The recession and consequent competitive job market has caused many individuals to question the skills and subjects that they learned at university, and to consider whether it would be worth embarking on another course of study to make themselves more employable. Many are looking at the prospect of business or management courses as a means to better prepare themselves for career opportunities of tomorrow. So what exactly is project management (PM)? And why is it such an important skill to learn?
Project management, at least in business terms, is the undertaking of planning and organizing of resources, staff and time with the aim of successfully completing the goals of a project. Of course this can vary from company to company, but PM is usually discussed in terms of manufacturing and / or selling a certain product, or ensuring that a business' services are marketed and promoted in a given time. Over the past 20 or so years efficient project management has become more and more integral to businesses or companies dealing with a large staff and a time frame.
Consequently, many business and management courses at both degree and foundation level involve a certain amount of study devoted to PM – and there are even training courses unique to specific types of project management, such as PRINCE2 in the UK. Like PRINCE2, many project management methods and systems have become established in along the gradual growth of IT-dependent companies who store more of their data digitally and work in close proxity to networked computer systems.
Courses that deal with project management, therefore, not only teach you how to use the latest technology for the job, but also focus on the more consistent aspects such as how to work with clients and stakeholders and how to manage small and larger teams. Unsurprisingly, mathematical and budgeting skills will likely be developed in order to manage costs in relation to quality, time and the scope of the project.
Project management will also likely cover aspects of business that can be utilized in other areas and through life. This includes such skills as communications – in regards to representing yourself and the company in front of prospective clients and customers, and risk assessment in terms of finances and the well-being of those involved.