In today’s competitive business environment, project management skills are essential for success. Whether you are a project manager, a team member, or a manager, having strong project management skills can help you make a positive impact in your current role or future career.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
Project managers do not operate in a single domain; their skillsets are invaluable in all types of organizations, large and small, and roles, from the C-suite to company interns. Regardless of the industry in which they operate, effective project managers lead projects from conception through implementation, creating value and driving change.
At its core, a project manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and overseeing the execution of a project. They work with a team of people to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
How Project Management Skills Make a Direct, Measurable Impact
Many employees manage projects daily in their current roles, but likely don’t understand the value of a well-managed project and what it means to the bottom line of their employer.
“Project management is the art and science of getting stuff done using a proven set of tools, approaches and controls. Studies continue to show that project managers get tasks done more efficiently, and in today’s world, that translates into lower costs and better results,” says Arthur Thomas, executive director of professional acceleration and microcredentials in the College of Professional Studies at Syracuse University.
Here are some of the benefits that your project management skills can bring to an organization:
- Plan and execute projects more effectively. Project management skills can help you to break down complex projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. They can also help you to identify and manage risks, and to track progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.
- Improve communication and collaboration. Project management skills can help you to communicate effectively with project stakeholders, including team members, clients, and managers. They can also help you to build strong relationships with team members and to foster collaboration.
- Increase efficiency and productivity. Project management skills can help you to identify and eliminate waste, and to streamline processes. They can also help you to optimize resources and to get the most out of your team’s time.
- Make better decisions. Project management skills can help you to gather and analyze data, and to make informed decisions about project scope, budget, and timeline. They can also help you to identify and mitigate risks, and to develop contingency plans.
- Meet deadlines and budgets. Project management skills can help you to track progress and to identify potential problems early on. They can also help you to make adjustments as needed to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
How to Get Started as a Project Manager
If becoming a project manager is one of your career goals, you’ll need more than a basic understanding of the general approaches of managing projects. You will need to start by building key professional skills and experience.
“The complexity of large-scale projects is growing, and not only does a candidate need to have experience under their belt, but they must know fundamental project management principles to succeed,” Thomas says.
- Earn a project management degree or credential.
Project management specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although not always required, a certification may also be beneficial. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, consider adding a more advanced credential in project management.
Project Management, Bachelor of Professional Studies
Project Management, Undergraduate Credit Certificate
Project Management, Certificate of Advanced Studies
Project Management, Master of Professional Studies
Google Project Management Certificate at Syracuse University
All project management degrees and certificates offered through the College of Professional Studies meet the education/training requirement for the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exams.
- Gain experience.
The best way to become a project manager is to gain experience in project management. You can do this by volunteering for projects at work, taking on leadership roles in extracurricular activities or starting your own projects.
- Build key soft skills.
Project managers need to be able to communicate effectively, motivate team members, and resolve conflicts. Some of the most impactful soft skills for project managers include:
- Communication: Project managers need to be able to communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders, including team members, clients, and managers. They need to be able to clearly articulate project goals, objectives, and timelines. They also need to be able to listen to feedback and to resolve conflicts.
- Planning: Project managers need to be able to plan and execute projects effectively. This includes breaking down complex projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. It also includes identifying and managing risks, tracking progress and making necessary adjustments along the way.
- Organization: Project managers need to be organized and efficient. They need to be able to manage multiple projects simultaneously and to keep track of deadlines, budgets and resources.
- Problem-solving: Project managers need to be able to identify and solve problems quickly and efficiently. They need to be able to think critically to come up with creative solutions.
- Leadership: Project managers need to be able to lead and motivate team members. They need to be able to set a clear vision for the project and to inspire team members to achieve their goals.
Career Opportunities in Project Management
“The Project Management Institute has reported in a recent 2022 jobs report that we can anticipate growth of about 2.3 million annual job opportunities in project management through 2030. Now is the time to be a project manager,” says Thomas.
The field of project management is vast, and individuals with project management skills and credentials have opportunities to work in many industries. As organizations seek ways to maintain and improve productivity to stay competitive, the need for skilled project managers is expected to increase. Some notable roles where project management skills are necessary are:
- Project Manager: Project managers are responsible for the planning, organizing, and execution of projects. They work with a team of people to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
- Program Manager: Program managers oversee multiple projects that are related to each other. They ensure that the projects are aligned with the organization’s goals and that they are completed in a coordinated and efficient manner.
- Product Manager: Product managers are responsible for the development and launch of new products. They work with a team of people to define the product requirements, develop the product plan, and launch the product to market.
- Engineering Manager: Engineering managers oversee a team of engineers. They are responsible for ensuring that the team is meeting the organization’s goals and that the projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
- Construction Manager: Construction managers oversee the construction of buildings, bridges, and other structures. They work with a team of people to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
- IT Manager: IT managers combine project management, operational management, computer systems, networking, and people skills to successfully design, implement and maintain IT solutions.
Discover more about the College of Professional Studies’ project management credentials: Find out what courses you’ll take, skills you’ll learn and how to request information about the program.