Project management is a challenging and exciting job but is used in different ways in many different industries. In the past it has maybe been difficult to explain that professional project management is not the same as just managing a one-off project in our everyday lives. For many years there have been professional qualifications and certifications that project managers have worked hard to obtain, yet to people outside the profession the recognition for all that hard work has not been there.
Now with the granting of the Royal Charter to APM in December 2016 that looks set to change. Project management has become a true profession with chartered status just like the professions of accountancy or engineering.
Some of the key differences between a professional project manager and those who manage occasional projects in their personal lives (like organizing a wedding or refurbishing a kitchen) are:
- Learning from best practice
- Learning from past mistakes to improve future outcomes
- Developing certain behaviours and attitudes
- Assessing and managing risks to minimize and mitigate them
- Formal communication plans and processes
- Managing the expectation of others
These and many other skills can be developed by a project manager through training and by gaining professional qualifications and certifications from organisations such as the Association for Project Management (APM).
The APM have a range of project management qualifications and certifications for project managers at all stages of their careers and these accreditations have always been important in the world of project management for advancing careers and improving prospects. But there has always been something missing – public recognition of project management as a profession with all the rigour that entails.
Now, after a protracted period of legal processes and appeals the APM has been granted a Royal Charter so project management is now a chartered profession in the same way as, say, accountancy or engineering.
Depending on a persons level of further education and previous experience a typical career path might include roles as:
- Assistant Project Manager
- Junior Project Manager
- Project Manager
- Senior Project Manager
- Implementation Manager
- Project Leader
These roles themselves could vary in the type of projects someone would be responsible for. In a large organisation that tends to run long, complex projects the role of project manager could be a very senior role. In other organisations the role of project manager could simply encompass short or non-complex projects.
Some corporations will use a range of titles to distinguish those who work on complex or non-complex projects and people essentially doing a project manager role may not actually have that title.
Some of the more senior roles of a project management professional with greater responsibilities could be:
- Project Management Consultant
- Programme Manager
- Portfolio Manager
- Head of Projects
- Director of Projects
Whatever your title or level of responsibility, a role as a project management professional is sure to offer an exciting, varied career path that can lead to recognition as a chartered project professional.