most important certification for project mangers who have shown competency through their experience working with teams. There are also the PgMP and PfMP certifications, for those that manage multiple projects, and who show advanced experience and skill, respectively.
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): The CAPM certification recognizes that one is fluent in the fundamental knowledge, terminology, and processes of effective project management.
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP): This certification is for those that have used agile practices (an adaptive form of project management) or have used agile methods in their management direction.
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA): As the title suggests, this certification highlights one’s expertise in business analysis, as well as one’s ability to accommodate stakeholders and follow through business outcomes to success.
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP): This specialty certification is awarded to those who demonstrate proficiency with regards to risk management and possible threats.
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP): Another specialty certification that focuses on those who demonstrate competency in scheduling and time management.

Job Prospects in Project Management

As the position of Project Manager is pretty vague and defined differently in each field, there are no Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers about salary or job growth. However, a survey conducted by the PMI in 2006 reported that the median annual earnings of a project manager was $96,000. As far as potential in the field goes, the PMI has also recorded a near-quadrupling of members from 1999 to 2005, from 43,000 members to over 208,000; today, more than 700,000 people are members of the PMI, a clear indication that the field is still continuing to grow. And according to a study by the Project Management Talent Gap Report, 1.57 million new project management jobs will be created every year through 2020.

Project Management Degrees

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