If you’ve ever wondered whether a career in project management could be for you, check out this article! One of our remote employees, Anna, took us through what this role involves, the good and the bad that come along with it, and finally, how it can truly be a rewarding career choice.
What does it mean to be a Project Manager?
As a Project Manager, you will play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. You will ensure that the project scope is well defined, that your team is made of people with the right skill set and knowledge for that specific project, and that you have available resources to work with.
In this role, your day is really what You make it. It is the initiative-taking and proactive attitude that keeps you going – it is not the type of job or mentality to just passively wait for things to happen. You make it happen – and I can guarantee it is rewarding!
Having said this, planning, structure, and organisation are very important on a day-to-day basis. Project planning would for example, involve talks with the project requestor/ sponsor and stakeholders for you to get the information needed to define the project scope, build the project timeline, and agree on a delivery date. Project management means constant monitoring of the progress and taking corrective actions should some things go against the plan or change due to enforced regulations, customer needs, or limited budget, to name a few examples.
Simultaneously, it is good to be aware that working in a dynamic industry (such as iGaming) means there is a dose of unexpected turnarounds and situations which require leadership skills, negotiations, decision-making and eventually experience in order to eliminate or minimize the impact on your project.
Effective communication with all the stakeholders to ensure solid information flow, common understanding, and transparency is crucial in this role. Moreover, by adding your positive personal touch to it, you can also manage to keep a good vibe within the project team, which is amazing and fun.
What are traits that are key to thrive in this position?
As a Project Manager, you will be leading your team from start of the project to finish. For that reason, you need to be a good leader who is able to motivate the project team to perform at their best throughout, making sure all team members have a clear understanding of what the expectations are.
In this role, you will come across different personalities – some people may be very easy to work with, whereas others will require a completely different approach. Therefore, being adaptable and good at building relationships will enable you to succeed in this opportunity. Moreover, being a good listener allows you to better understand stakeholders’ needs and therefore, the project requirements.
Curiosity and a thirst for knowledge will help you develop in various areas, not necessarily directly related to the project you work with. But since the projects’ nature and focus vary from one to another, your knowledge gained through curiosity can inspire ideas, drive smart solutions, contribute to the current project, or simply play a key part in one of your future projects.
Taking all the above, I would say it is important for the Project Manager is to be competent but humble, acknowledging that you are not an expert in every field, but you have the ability to ask for help whenever it is needed.
It is good to remember that achievements are success of the whole team, and it is great to celebrate these moments together. We at Hero, put an emphasis on that, be it a cheerful announcement on the group chat, a team event, or even a company trip!
What are the main challenges you will be faced with in this role? Any tips you can share on how to mitigate these challenges?
During busy times, the number of tasks, activities to manage and things to remember increase greatly and may be overwhelming. What can help is if you are good at prioritising, are organized and take advantage of the project management tools. You need to follow up regularly on the matters related to the project, which in some cases means literally ‘chasing’ and ‘bugging’ the stakeholders. With the right approach and good communication skills, it doesn’t have to feel that way though 😉 Some other challenges that you can come across:
- Unrealistic deadlines. Frequent monitoring of the deadlines by the Project Manager is a must. Impeccable planning, proper communication of the real-time progress to the main stakeholders and keeping track of important dates are some of the things you can do to ensure deadlines are met.
- Unclear requirements or scope creep (increase of project’s requirements over a project lifecycle). Proactively engaging with the stakeholders during the planning phase can help get their exact requirements as well as understand their expectations. Any ad-hoc change request needs to be evaluated, how it will benefit the project vs. effect on the time/resources/ budget etc.
- Limited resources are another example. Some of my suggestions on how to overcome (or prevent this) would be: identify the resources required to complete a project, write a contingency plan, monitor your project resources throughout the project, identify the situation and its impact (should you encounter resource deprivation), confront the situation and options with the decision-making body.
Are there any perks that usually revolve around this role?
iGaming is a fast-paced industry, the success of which depends on technology and innovation. You will feel the dynamics and it will for sure motivate you to keep learning and perhaps expand your interests too. I can assure that naturally, you will get to know everyone in the company and these people will inspire you, challenge you, push you out of your comfort zone and make you laugh too. This role allows you to be in the ‘centre’ of initiatives and projects that can become real game-changers for the company or industry – and surely contribute to it. It is a very exciting role to grow into.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start in this career? Any suggested courses? How can they get into this job? How will they know that they will love this job?
I was lucky to be given an opportunity and trust to start and build upon the Project Manager role within the company. So, if you are in a similar situation and want to grow into this role in your company (either such an opportunity opened up or you are showing your readiness), I would suggest speaking with your direct manager first. She/ he will be able to you support you and guide you on how to best achieve this goal. In the meantime, you could focus on ‘building the fundaments’ and ‘pumping up’ your CV by taking specialised courses like PRINCE, which are widely recognized, but you can find many supportive courses online, which can give you a solid understanding of what Project Management is and prepare you to succeed in this role.
You could also get yourself involved in an initiative at your current job, proving and improving your skills required to be a great Project Manager. Or maybe there is an opportunity for an internship, which will be your first step into starting a new career. There is always something you can do and it is important to take that first step and focus on the goal you want to achieve.
I held several different positions, and at some point, I finally realized which career path I want to take and dedicate my future to. I was sure this is ‘the one’ but it turned out not to be what I expected and eventually, it got me into where I am today – Project Management.
You will easily identify if what you do at that point in time is right for you. When it drives your motivation, encourages you to develop, makes you happy and most of all – gives you a sense of achievement.
Anna GaleaSenior Project Manager