Who is Project Manager?

Project Manager… basically it depends 😉 Why? Most people probably ask themselves the bizarre question: what does a project mean then? Generally speaking, a project can be, for example, building a house, running a campaign, releasing a new model of iPhone, as well as going on a holiday! Each of them has a specific goal, an end, a beginning, and the activities of the project are linked in a complex way. The manager is responsible for organizing and carrying out all the necessary activities to achieve the desired result. So who the Project Manager really is going to be depends on the place and situation, but in a professional context, it will depend on the company, its industry, domain, size, or specific specializations, or even the employer’s expectations of this position. Of course, in theory we will find many consistent definitions of such a job, but in reality, as you know, it can (does not have to!) be a bit different 🙂

  • What is the role of the Project Manager in the project? 

I think that responsibility is the best possible way to define this role. In addition, I have always thought that PM is a micro entrepreneur, by the way, every project is a venture, and PM is responsible for that venture from start to finish. Project activities in principle are planned, but in most cases there are things in progress that we predicted might happen (risks) and things that nobody would think of before. From economic situations to personal conflicts. The list of incidents is really endless, and we, as PMs, have to face up to this in any case, so that we can deliver. Of course, we have the resources, the tools, and it is not that you are left alone with everything, but the majority is up to you.

Well, and yet… in addition to the management area itself, there is also a large part of the administration to do – clearing, reporting, documentation and so on. – most of it belongs to PM. Unless he/she gets comfortable enough that another person is dedicated to it in the team.

  • With whom the Project Manager works closely in the project?

First of all, with the team designated for the project and the client’s team. It all depends on the organisation or structure of these teams. The smaller the team, the closer collaboration is.

  • On which subjects should students focus most in order to become a PM in the future?

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the choice of profession is based on our experience, the opportunities we have had and our individual predispositions rather than simply setting ourselves goals like that: “I will become a doctor in the future”. I am sure that each of us in our earliest years of school has been presented with the task “who will you become in the future?”, and let’s make an agreement… how will a child know who he or she will become in the future?! The higher the level of education, the narrower the area of interest, and the profession is defined differently! Some people go to university knowing what they want to do in life, others will find out while studying, and yet others will come to that conclusion after years of professional work. There is no rule, because everyone has their own individual time.

It is important to create as many opportunities as possible during the study phase (and not only) to test yourself. That is why I personally encourage to be active not only while studying – special interests groups, nonstudent organisations, foundations, etc. There we can experience different roles, develop skills and really see in which jobs and activities we find ourselves best in, and which we will not fit in. For example, whether we enjoy coordinating people and it comes lightly to us, or whether we prefer it when we get a specific task and are only responsible for doing that specific task, and so on. In addition, during volunteering, we have the opportunity to turn the theory we have acquired into reality, which is often difficult to achieve in a study programme. Moreover, such activities are highly appreciated by potential future employers, and even allow them to reach them directly or receive a first job offer. Therefore, I believe that studies are very important, but it is worthwhile, to become a little more active and to dedicate some time, commitment and energy to often unpaid duties, because they usually pay off in the future, clarifying and rationalising decisions concerning our development and creating new prospects.

  • The pros and cons of working in this position.

It all depends on a person’s preferences and what motivates them – a statement like this can basically relate to any position. Working conditions, responsibilities, the types of projects that the employer will pass on to us have a huge impact on the job. I am far from standardising, which is why I do not want to define what is the plus or minus of a position, because everyone can categorise an aspect completely differently.

  • If you could go back in time, would you still be a Project Manager?

Definitely! I believe that this is an attractive position for people who have an ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ in them, who are proactive and who are always keen to get involved in any organisation. So if you are not afraid of change, and you even like it when there is a lot going on around you, then this is the first positive stage of self-evaluation towards becoming a Project Manager. Good luck!:)

Joanna Borowska