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Why Project Management Skills Will be Key Post-Pandemic

This Liverpool Hope University course is equipping students with vital Project Management skills - which could prove essential for industry in post-pandemic Britain.   

Project management is taught to second year students enrolled on Hope’s Business Management undergraduate degree. 

And Dr Jan Green, Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow with the Liverpool Hope Business School, says that such expertise is going to be in huge demand in the wake of Coronavirus - and will present some unique career opportunities for graduates.

Dr Green is encouraging all Business Management students to attend a special Project Management Institute (PMI) webinar next week (full details below). 

And she says: “Project management is very specific - it’s about a precise goal or objective. And that’s why it’s a skill that’s going to be so critical in these turbulent times. 

“A lot of businesses are operating from a short term perspective. The main project for many will be to get back up and running later in the year, 

“The project might be, ‘What needs to be done to align with the latest regulations?’ It might be things like opening-up offices that were once closed, analysing the layout in light of changed requirements. 

“And Project Managers will have to work within specific timescales, while also looking at the resources required - which is mainly people with the relevant skills - as well as what it’s all going to cost. 

“You’re then also looking at the outcome of a project. With reorganising an office, for example, you might be looking at savings in rent, perhaps revising a lease for the longer term, as well as lowering costs like heating and lighting. 

“All in all, the demand for Project Managers is going to be much higher than at any point in the past decade.”

Dr Green says a given project tends to lay on top of a business’s normal operations. 

And that’s important, as graduates might find themselves working on a project in addition to their day job, or they might be seconded to a specific project. 

Some bigger operations - such as global firms or Government departments - might also have a dedicated Project Management office. 

And Dr Green suggests that more Project Managers will also be needed to combat changes to the typical working day caused by the pandemic. 

She explains: “Because of Covid-19 we now have a much greater dependence on technology. Which means there will be projects built around the implementation of tech, as well as training and adaptation. 

“It might be adapting retail staff from working on the shop floor to working in a warehouse packing online orders, for example. 

“It doesn’t mean that a given job disappears, it means the job changes. And managing a project through that period of change is going to be of great value to a business.

“Students need to have a good knowledge of Project Management if they’re to be prepared for the world of work.” 

Dr Green says the key to good project management is knowing the life cycle of a project, how to break down the work structure into manageable packages for individuals, identifying any risks, and knowing the potential benefits. 

She adds: “Those are the foundations of good project management, before you move on to look at budgeting, costs and payback. Then it’s about measuring targets, the importance of good communication, the sharing of information, and then asking yourself the question - ‘Have we delivered what we set out to deliver?’ as part of evaluation and closure.”

And there are particular skills which students will need if they’re to be part of a good Project Management team. 

Dr Green states: “You don’t necessarily need to be a creative thinker, per se - the creativity comes in deciding what the project is going to be in the first place. 

“Once that’s in place, it’s about analysis, the allocation of skills and resources, and the member of the project team should be limited to doing what they’re good at. 

“The Project Leader needs this helicopter view, dividing up the tasks appropriately and figuring out how long these tasks are going to take to complete. 

“You need critical path analysis, thinking about the most effective way to complete the project in the least amount of time. The leader needs to be a good manager and facilitator, as well as an excellent communicator, with people who are operating in different departments and different skills.

“Crucially, anyone looking to be involved in Project Management needs to understand that it’s a great thing for their CV as well as their future employability.”

Any Project Management leader also needs to recognise there’s the potential for conflict. 

Dr Green adds: “The key here is being able to report on progress with regular updates so that the communication channels are open and transparent, across the organisation and within the organisation. 

“It’s an absolutely critical skill.”

When it comes to the upcoming PMI webinar - which takes place Tuesday 23rd Feb, 12 noon - Dr Green says it’s a great opportunity not just for students to learn, but also to network. 

She reveals: “Networking is like the unadvertised job market. There will be project management professionals at this webinar, as well as employers, who will be looking for graduates to join their organisations. 

“It’s a great opportunity for students to put themselves out there, to learn how to e-communicate, and to actively participate - because this is the future of working life. 

“And any links made in these networking sessions will hold students in good stead in the future.”

 

** Business Management students are encouraged to attend a special online webinar - entitled ‘Best practice guidelines and templates for business cases’ - hosted by the Project Management Institute (PMI) on Tuesday 23rd Feb, between 12 and 1pm. 

 

This is an excellent opportunity to gain additional insights from a practitioner. 

 

To register in advance: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/888431095965245453

The webinar will: 

 

  • Set out and gain consensus of the direction of the project and scope from the senior
  • Justify the benefits and estimated costs.
  • Provide enough evidence that the money is worth being spent, allow funding to be agreed or will show that it is not worth doing which then prevents further money being wasted.
  • Makes sure the overall solution is agreed and that it will meet the business needs.

 

project management institute

 

 


Published on 22/02/2021