BlogCareersWhat Does a Project Manager Do?

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Have you ever considered a career as a Project Manager, but aren’t entirely sure what the job entails?

Don’t fret, we’ve got you! We’ve chatted with an industry professional about all the things you could possibly want to know about project management.

Let’s dive in!  

Meet Adriana
What is a Project Manager?
Steps to Becoming a Project Manager
Future Outlook
Best Thing & Worst Thing
Advice for Aspiring Project Managers

Meet Adriana

Adriana Musić currently works as a Project Manager for Present Company. But this company isn’t the only one that’s had the chance to utilise her talent — she’s had the opportunity to both study and work abroad in Paris!

How did you end up in this role? 

“I work with Present Company. They are a strategy lead advertising agency — they incorporate a wide breadth of disciplines: design, development, accounts, and social media. I sit on the tech team with around 15 designers and developers,” Adriana tells us. 

Studies and Experience 

Project Manager - Interviewee Quote

Adriana then had the chance to take up an undergrad student exchange with HEC Paris, which is a specialised business school. She also undertook a Masters of Management at a university in Paris, which was the first time she was introduced to Project Managing as a subject.

With project management in mind, she ended up studying a relevant course — which she really enjoyed. This led to her landing an internship and her first project manager role in Paris. 

From these experiences, she learned to liaise with contacts and work on a smaller scale. She just kept moving on and over to one role after the other!

What made you want to work in this industry?

“I Initially had an interest in this role after it was introduced to me while studying abroad,” Adriana reveals.

Sometimes, like Adriana, you don’t exactly know what you want to pursue while you’re still in uni, but from broadening your horizons, you might find something that just clicks! 

What is a Project Manager?

The role of Project Manager is a versatile and highly social role — they have the responsibility of planning, developing, monitoring and finalising a project. A project manager will work on developing a task, brief or idea from its fruition to its finalisation!

Roles and Responsibilities 

There are many different hats that a Project Manager will wear. From the advent to the finalisation of a project, a Project Manager will oversee it all!

“My day to day revolves around a client bringing in a brief — an example of this could be working out how the client can improve the quality of student satisfaction at a certain University. I take this brief and try to understand how to make this happen,” says Adriana.

“As a project manager, you work as the glue between all these different people and departments, trying to push towards a solution. I will prepare quotes, liaise with all the different stakeholders to ensure they are satisfied and their needs are being met.” 

“It’s kinda like if you’re working on a group assignment, you as the Project Manager pulls the role of asking everyone ‘Hey, have you done your bit yet?’. You will be pulling everyone together to talk and develop,” she adds. 

Which industries can this career be found in?

The industries in which the role of Project Manager can be found in are endless! You can find project managers in advertising agencies and corporate affairs — even not-for-profit organisations have Project Managers on their teams. 

Characteristics and Qualities 

Project Manager - Skills

As a project manager, it is imperative that you are an excellent communicator. Skills such as speaking, reading comprehension and active listening will be ones you become an expert at!

You will also need to have a clerical knowledge and be comfortable with customer service, since you’ll be working with many different clients and stakeholders. 

Some of your activities will include planning and prioritising work, building relationships and communicating within a team. 

Steps to Becoming a Project Manager

What should you study? 

To become a Project Manager there are no formal qualifications needed — however, they do help with getting your foot into the door. Graduating with a Bachelor of Business, Commerce, or any other business-related field will be highly beneficial!

Check out the following Business and Commerce degrees to learn more:

 

How long does it take to become a Project Manager?

Once you’ve graduated from university, you may be able to secure a position as a Junior Project Manager. Depending on if you choose to study a degree at a university, your undergrad studies may take 3 to 4 years to complete!

Industry Knowledge

“You won’t particularly have to use the software itself, but it helps to have an understanding of the software that the people working around you will use — try and get a user based knowledge! You don’t need to get deep into them, but it will be helpful. I essentially live on the phone or in my email inbox,” Adriana tells us.

There are many different softwares you will get across as a Project Manager, from design softwares to planning and project management tools such as monday.com, which helps to improve team processes.

What will this career look like in the future?

How in-demand is this career?

Currently there are 116,700 individuals commencing this career in Australia. Since this job is so versatile and can fit into so many sectors, such as construction, information technology, architecture and events management, there is a high-demand for it!

In some instances, staff who don’t actually have the formal qualifications for the roles are finding themselves having to assume those responsibilities.

Are there opportunities to grow or specialise? 

Once you’ve had a sufficient amount of experience as a project manager, you could potentially progress to a senior project management role. And from a senior role, you could even work towards the following:

    • Management consultant
    • Portfolio manager
    • Head of projects

Salary

Annual SalaryFuture GrowthSkill Level Rating
$86,000+Stable over the next 5 yearsHigh skill

Influential Trends

Project managers of the future will need to be people who not only have the technical skills to do the job, but also soft skills. It’s no longer about being an expert at just one thing, but being multi-skilled and able to adapt!

Another trend to keep an eye on is the increasing diversity of project management teams. Essentially, teams will not just consist of full-time workers within the existing company, but project managers will be able to consider hiring temporary workers for projects, such as freelance and contract workers.

The ability to diversify teams will create different dynamics between team members, which project managers will need to learn to adjust to.

The Future of this Industry

“I think it feels like the next wave of change will occur soon! We will rapidly have more hyper-personalisation of content — maybe it will start to push a different way,” Adriana says. 

Hyper-personalisation refers to pushing relevant content to customers, which is specifically curated for them. It requires knowing your audience really well, and recommending products or services that the customer will actually be interested in!

Best Thing & Worst Thing

What do you enjoy most about this job?

“I think specifically to working with agencies, I love the challenges! You get thrown these ambiguous briefs and feel as though you are able to thrive and accomplish with a team. You can meet some lovely, funny and kooky people along the way,” Adriana says. 

What do you feel is the worst part of this job?

“You can expect really long hours. If you’re not careful you can really experience burnout,” Adriana tells us. 

With any role that you find yourself in, it’s important to prioritise your well-being and ensuring that you have an adequate work-life balance. 

Advice for Aspiring Project Managers 

What do you wish you had known before you started working in this career?

Nothing is permanent — you can always shift and change. You don’t need to have it all figured out,” Adriana says. 

If you decide to start a career in project management, you don’t have to just stick to one industry! The beauty of being a project manager means that you can dip your toe into many different industries because the skills are transferrable, so you can find yourself managing a whole variety of projects.

Why should people consider taking on this career?

“It is a really fascinating introduction to the online and tech world. You really get to experience the full breadth of the company — you really are able to gain lots of experiences from the beginning to the end of a project,” Adriana explains.

Job Flexibility 

“There is absolutely room for flexibility! I have been working from home for the past nine monthsthough it is doable it is not the most optimal. As a Project Manager it is so much easier to read a person when speaking face-to-face,” she says.

What is the workplace culture like?

“This environment has a very young, fun and cheeky culture. This is quite specific to an advertising agency though! Everyone is very hard working,” Adriana tells us.

If you’re looking towards a career in Project Management, we hope this article has helped you weigh your options!


Matilda Elliott is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and a Communication graduate with a major in Journalism at Western Sydney University. You can find some of her published work in a range of platforms including SBS World News, The Music Network and within her own creative exploits with her twin sister. Matilda is a lover of listening, helping people to tell their stories, making genuine connections, clowning around in her circus troupe and dancing like no one is watching at live music shows!

 

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