We’ll go straight to the gist: you may not really need to be a certified project manager in order to become a project manager for the clients you’ll serve or work with but it’s beneficial.
If you’re planning to become a project manager or start as one without experience, I understand where the confusion and difficulty are coming from, there will always be self-doubt and questions on where to start or how to begin. Honestly, it can be hard to choose between all the options which are being used now under this department, depending on the industry you’ll be serving.
There’s Six Sigma, SCRUM, PRINCE2, and the list go on. And then, there are other digital platforms being used under project management and calendar management. The debate on becoming certified is overwhelming and may make you feel stuck.
So, can one get started as a project manager without experience and certification?
It depends with whom you’ll be working with.
If you’re going to be outsourced, working for a multi-national or a big corporation with budgets and global expectations, it may be best and better to get the certification in order for you to have a full view on what to expect, and deliver at par to their expectation, know the principles and organisational needs.
However, nowadays, a lot are looking for a project manager to boost and help small businesses flourish. The delegation has become the greatest necessity and this is where you can easily hop on in. Often, these clients won’t require certifications, just as long as you get to move deliverable according to what is expected.
How will you be able to dive in?
My experience as a project manager started when I worked for an ad agency which has taught me inter-dependencies, the importance of thorough communication and organizational skills.
Hope this post will be able to help you, too.
SKILL SETS: Do you have what it takes to be one?
Before anything else, you’ll have to asses yourself and put things into perspective for clarity before you get started. You’ll need confidence and efficiency.
- Are you a good communicator?
- Are you comfortable on being full-on transparent?
- Are you organized on making sure you’ve got everything in place?
- Are you comfortable on tracking things from start to finish?
- Are you quick to act with sound decision making and a clear head in any crisis?
- Will you be also responsible with regards to customer service?
Truthfully, it’s about having the best interest in what you do and why you do things as accurately as possible. The ideal project management or project managers are those who address things according to how it should move from point A to point B – it’s communication and being sharp on details as much as leadership skills.
Develop what you’d still need and want to develop.
Remember: We are always about lifelong learning.
After you’ve taken stock on what skills you have and assessed if these skills needed are something that you can easily operate with; check on what else you need to improve on.
Check on the job description and read them thoroughly, understand what it entails and categorizes which amongst those still needs improvement and what you’d still need to enhance. This way, you’ll be able to focus on efficiency and also get to communicate what you still need to work on.
Once you’ve identified, make a goal plan on what will you do to work on it.
- Attend workshops
- get active on online courses
- be mentored and coached
- apply for an experiential internship
Education is always powerful – take charge of the situation and learn. You can’t fully prepare for all aspects of a job until you get the job but with preparation comes opportunity.
What type of kind of Project Management would you want to embark on?
Think what clients you’d want to work with and position yourself according to these questions:
- What sets you apart from the rest of the project managers?
- How do you want to spend your working hours?
Are you into retail, e-commerce, web development, or accounts management? Do you want to specialize in a certain technology or project management tool? Would you want to be a project manager who’ll keep an eye on day-in and day-out deliverables through Slack, Trello, Airtable or Asana? How would you want to organise files and operations of your company or team?
Be specific on goals and objectives, this way, you’ll be able to collate the information and get to manage each project with a goal in mind and as seamless as possible.
Build a network with Project Management Managers.
You will have to join the party in order to acquaint yourself more on what the party is all about. Once you’re in, network and seek for tips, tricks and keep an open mind. Your aim is to learn from one another and be top-of-mind in case your network comes across opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and opinion, this way, you’ll be able to improve the gaps from what you know and develop better.
Just like anywhere else, one of the best ways to find leads is to connect with industry peers, make relationships and allow them to teach you rather than you showing off what you have. Connections are usually the first ones who’ll realize they need a person like you who can bring more value other than what the job requires.
At the end of the day, all you have to really do is to TAKE ACTION and make that jump to learn, develop and deliver. Whether you decide to go for certification or not, project management is all about being keen and sharp on making things move.
Now, can you really be a project manager? most definitely. Doable.