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We all know the term project manager, but what exactly does such a person do? For those who have yet to enter the job market, you will  see this position features very frequently on job listings. But after realising just what a project manager does, you’ll find that the skills needed in this career are also highly applicable in maintaining a high functioning and well-managed life in general.

What does a project manager do?

Unfortunately – and sometimes as is typical – a textbook definition doesn’t provide much help.  The Project Management Institutes A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge® (PMBOK® Guide), 4th Edition defines “Project management” as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.”

Basically this means using skills to achieve a goal.

But isn’t that every single career and job, you might ask? After all, you are being paid for the end goal and you achieve that by having the necessary skills to achieve that target. Doctors are skilled in medicine; accountants in managing accounts. The goal is better patients and satisfied clients, who each pay for the skills those groups of people have.

Project management, however, becomes a little bit more specific. Indeed, doctors and other professionals have to occasionally become project managers themselves. What this means, specifically is, according to Corp Ed Group:

  1. Planning, Executing, and Closing Projects — defining the project, building its comprehensive work plan, and managing to the budget
  2. Managing Teams — facilitating commitment and productivity, removing obstacles, and motivating team members
  3. Managing Expectations – aligning projects to business goals, managing stakeholders, and communicating project status, milestones, and unexpected difficulties effectively.

Any project management course will teach you about principles that allow you to plan, execute and succeed in very particular goals; manage your and other people’s lives; and deal with expectations, also from others and yourself.

Your own life management

These are principles you can put into your own life. No matter what we do, we are always engaging with others and their expectations, from arranging dinners to weddings to completing business projects to trips to the hospital. Think about what’s involved, for example, in getting a friend or child to the dentist. Not only must that be arranged well in advance with a dentist, but you need to all settle on a date where nothing else is happening. But can you guarantee that? Anything could come up and what then?

Thinking about anything that you plan for and execute means that any number of events can occur, especially since few don’t require other people being involved. Project management skills can help you balance this; you can learn to send notifications and preparation well in advance; you would know to be in constant communication where necessary; you would be efficient at balancing a thousand different events (i.e. projects) at the same time.

Your life becomes more efficient and therefore more fruitful. If you think about it, there are few careers where the skills obtained are better for everyday living.

Article issued by Student Brands. To view their profile on SAstudy, click here.

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