Project management is the planning, organizing and managing the effort to accomplish a successful project. A project is a one-time activity that produces a specific output and or outcome, for example, a building or a major new computer system. This is in contrast to a program, (referred to a ‘programme’ in the UK) which is 1) an ongoing process, such as a quality control program, or 2) an activity to manage a number of multiple projects together.
Project management includes developing a project plan, which involves defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, how they will be achieved, identifying tasks and quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion. It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular ‘controls’ to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on ‘performance’ relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary.
Projects often follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), for example: feasibility, definition, planning, implementation, evaluation and realisation. (Thanks for Kevin Lonergan for contributing to this description.)
NOTE: There are many software tools that make project management much more effective and efficient. Software Tools to Do Project Management Process lists software resources. The reader might best be served to read about the overall project management process in the section, “Foundations of Project Management” below, and then review some of the software tools. Another approach is to review the tools as the reader progresses through each phase of the project management process.
7 Skills Every Project Manager CV Should Include
Writing your CV as a project manager can be a complex task. As somebody who balances so many tasks across multiple teams and locations, it can be a challenge to get all of your experience down into 2 sheets of A4. A good project manager’s CV should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to lead staff, mitigate risks and deliver the required results. Although every project managers CV will be unique, there are certain skills that every project manager needs to succeed .
Effective scheduling is crucial to the success of a project, so it’s important to include it in your CV. Demonstrate your ability to plan and arrange activities to be completed in time with project expectations. Giving solid examples of scheduling project activities for yourself and surrounding teams will give employers confidence that you can deliver projects on time and within budget.
2. Cost control
In order for a project to be delivered within budget and keep sponsors happy, cost control is vital. When writing your CV ensure that you include the budgets you manage, optimal allocation of spending and cost effective vendor relationships. Also detail any methods or tools used to manage costs and be sure to highlight any big savings you have realized for employers.
3. Risk management
Every project faces risks that have the potential to derail it’s success. A strong project manager’s CV should give solid examples of controlling risk to show project sponsors that you are able limit their effects. The ability to spot potential risks before and deal with them before they become problematic is a highly valued attribute
If you’re going to lead a project through to successful delivery, it stands to reason that you should possess sound leadership skills. Use your CV to detail the teams you manage and how you drive them towards deliverables. Activities such as running team meetings, staff performance reviews and reward are good signals of strong leadership in project management.
Methodologies are rigorous systems of methods which are used to keep projects on track and drive them forward. Whether you utilise Prince2, Agile, Waterfall or any other methodology, employers need to know your experience, knowledge and qualifications in those areas. It’s also important to explain how you implement these methodologies into your projects as opposing to simply listing qualifications.
6. Business case writing
Justifying project initiation, spending and resource allocation often requires a strong and coherent business case. The ability to write or at lease contribute to a business case is therefore a valuable skill for your CV. In cases where you have been responsible for achieving project milestones or making improvements through effective business case presentation, you should make it clear in your CV.
The ultimate measure of success for a project manager is the results they deliver. Clearly explain the benefits your projects have provided and use figures where possible to quantify your value. Whether you have transformed a finance system across multiple global locations or project manged a large office relocation, be sure to detail your results along with any significant achievements made on the project.
In addition to including the essential project management skills above, you should also make sure you include factors that are important to your own industry along with any tools you have experience in using, such as Microsoft Project. Keep the CV to around two pages in length and break up into easily digestible sections so that busy hiring managers can read through it quickly.