I’m often asked what it is I like about being a project manager.
It’s a tough question to answer, only because I simply can’t narrow it down to just one thing.
I love the team aspect of leading projects and project teams, the pay is great, and I really enjoy setting and accomplishing goals.
But there’s far more to it than that, so I’ve put together a list of the 10 best things about being a project manager. Check it out.
1. Project Managers Are in Charge
Well, sort of. Some would argue that the project sponsor and the stakeholders are actually in charge, and I wouldn’t begin to argue with that.
But running the project, from the initiation phase to delivery and completion, is in your purview as PM. You often have final say on how the project should be executed and are responsible for ensuring that it runs smoothly and that deliverables meet expectations.
That can be a very rewarding reality.
2. Project Managers Get to Utilize Creativity
I’m always looking for new and better ways to do things, and I’ve found ample opportunity to get creative on my projects.
Project management is an excellent place to lean into your creative side and explore ideas for making projects better.
3. Project Managers are Problem-Solvers
This one ties in a bit with the creativity line above, because creative problem-solving is a very real part of my day-to-day project management reality.
There’s a lot of planning and organization that goes into project management, and being thorough on both fronts can go a long way toward solving problems that arise throughout your projects. And make no mistake — problems will arise!
You also won’t be able to foresee all of them and have contingency plans in place for every eventuality.
Enter: Creative Problem-Solving.
You might have to make up and try out solutions on the fly, and you’ll use a combination of your planning, organization, communication, and risk management skills to solve problems along the way.
4. Project Management is Team-Oriented
I really enjoy being part of a team that is collectively focused on the same goal.
Having the opportunity to lead and manage that team is even more rewarding!
As a project manager, you get to continually develop your teamwork skills and help others do the same. You’ll learn how to become a better manager, a better leader, and a better teammate.
5. Project Managers are Always Learning
I’m always curious and looking to learn new things, and project management is a great fit for me in that particular area of my life.
As a PM, you don’t have to be THE subject-matter expert on everything related to the projects you manage. But you do need to know enough to understand what your subject-matter experts are doing and how to help them execute and deliver on the project goals.
In addition, you’re just always learning new and better ways to manage projects; the field of project management itself is constantly evolving, so there’s no shortage of new materials and ideas to explore.
And let’s not sugarcoat it — some projects fail, despite our best efforts as PMs. Those failures are also great learning opportunities.
Combine all of that with the knowledge and lessons learned you can gain from every single project you manage, and it’s easy to see how being a project manager can expand your personal knowledge base.
Think of it as constant on-the-job training!
6. Project Management Can Expand Your Social and Cultural Horizons
I’ve been extremely lucky to get to travel in my role as project manager, which is a fantastic way to explore different parts of the world and to meet new people.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with remote teams comprised of individuals from many different countries.
The opportunities to learn more about other cultures and share experiences has been exceptional and life-changing in many ways.
I’ve come to understand a little bit better just how much bigger the world is than my small corner.
I’ve developed friendships, experienced new foods, new music, and new ways of seeing the world … all thanks to project management!
7. Project Management Pays Well
You might notice that pay is relatively low on my list, but that’s only because I find so much gratifying about being a PM that it is rarely top of mind.
There’s no denying, though, the pay can be great!
As you work your way up and gain more and more experience, you’ll have opportunities to work on larger, higher-impact projects, many of which come with larger, higher-impact paychecks.
8. Project Managers Get to Help Others
I get a lot of satisfaction from helping others reach their goals and succeed, and as a PM, there’s no shortage of opportunities to do just that.
Among the larger objectives you’ll take on as a project manager involves setting up your project for success.
In order to do that effectively and consistently, it’s important to focus on setting up your project team for success.
That involves helping the members of your team as they work toward their parts of the overall project goal.
In addition, just by working on and delivering the project, you’re helping your project sponsor, stakeholders and/or customer achieve their goals.
Helping others get where they’re trying to go can make your work as a PM worthwhile.
9. Project Management Can Bring About Variety
I feel fortunate that I’m regularly working on different types of projects. The variety keeps things interesting and keeps me growing and learning.
Even during a stretch of my career where I was regularly managing software development projects, each separate project was unique in some way, despite the fact they were all software-related.
If you enjoy that type of shifting landscape, project management can be an excellent fit. There are so many different fields that project management crosses into, and the demand for project managers is growing larger all the time.
10. Project Managers Get to See Things Through
Seeing something through to completion brings me a lot of satisfaction.
Whether it’s a project I’ve undertaken in my home, in my garden, or in my work, I love checking off list items and delivering finished products.
Being a project manager can really amp up that reality, as you’re constantly working toward a finish line.
Not every career offers the opportunity to start something significant and see it through, and then do it all over again.
There are so many great things about being a project manager that it’s incredibly difficult to narrow the benefits down to just a few.
In this article, I’ve laid out my 10 favorite things about being a PM in hopes that some of them might inspire you and give you some things to think about, whether you’re considering entering the field or already a successful project manager.
What would you add to the list?