My Education: AS, Management, Bentley College (Waltham, MA?) AS, Accountancy, Bentley College BS, Computer Information Services, Bentley College MBA, Assumption College (Worcester, MA) certificate, Client Server Programming, Clark University (Worcester, MA)
My Prior Experience: After college, I secured a programming position at an insurance company, where I moved up the ranks in the technology department, first to resource manager and then to project manager. The company got involved in the financial service business and I was asked to managed a group of business analysts documenting technology enhancements. After 13 years of that, I leveraged my financial services and technology background to grab a position on the production support team of a large financial services company.
My Company: I work for a financial services company that provides benefit outsourcing (Health & Welfare, Defined Benefits and Defined Contributions).
Job/Career Overview: As a project manager, I gather a team of people with expertise in their jobs and together we focus on solving a defined business problem. I work with the project "owner" to define the project goal and then I work with the team of experts to meet it. I have to clearly lay out the tasks that need to be accomplished and when and ensure they're completed in a timely fashion. This job requires strong communication skills, good interpersonal skills and attention to detail.
I also work with the product owners to decide if the company should invest its resources into developing a new product. In this role, I work with the finance teams to do a cost-benefit analysis and return-on-investment. A detailed presentation communicating the business problem, proposed solution, competitive advantage and the financial analysis is given to our senior management team, which makes the final decision.
More Insights: To succeed as a project manager you need to have strong interpersonal skills. You need to be able to communicate to all levels of the organization and know how to motivate different people to get the work completed skillfully and expeditiously. You must be a good communicator and a good listener.
I guess what surprises me most about my occupation is how much it is valued across my organization. Some people just cannot be project managers because they need to be an expert versus a generalist.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best part of the job is working with the dedicated and smart people who band together to accomplish a defined goal.
The worst part is that changing business priorities often have an impact on resources assigned to the project. This means the project team is always in flux. You are constantly adding new people to the team, bringing them up to speed and re-adjusting the group dynamics.
As a project manager, you are solely responsible for the success of the project. If it's not a success you have no one to blame but yourself.
Being a good project manager is like being a parent. You need to provide guidance and direction and let your children -- your collaborators -- learn. You can't do everything yourself or the child will not learn. You need to trust people to do their jobs.
You need strong leadership skills to be a good project manager. Start be a leader today in your school or community. It will pay off in the long run.