Self Assessment: Is Project Management Right for Me?

Self Assessment: Is Project Management Right for Me?

Is project management right for me? Excellent question! Often times, people happily working within a functional role, such as engineering, come to work one day and find that management has decided they will now be a project manager. Or often, professionals catch the project management “bug” and begin to pursue it as a profession after serving as a member of a project team. Maybe you are just starting out in your career and are considering starting down a project management career track from the get-go. If one of these scenarios describes you, we are here to help.

Being a project manager isn’t for everyone, but is it right for you?
A great place to start if you are exploring a project management role, is understanding the differences between project management success versus functional expertise success. How you lead a team of direct reports within a function differs from how you lead a cross-functional team that does not report to you as a project manager. Take a minute to understand the differences in how you:
• make decisions
• approach the project
• apply your knowledge

Check out the differences outlined in the table below:

Functional Expertise Success

  • Make key decisions within area of expertise
  • Maintain focused attention on deliverables for the individual function (and is often supervising direct reports)
  • Ensure team is focused on the key deliverables
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of work to be done
  • Represent function to senior management
  • Improve functional output and quality over time (continuous improvement)

Success as Project Manager

  • Lead team of cross-functional experts (often with strong egos and functional agendas)
  • Lead through influence, no direct reports
  • Depend on individual experts for each function
  • Focus team on overall project outcome
  • Help team members see beyond their individual contributions
  • Focus on project structure and cross-functional alignment
  • Confidently move between details and the big picture
  • See relationships between functional deliverables and show the team how these relationships affect launch
  • Represent cross-functional team to senior management
  • Deliver the right outcomes for the business and the customer

Source: Poof You’re a Project Manager and Other Delusions of Grandeur!

Given the differences between functional expertise and project management, different sets of skills and dispositions are required of project managers. Some of the most outstanding functional experts, struggle and are deeply unhappy within project management roles. However, others are wildly successful project managers.

Which are you?
We created an “Are You a Project Manager?” self-assessment designed to help you to self-reflect. This assessment is not rooted in scientific study or statistical projection – that’s not its purpose. Rather, its job it to a make you think about your strengths, weaknesses, passions and interests in relationship to the needs and demands of a project management position.

Take the “Are You a Project Manager?” Self-Assessment

2 thoughts on “Self Assessment: Is Project Management Right for Me?

  1. Sudarsan Kunhiraman

    Good article for some one thinking of getting to PM role.

    But these days, many organizations are looking for a PM who is not a generalist, but someone who can also contribute in DevOps, Digital, Cloud etc. The advantage of a generalist is that they can re-purpose their skills as need, but the disadvantage is that they cannot get ahead in career.

  2. admin Post author

    Thank you for your comment glad you liked the article. We agree that coming in as a generalist with little PM experience isn’t what a lot of companies are looking for. In our discussion about the differences between a core team member with a specific functional background vs. a project manager leading the cross-functional team meant that they would be coming into it with the requisite background. Looks like we could have been more clear about that. We agree that having knowledge in at least one of the areas within the project environment is necessary. Without that, the applicant would be looking at a project support role while they work to develop necessary functional expertise. Thanks!

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