Within the next ten years, there will be more than 87.7 million professionals working as Project Managers, equivalent to the entire population of Germany specializing in the coordination of projects. These figures are taken from the report of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the organization with the primary mission is to foster networking opportunities between Project Managers, students and the business world.
The Business Networking session was organized by the PMI and chaired by the Director of the Master in Project Management at the Barcelona’s Campus of EAE Business School, Marc Bara, with the participation of three leading professionals in the field of Project Management. The experts gave the students their opinions and an explanation of how a good Project Manager operates and the skill set they need.
Jordi Armadá, the Property Manager of the Espai Barça, explained the challenge involved in coordinating a multi-project with various constructions on the go at the same time, from a new ice rink to remodelling the stadium and building new office blocks. This requires an extremely broad company organigram and poses huge challenges in terms of managing budgets and coordinating the work. At the Espai Barça, they are building a Project Management bank that will one day manage some of the currently projects under way.
Miguel Saiz, the Director of We Optimize, shared a more academic insight into the need to train as a Project Manager. Firstly, professionals need a common language, as it is crucial to be able to explain the project individually to another Project Manager. Without this training, all the processes in the project have to be explained from scratch. Moreover, Saiz emphasized that the statistics show that Project Managers really require training because, although certification is not essential at a national level, many foreign investment funds demand that professionals are qualified to oversee projects.
Creativity and understanding the point at which the company is currently at are two skills required to manage a project. Other key aspects for becoming a good Project Manager highlighted by Saiz included being able to reinvent yourself and reduce operations when required, as well as refocusing companies’ production models, using the example of Kodak.
José Pedro Bartivas, the Country Director of CYMIMASA, the company that coordinates the construction and maintenance of pipelines in Algeria, discussed the option of moving from one sector to another. “A good Project Manager has to be able to change from one sector to another, so a qualification in this specialist field is one of the key requirements”. Without accreditation, he emphasized that it would have been impossible to move between sectors as he has done. Armadá reiterated Bartivas’s point, adding that “in the end, a Project Manager’s skill is coordinating a project and the foundation they have is solid enough to manage any type of projects”.
All the speakers agreed that, in a changing world like the one we live in, the skills that certification as a Project Manager accredits are essential and increasingly valued in the professional world, making this a profession in growing demand and making certification such as the program run by EAE a real asset.
For junior profiles that have just graduated from the School or are still studying, the experts recommended speaking at least two foreign languages and starting to get involved in projects with the help of a mentor who can enable you to get the most out of the training. In José Pedro’s opinion, a lack of passion and initiative is one of the main problems he has found with junior profiles. Jordi added that, although it is a hard industry to break into, a keen professional will always have lots of opportunities.