How is a project manager different from just a manager?

Thinking about taking your career to the next level, and stepping up to leadership? There’s a lot of different pathways for supervisors and managers. Depending on your industry, it’s not always as simple as climbing a ladder.

If you’ve got big ideas and you like working with people, chances are you’re interested in management. But what type of management? A quick search on any careers site or jobs board will give you a ton of job titles with ‘management’ in them, from product management to facilities management and more. One of the job titles you’ll see a lot of, however, is project management.

Project management is one of the fastest growing types of management fields. In fact, as Australia transitions to more of a service economy, project managers will be more in demand than ever. Here’s what you need to know about project management, and how it’s a bit different from other options you may have considered.

What’s the difference?

General management is about all of the operations of a business. This means day to day stuff, like making sales and managing staff. They need to be disciplined with routine tasks like budgeting, training, rostering, reporting, and more.

Project management means overseeing projects that have a clear goal and a deadline. That’s not to say that general managers never do project work, but project managers have special skills that help them lead groups of people to get things done right, on time, and on budget. General managers might work on all different areas of a business, while project managers zoom in on things like new products, organisational changes, construction, and improvement works.

The exciting thing about project management is that you get a great sense of achievement, but there’s always something new to do. It’s the ideal pathway if you never want to feel like you’re stuck in a loop.

What skills do project managers need?

Project managers need a big-picture mindset. They need to be able to see a goal and a deadline, and break down what’s needed to make it come together. PMs need analytical skills to guard against risk and keep things on track.

Communication skills are critical. PMs need to be able to understand a range of different stakeholders with different preferences, personalities, needs – often even different linguistic backgrounds. They need to be able to get messages across efficiently, so everyone’s on the same page.

The great thing about these skills is that they’re transferrable to a range of different industries. As a PM, while you might learn the systems and processes of a particular client or employer, your core skills will work anywhere from the arts to construction.

Why study project management?

Like other skilled jobs, you need background knowledge before you start working on something. Project management is a highly evolved area of theory, with lots of different ideas and systems floating around. By studying while you’re working (or before you start working), you get a sense of what theories work for you, and why you’re doing things a particular way.

To find out what it’s like to study project management with Monarch Institute, get a course brochure and some sample study materials today. Call us on 1300 738 955.