Managing the Managers: Becoming a Senior Project Manager
Anyone can become a project manager but not everyone can manage a project successfully. Being a PM is one of the toughest jobs in the IT industry. It does not only require technical skills that are critical in carrying the project out of the door, but it also requires soft skills and instinct to perform the role effectively. This role is just as rewarding as it is challenging and, in the long run, may grow to a senior project manager. It is a tough road to navigate, but it can be achieved.
The Management Principle
An excellent manager does not have to be the best subject matter expert nor do they have to be front and center when it comes to technologies, but they need to be great at managing resources. Project managers are guided by the principles that go into their work no matter which industry they are.
Here are some guide project management principles:
- Structure—The structure principle defines the resources, roles, priorities, goals, and schedule of the development team.
- Success—Success principle is the level of commitment towards the success of the project. One of the project manager’s goals is to make a project successful.
- Progress—Progress should be evident during development. It is a manager’s duty to define roles, schedules, and policies when it comes to achieving the goals of the project.
- Communication and Information—Managing a well-defined communication channel across all project stakeholders is key to making a project successful. With this in mind, it is also important to communicate accurately and validate information to ensure clarity all throughout.
- Accountability and Transparency—Mistakes are learning experiences, in general. Each role has its own sets of responsibilities. While being accountable for mishaps, a project manager should also be transparent as to how the project is doing, good or bad, and resolutions that come out of it.
- Risk Management—There are different kinds of risks in every project. A project manager’s role is to decide how to handle these risks and identify the ones that can be avoided, accepted, and/or transferred.
- Project Manager—The project manager principle states that a project is prone to failure when there is no leader. A project manager comes up with the plans and the procedures to execute those plans in gearing the team towards success.
Project Manager vs Senior Project Manager
A great project manager can lead a project to success with the principles mentioned. It’s all about taking and elevating each of these principles to conquer challenges that may be encountered. With this, it also takes a great project manager to excel and grow into a senior project manager.
The core of these two positions is the same. However, it takes a certain amount of finesse and experience for one to advance in seniority. Both positions also have a distinct yet interwoven network of responsibilities and scope.
Project managers use tools and methods to plan and lead the work of an individual or a group/team. They plan, budget, monitor, and report using tools and methods that fit the development cycle. They also bridge the gap between the management team and the development teams to broadcast key information on reports and updates.
Specifically, senior project managers’ responsibilities encompass strategic planning of a focused program or subject. This includes business, cost-benefit, goals, and strategy analyses. They also communicate the overall strategy of the project across the entire organization. Senior project managers must be highly skilled in project management discipline guided by in-depth knowledge and experience. Along all these, they also handle project manager responsibilities and a group of project managers.
How to become a Senior Project Manager?
1. Plan your career
The moment you realize you want to do is the moment you create an opportunity for yourself. Achieving seniority takes planning. You can apply for project management courses and/or get certified by credible institutions/organizations. You can also seek coaching from those who are already in the position. Getting helpful experience-based tips from your seniors is gold.
2. Invest resources to realize your plans
As mentioned, you can apply for management courses and even pursue part-time academic studies. Part of this is also investing in yourself. Equip yourself with skills needed to become a senior project manager by putting in time, money, and energy on things that will serve your career.
3. Deliver above and beyond
Another path that you can follow is to deliver above and beyond your work description. By going the extra mile in delivery and performance, you can prove yourself worthy of advancing to seniority status.
Are you ready for SPM Roles and Responsibilities?
It takes great measures to become a senior project manager. The title doesn’t come in handy because one has to have hands-on experience juggling multiple tasks at once. Here are the detailed senior project manager roles and responsibilities.
- Develop and deliver the project structure and program. This deliverable encompasses all the details of the project to the development team.
- Provide coaching, guidance, and motivation to the team members to make them effective in their work.
- Set realistic and manageable goals for the project plan considering the project constraint triangle.
- Identify and recommend resources according to project needs whether human, technology, or financial resources.
- Strategize an effective communication structure across the team, the clients, and the organization.
- Ensure standards and implement best practices for a productive project development process.
- Manage and control the quality of how each project is handled.
- Adopt to timely and relevant market trends to improve and hasten business and development processes.
- Assess and evaluate team member performance and skills and assign tasks accordingly.
- Develop or use tools and techniques for effective project management.
Senior Project Manager Skills and Proficiencies
- Resource Management
- Project Management
- Quality Control
- Quality Management
- Performance management
- Attention to detail
Tips to become a great Senior Project Manager
1. Get certified.
Make it official. This one cements your credibility. In an industry where results are important, getting certified in the discipline is a rock-hard proof of your excellence. Study and apply the project management deep cuts and then test it for certification.
2. Establish a standard and follow-through.
Encourage best practices and formal standards in your team. However, while it is easy to establish, the value you can add is the follow-through. As a senior project manager, sustain these best practices to improve the quality of work of your team.
3. Continue to learn and gain new skills.
Learning doesn’t stop once you’ve reached your goal. You will learn new things when you’re in the senior project management position. Stay foolish, stay hungry as Steve Jobs said.
4. Maximize your resources.
The beauty of working in an organization is that you’re not alone. You can always ask for help from the management for organizational concerns and your team members for in-depth process information. You don’t always have to be the expert but believe in your ability to devise solutions out of your resources.
Managing is a walk in the park, Jurassic park. However, with the right resources, team members, and support, you can be the best senior project manager that you can be. However, if you think you’re not there yet, you can always learn.
“What if I need a project done now?”—Simple. You can always hire a team to work on your project. Full Scale offers development services for your project needs. We can help you assemble your team, from project managers to developers to QA testers, to kick start your project.
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