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Managing the Project
By: Tom Roarty
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Being happy in your work goes a long way in being happy in your life, and I am now open to the fact that there is a seed to a positive work environment. Although in the past I have primarily been against project managers, I am willing to admit that the right person for the job can make all the difference in the world. However, until recently, I have only ever worked with one project manager that knew their job well enough to keep the work moving smoothly. That was so long ago that I had just about lost all of my faith in the position.
What I have found to be true over the years is that titles are a great incentive to get people on board for one task while making them think they are something completely different. For instance, a college graduate looking to make it in the advertising world may be reluctant to take on a personal assistant position, but if you re-label that job as something different, not only does it look good on a resume for the employee, but it also gets the employer what they want as well.
However, in some rare circumstances there comes a job description for a project manager that actually covers the responsibilities of the position and even more uncommon situations, that description is actually the job of the person hired for it. So who is qualified for a position that decides the workflow of many other positions? At my current job, the project manager was once a fellow designer.
Could there be a more perfect evolution to a career path for someone who has spent so much time at one company, because they love it, but at some point decided that they have reached every goal from the creative aspect they wanted to? I believe not. Imagine receiving scheduling direction from someone who had actually done the job in the past.
From the view of the designer, there is someone to know how much work you should be able to handle. There is also the ability to understand a client’s likes and dislikes through someone who has been there before you, which goes a long way toward making the process go smoother. From the perspective of management, it helps to have someone who can communicate on the level of both clients and designers, as well as give realistic deadlines...as opposed to guessing how long a job should take, which happens far too often with many other project managers I have encountered.
I am sure that my current PM is not the only good one in the industry, but this woman’s abilities in her position have made all of us better at our jobs, and, in doing so, has created a less stressful, happier environment. In all fairness, maybe the deconstruction of the project manager position is caused by those in charge who feel that since these people communicate between so many people that they would make good personal assistants, abandoning the fact that project managers are to oversee a project’s success as opposed to an individual’s needs.
No matter the reason, success is based on the individual, and if you’re not sure of what all the pieces do, applying for the position that holds them all together is probably not the best career path. That’s just my opinion.

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