Project Manager, a key figure in any company
22 de May de 2020
22 de May de 2020
Project Management is one of the fastest-growing business areas in the current market. Among other reasons, this boom is due to the fact that 21st Century companies increasingly have to embrace smart resource planning in order to achieve the objectives that have been set. So, who is in charge of overseeing this planning? The Project Manager. We talk to the Director of EAE’s EAE’s International Master in Project Management, , Marc Bara, who, as well as sharing his insight into the importance of this sought-after profession, also gives us an overview of the benefits of the Master and the innovative hybrid methodology it applies.
What role do Project Managers play in the modern economy and why do you think there has been such a boom in the field?
Project Management is increasingly considered to be a strategic branch of an organization’s general management. If we really want to adapt more effectively to each client’s needs, from contract to contract, and from client to client, every case is different. So, every project is unique. The current trend is clear: customers want something personalized, something unique. The old-school ‘cut and paste’ solution simply doesn’t work anymore.
We have to focus our organization, the way in which we generate our product and service, towards a project-based approach. Within this context, the role of the Project Manager is essential. They are the captain of the ship, steering all the organization’s resources to their destination. Whether it be through projects with an external client or internal projects, nowadays, organizations base the achievement of their objectives on the fact that these day-to-day projects achieve their goals, generate value and maximize their strategic position.
In view of the demand for this profile, what is required of an effective Project Manager nowadays? What are the new demands of the role in the world of 21st Century business?
The role of the Project Manager involves being responsible for the planning, execution, tracking and successful completion of a project. As such, all this is a central pillar of a company’s results. Not many companies can meet their expectations in terms of sales, profits, efficiency and productivity without well-trained Project Managers. A good Project Manager has to have skills, knowledge, techniques and strategies to generate value for their organization, in the critical task that they have been assigned.
Let’s not forget that these is a human team doing the work. So, we are talking about managing people and aptitudes as crucial as being a good communicator, and motivating and leading the team. A top Project Manager generates better morale, a greater sense of belonging and general professionalism among the team, as well as increasing productivity.
Some people say that, in reality, a good Project Manager has to be an influencer within their organization, as well as having 360º vision of everything ranging from what the customer wants to how we function internally. As such, they are an end-to-end figure, leading an initiative all the way from its conception to its closure. Therefore, Project Managers really need both strategic and tactical skills to make the project a success.
Leadership is a fundamental quality for any Project Manager. What other qualities would you highlight?
The skills required are increasingly demanding. The 21st Century constantly keeps throwing us challenges, from digital transformation to disruptive sectors and solutions, in a world that is generally accepted as VUCA (Volatile Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). Therefore, Project Managers have to be the adaptable and resilient figure who leads teams. Very recently, in this health crisis, it is becoming clear that with have to be experts in Risk Management and Prevention, as well as contingency measures. This will increasingly become an essential skill for this profile.
What methodology is applied on EAE’s International Master in Project Management to equip students with these tools and qualities? What skills do they develop on the program?
The Master has been a pioneer in the application of hybrid methodologies right from the outset, when it first began at the start of 2016, based on a combination of technologies for remote education, always with a high degree of interaction, and in-person periods for the students at key points of the program. In 2016, EAE Business School already detected the need among students for a customized, original methodology, embracing online tuition but in a more intensive way than had previously been the case. This methodology is based on practical case studies, combined with constant feedback from the lecturer through regular weekly webinars.
These real-time sessions deal with key concepts and students have the opportunity to share their progress and concerns with the group and the lecturer. Moreover, to focus on the competences that are harder to acquire in a remote learning format, the Master includes a two-week residential period, in this case in Madrid, where we get to meet each other in person.
We have gradually perfected this model since 2016, meaning that we are much better placed to tackle and overcome the challenges triggered by the health crisis in 2020.
What about the digital age? What impact has the increase in technology had on Project Management?
In the last few years, we have seen enormous growth in a huge number of applications and cloud-based services that provide support for working teams. Some focus solely on the communication side of things, while many others incorporate key features and aspects for Project Management, such as estimating resource consumption, establishing plans, measurable objectives, graphics of all kinds, etc. Nowadays, Project Managers have loads of resources and options that enable them to maximize the value generated by their team.
How does the Master equip students with the key digital competences? What software and programs are covered?
One of the fundamental pillars of the Master is the use of the leading tools in the industry. The clearest example of this is the Microsoft Project Professional software, which is included and gives students access to a completely operational educational licence that can be downloaded on various devices.to maximize the student experience, the Master includes an exclusive workshop on using this tool. However, there are others. We use quantitative risk analysis software, such as Palisade Decision Tools. Students also have access to a database of questions, to prepare for the PMP certification (Project Management Professional) of the Project Management Institute.
Last but not least, I would highlight the Project Management Game course, in which students take part in a simulation environment and put themselves in a Project Manager’s shoes.
Tell us about the experience of studying this Master with the Hybrid methodology. What benefits would you emphasize?
For students, the fundamental benefit, and even more so in the current situation, is to acquire the knowledge, tools and skills required to be a Project Manager, in the comfort of their own home. Our methodology facilitates knowledge format in this format, without forgetting that the remote learning is complemented with a residential period to interact with the group.
What about the residential experience? What does the students’ residential period in the city of Madrid involve?
Sharing experiences throughout the days of the residential period, which takes place halfway through the Master, enables us to consolidate our bond as a group. Up to that point, the students have been making a lot of effort at home and this is a good opportunity to get to know each other better and spend a few days of intensive learning and fun, not only with the other students but also with the lecturers. Over these days, the program focuses on activities in and outside the classroom. On the one hand, in the classroom, we take part in exercises to develop our soft skills, as well as workshops on technical knowledges (such as using the Microsoft Project software). Away from the classroom, there is a sightseeing tour of Madrid, company visits, networking event, teambuilding workshops around the city, etc.
To go into more detail, some of the key features are the emphasis on certain skills that we consider essential for any professional working in Project Management: leadership, interpersonal competences and innovation. Making the most of the in-person aspect of the period, we take a rewarding, practical and experiential approach to the residential period. For instance, there is a storytelling workshop, and another really successful session that consists of bringing together the group’s skills through a musical workshop, entitled ‘Music for Project Managers’, in which not only do students have to use their creativity, but they also have to lead a team, sharing and negotiating for resources.
It really is an intensive, fun period!
As well as being one of the qualifications currently in the highest demand, why would you recommend taking the International Master in Project Management at EAE Business School?
As we mentioned, EAE has implemented and validated this hybrid methodology since 2016. As a result, now in 2020, the methodology is now mature and yielding results. Most of the students plan to obtain the PMP certification when they finish the Master, and this has proven to be the best way to prepare for the examination. The entire student experience, with its realistic case studies, software tools, regular live webinars with the lecturer and a residential program, make this Master an excellent option, without forgetting that it is all taught lecturers with professional experience, both in-person and online, and a passion for teaching.
To find out more about EAE Business School’s International Master in Project Management, just click here!