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The Basics of Project Management

Businesses, organizations and government agencies grow and evolve by planning and executing projects. Ensuring the success of those projects falls to project managers (PM) who must have a wide range of skills. Project managers are expected to deliver results on time and on budget, all while overseeing a project team.

In Northern Kentucky University’s online Master of Business Administration, you can learn the skills required for effective project management.

A Look at Project Management

A project is defined as a unique and temporary task that has defined goals and a set deadline. Project managers must work within a predefined set of resources that may include a budget and project team. A project is distinctly different from a routine operation.

Here are a few examples of projects a PM might oversee:

  • Construction of roads and bridges
  • Development of new software programs
  • The launch of new clothing lines
  • Relief efforts following a natural disaster
  • The release of new pharmaceuticals

Project managers must have a wide range of skills and industry-specific knowledge to meet project requirements. Each industry has unique requirements for PMs, but, in general, project managers follow five basic steps:

  1. Initiating: The initiation phase involves hiring or mobilizing the project team, setting up the project headquarters, and defining the goals and scope of the project.
  2. Planning: The planning phase involves mapping out steps and benchmarks the team will follow throughout the project. Careful planning can help a project team manage time, cost and risk.
  3. Executing: The execution phase takes the most time and involves following the steps laid out in the planning phase. Execution is the most management-intensive phase.
  4. Monitoring: Monitoring is conducted concurrently with execution and involves continually assessing progress and making adjustments as needed. PMs are expected to update upper management on progress throughout the execution phase.
  5. Closing: The final phase of a project is delivering the product or service that was promised. The disbanding of project teams and delivery of final reports takes place during this phase.

Project managers have many of the same important traits and skills as business managers. PMs work within defined timeframes, though, and these specialized managers must deliver the promised goods or services as promised.

Salary and Job Outlook for Project Managers

The average annual salary for a project manager in Kentucky is $75,474, according to Glassdoor (July 2019).

Glassdoor estimates the average salaries for related specializations across the United States:

  • IT project manager ($97,000)
  • Project coordinator ($51,000)
  • Project management ($75,000)
  • Senior project manager ($94,000)
  • Assistant project manager ($67,000)

The Project Management Institute predicts that demand for project managers will grow significantly over the next 10 years and beyond. A study by the Anderson Economic Group examined 11 countries and predicted that, through 2027, the project management labor force will grow by 33%. Worldwide, an additional 88 million people in project management-related roles will be needed, especially in countries with growing economies.

Gain the Skills Needed to Thrive As a Project Manager

NKU’s online MBA teaches the managerial and organizational skills needed to succeed as a project manager. The AACSB-accredited program covers the relevant curriculum in a flexible format. In addition to core classes, the 100% online program enables students to concentrate on areas such as finance, leadership, marketing and more.

The global market has a growing need for skilled business professionals who can oversee a wide variety of projects. NKU’s online MBA prepares students to become successful project managers in a format that meets their personal needs and professional goals.

Learn more about Northern Kentucky University’s online MBA program.


PMI: What Is Project Management?

PMI: Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2027

Glassdoor: Project Manager Salaries in Kentucky

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