Can someone explain Project Managers to me please?

(57 Posts)
BellaTheGymnast Sun 25-Nov-12 15:55:35

Want to boost my salary, which I suspect will involve changing career. I've seen Project Manager roles advertised, but don't really know much about what it entails.

Are you one? Are the jobs normally freelance, or PAYE? Is there a recognised training route?

I've got good organisational, time management and communication skills. Currently working in film and telly.

JingleBellaTheGymnast Sun 02-Dec-12 11:52:05

Hello mrsnec, join me on the quest! I love problem solving too, and I think a smaller group like you're working with sounds like a less fraught way to get experience rather than with a massive company.

Yes, have been looking at charities too.

DolomitesDonkey Sun 02-Dec-12 12:10:05

jingle well I only have experience of the IT industry and wanted to reassure you that different businesses would treat you better - but unfortunately mrsnec has confirmed that they're lying mustards everywhere! ;)

PMO = project management office, the programme manager's deputies!

JingleBellaTheGymnast Sun 02-Dec-12 12:29:24

Thanks. Yes, it would appear swines are everywhere!

Haven't got to PMO in my booklet yet.
<re-reads nervously>

mrsnec Sun 02-Dec-12 12:49:33

I think the term is very broad. That PM I worked for was in a very difficult position. He knew nothing about the company or industry and he was working with a lot of people who'd been there for years who were overlooked for the position. He'd also just been given the brief can we flog this stuff in Europe? It was never going to end well. I'm not in the UK at the moment. There aren't many jobs here let alone PM ones. I'm just considering some kind of qualification, if we can afford it, that would help the business and give me another avenue if we returned to the UK. This thread inspired me a bit! It's just a test case we're working on at the moment but I'd like us to be professional about it and not come across as those muppets you see on Grand Designs. Yes, this time it's that kind of project management! On another note OP, I was surprised at how well paid my friend's charity PM job was. Almost stopped me wanting to donate anymore!

Soopermum1 Sun 02-Dec-12 16:12:06

Mrsnec and Dolomites brought up good points.

Re Mrsnec's DH's brief (which sounds a nightmare) , part of the job is to keep going back to the project sponsor/s to get enough info to work with and also part of the project is to see if the project is actually going to be able to fly in the first place. Both very very tricky as you make a pain in the ass of yourself to the people who possibly hired you, and you could potentially have to deliver bad news or even do yourself out of a job, but better doing that than flogging a dead horse. That's where whatever natural charm you have comes into play. Being 'likeable' is key, also making yourself appear trustworthy so if you deliver bad news, backed up with clear facts you're more likely to be beleived, but I have seen lots of PMs in the firing line for things that are just not their fault, but that is definitely one of the downsides of the job.

Re jfdi, I have used the phrase (ithout the f) very very occassionally, when I'm exasperated, but probably not wise, though the thought goes round and round in my head dozens of times a day. It's to do with matrix management (useful phrase for job interviews) you have no direct authority over these people, they usually have their own bosses, so you have to dig into your mental toolbag and work out what you can do to make these people do what you want. Different approaches work with diferent people. My personal style is 'pleasantly persistant', it seems to work on most occassions. I did hear someone describe me as a Rottweiller, but as he's pretty co-operative and we seem to get on, I took it as a compliment grin

oh, and one last tip, if you stroll over to someone's desk and they have a picture of their kid on there, compliment them on that. Talks about kids, in my experience, softens the hardest hearts, before you launch into the work stuff. Same applies to any other interests you may know they have.

mrsnec Mon 03-Dec-12 07:19:19

That's great advice. On that project we didn't have much info and the PM wouldn't go back to the stakeholders. Everyone was reluctant to do anything outside their remit as there was a lot of negativity and uncertainty. I was also involved in an IT project and this was an entirely different story as most people knew what they were doing and just got on with it and we could convince the others anyway as ultimately what we were doing was going to make their life easier. This time, as we're mainly dealing with Sole Traders they know if they don't meet deadlines we'll find someone else or they wont be paid. OP I think it could be a very interesting career change for you and wish you all the best. Let us know how you get on.

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 19:46:51

There are no PM qualifications as such, merely certificates because PM isn't a profession but a wide ranging discipline.

PRINCE is simply one method of managing projects, the public sector seems to prefer it but there are several others.

You mentioned buildings, if I were you I would steer clear of trying to become a PM in the building industry unles you know a lot about it. Some of the best PMs in my experience have been quantity surveyors.

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