Project Management

What's in Your Project Management Tool Belt?

From the Taking the Plunge Blog
In case you actually read this description, the beginning of the blog is about preparing for the PMP exam. It then evolved into maintaining my credential. After taking a break for a few years, I'm back and will be blogging about project management, in general, and probably a bit of agile on a regular basis.

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Categories: Project Management

What does a Project Manager need to know about Project Management?

Don't worry, this isn't a job interview; it's okay to say "It depends."

It seems like, once you get past a core set of skills, there is a lot of variation, between companies, when it comes to what is expected of a Project Manager.  I've also noticed a lot of variation in what is expected of a Project Manager from different employees within the same company.  A starting point might include the following:

  • Communicating effectively across all levels of an organization
  • Facilitating meetings
  • Documenting and managing project tasks/schedule (often using software that displays a WBS and Gantt chart)
  • Identifying/managing risks and issues
  • Managing project scope changes
  • Creating status reports/dashboards
  • Various "soft" skills

The longer you work as a Project Manager, the more important it becomes that you understand the nature of work and how it can be accomplished.  You also need to understand the culture and structure of the organization you work in to choose the best approach to successfully accomplish the work to be performed.  Here are some areas to study:

  • Agile/Kanban/Lean
  • Scaling Agile
  • DevOps
  • Waterfall (in its various forms)
  • Six Sigma
  • Organizational Change Management
  • Project Portfolio Management
  • Benefits Realization Management

As a PMP, I feel a little obligated to say that you need to know the PMBOK, but I also feel the need to point out that it is the PMBOK Guide, emphasis on 'Guide.'  There are also other approaches, such as Prince2, that may be more relevant to your career.  Knowing what is relevant to your career is more important than using the topics I've mentioned as a checklist for things you need to know.

The point of having a tool belt is to be able to know how to use the tools you need based on the situation you are in, not to use every tool you have.  So, here's a question for the rest of you - reply in the comments section - what else, in your experience, do Project Managers need to know?

Posted on: March 21, 2019 05:10 PM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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It’s all about selecting the right tool for the project.

It’s all about selecting the right tool for the project.

Very Informative post. Good Points are noted. Thanks for sharing it.

Very good. Thank you.

From my point of view is not only the nature of the work...also the nature of the team is key to adapt and tailor all our knowledge and skills to ensure a successful go-live.

Thank you for sharing!

Knowing different tool is important but it's right application in right situation is very important. Understanding of requirement relevent to your career gives right direction to study new tool.

Thanks Aaron for sharing interesting insights !!

Thank you. I think as a project manager it is also important to have business and strategic management knowledge.

Thank you

I think Project Managers should also ensure everyone on the team knows what the finish line looks like and has the same understanding of what the outcome/result should be.

During my PMP Bootcamp I remember hearing the phrase "If the book says the sky is green, than on the test the sky is green."

In essence, as Project Managers we are given a plethora of tools -- some of which we'll never use in our career. It's about knowing which tool to use when, and perhaps more importantly, how to use that tool correctly.

This is where the concept of tailoring comes into play. It is all about selecting the right tools for the job. It is not about forcing the project to fit certain tools.

Dear Aaron
Interesting reflection on the topic
Thanks for sharing

The view that I have the project manager is similar to the conductor of an orchestra.
You don't need to be an expert in playing an instrument (although it helps a lot), but you do need to know music)

Written or written, I believe that the project manager, besides knowing the business, the strategy, the clients and the offer (products and services) of the company should:
- Have a holistic view of the processes and knowledge areas (of course, inputs, techniques and tools and outputs) covered in the PMBOK Guide.
- Tailor the process and knowledge areas to your project (tailoring)
- Know leadership and management tools and apply them to project management

Thanks for sharing this informative post. However I use Bridge24 for all of my project management tools. It will help you delegate tasks with more control towards the goal by keeping the track of work done and the productivity of the team. So, I recommend this toll to everyone.
Here I attached link
. Visit once

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