Why did you become a project manager?

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Until more recently becoming a project manager was more often a need for an organization or manager to fill a void or immediate requirement than it was a career choice by an individual employee. Often an employee was given the 'opportunity' to lead a project because the role needed to be filled and they were available or showed the leadership skills. It didn't mean, however, that their regular duties were abandoned...often it was just another hat to wear.

That may still be the case in some organizations, though a majority now have PMOs and fairly well-defined PM roles. It's more of a career path than an accidental fork in the road.

So what path led you to becoming a project manager?

For me it was tiring of sitting at a desk coding all day combined with an opportunity to lead highly visible projects on the same government contract that I was already very familiar with as a developer. And I never looked back.

Tell us your story. Was it a choice? Was it forced on you? Is it a career move...a permanent switch? Or just a temporary role? Let's discuss...
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For me, there was an opportunity that suddenly arisen within the organisation for a Projects role and I grabbed it by the horns! I was in telecom sales (hated it) and wanted to move into Ops work more and this 'new' opportunity gave me the move away from sales I craved.

It was pure fluke that the opportunity came up and I was about to leave the company proir to finding out about the new projects position going.

After settling into the role for a few years, I then needed a more demanding role within the projects team and I actually took my manager to one side and said that I wanted to get involved more within the company. Next thing I know, I was in our projects PMO and here I am now sat next to the Delivery Manager as I type this.

The moral of my Projects storey is, show willing, put yourself forward and explore ALL opportunities that arise within the organisation.
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Hi Brad,

I'm an accidental project manager. In my early career I was operational, responsible for the import and export of freight worldwide. In the mid-1990s I was given responsibility for moving my company from manual based systems to IT based systems. I didn't know it then, but this was my first business project. I was given responsibility for transitioning all systems to a new IT system, ensuring there was no downtime and overseeing staff training. I was working within the constraints of time, cost and quality.

I'm pleased to say the project was a complete success and grabbed the software vendor's attention who offered me a job as a business consultant. It would have been more accurate to have called the job project manager, because that's what it was. After a sale, I worked with the client and a team of developers to understand the client's needs and configure, develop, test and deploy the application and associated processes.

At this point I left operations behind and realised my new career path was in project management. At this time it wasn't seen as a careers choice, but more of a bolt on to your day job. It's only in recent times it has emerged as a viable careers choice.

Since then I've passed PRINCE2 Practitioner, PMP and Certified Scrum Master certifications. All have provided valuable learning and toolkits I use. The rise of certifications has coincided with organisations realising project management is a role in itself, not just a bolt on to somebody's other duties.

I'm a full-time project manager specialising in IT project management. It's challenging, but never boring. I sometimes miss the immediacy and buzz of operations, but overall I'm proud to call myself a project manager.

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I wont lie to you here... the money first interested me in the department. Each company is different but you hear of people earning 100k+ (more for contracting).

I was very lucky in that by the time I realised its not a job anyone can handle I was already loving the challenge and the fact that every day is a different issue to overcome. Just being an assistant I am still holding out for the big money but I am just very lucky it turned out to be the right choice even though for the wrong reasons!
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