With the recent addition of new staff and larger contracts, my position has evolved to take on the official role of Project Manager/Facilitator.  Up until recently, I defined Project Management as inputting data into BaseCamp (a web-based project management and collaboration tool), informing staff of receipt of contract, ensuring the project had begun and noting approximate end dates. During our weekly staff meetings, I was regularly updated as to the progression of the current projects.

With larger contracts now coming in, it means outsourcing some of the work to qualified project-based contractors, performing quality management with both in-house staff and the contractors. 

Having recently completed two training courses on the subject; Introduction to Project Management at Camosun College and a free online “Essentials of PMBOK®” training course, presented by the Victoria Chamber Learning Network these two words in the preceding paragraph I had not previously used were project-based contractors and quality management.  Project-based contractors are basically the same as sub-contractors.  Quality management’s definition is “the processes involved in assuring the project will satisfy the objective for which it was undertaken.  It consists of quality planning, performing quality assurance reviews and performing quality control processes.”  Quality Management was just one of the nine Knowledge areas I needed to understand and be able to define while taking the course.

In taking both courses I discovered Project Management really is a necessary skill in today’s workplace.  In a typical organization approximately 50% of the work is in project format.  What is the definition of Project Management? According to PMI (Project Management Institute) “project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.  In other words a project is temporary, unique and finished when specific objectives have been met.”

Some of what Project Management entails is creating reasonable, manageable project objectives; planning and  implementation; monitoring and evaluating projects; and working within limits of time, budget, and clients’ satisfaction.   This also means ensuring the team has the necessary resources in order to do their job and support the project-based contractors where needed.

The following are just a few skills I learned and are necessary for being a Project Manager: 

  • Open communication is key to the success of a project
  • Humor is essential when facing the challenges of project management
  • Balance priorities
  • Stay on budget
  • Identify and record issues that may affect the project
  • Define project deliverables
  • Track the progress of the project and above all understand change is inevitable