Are you highly organized? Do you find yourself paying strict attention to detail, perhaps more than your peers? If so, you might have an in-demand skill set—project management.
More and more organizations are realizing project management is essential. Consult with anyone who has ever embarked on a project without a project manager to learn why. Here are just a handful of reasons why the lack of a good project manager can quickly result in bad business:
- Key milestone dates quickly start getting missed.
- Communication between departments suffers.
- People and teams start pointing fingers, blaming one another for problems.
- Money gets wasted on expensive outside agencies and scrapped work.
And once everyone realizes what’s going on, bringing in a project manager midway through the process means an outsider cleaning up a giant mess. The project’s launch date will likely be rolled back multiple times, and cynicism will surround the eventual product.
Starting a project with a project manager can prevent these types of issues from ever coming up in the first place. So what do project managers look like, and how do you know if that’s you? According to 120VC, a leadership and change management training company, these are some key characteristics of a project manager:
- Project managers are achievers who have a founder’s mentality.
- Project managers care about people, value and invest in teamwork, lead through service, and are voracious learners.
- Project managers are self-starters with high emotional intelligence and a positive attitude.
- Project managers are articulate and have grit.
Sound familiar? Let’s take a look at what a project manager does.
Crunching the Numbers
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations that invest in project management waste 13 times less money. CIO magazine agrees, calling project management key to “staying within budget.” Meanwhile, according to TechRepublic, demand for project managers will likely only increase going forward, with artificial intelligence causing a spike in project management jobs.
So what does this mean for you? With a certification highlighting your project management skills, you’ll get noticed by hiring managers. Having proved yourself in this space, you’ll get better responses to job applications, more job offers and opportunities, and better maneuverability once you land a job. With that come the basics: job security, a steady income, pride in your career, and more.
Introducing Six Sigma
A great way to document and prove your abilities as a project manager is through Six Sigma courses and certification, which tests you on a set of techniques and tools for process improvement.
Introduced in 1980 by American engineer Bill Smith while he was working at Motorola, Six Sigma became central to the business strategy at General Electric by 1995 thanks to the company’s then-CEO, Jack Welch, championing the system. After GE’s success with Six Sigma, companies around the world adopted and still use the system today.
Basically, engaging in Six Sigma means striving for perfection, or the assurance that 99.99966 percent of products or services are delivered perfectly. Its initial application was in manufacturing—specifically, in working toward making parts absolutely free of defects. But over time, Six Sigma’s philosophical thrust came to apply to all aspects of management, including project management.
Professional organizations such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ), Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), and Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) offer Six Sigma courses, and it’s taught in dozens of colleges, but career training centers, such as New Horizons Career Development Solutions, offer a quicker way to get certified.
Taking the Test
Taking tests can be nerve-wracking—but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s what to expect while you prepare for your Six Sigma certification test.
A good training program will thoroughly prepare you, and when you combine it with some self-study, you’ll be well set to redefine your career. So you’ll start with a training program, either through an association, a university, or New Horizons Career Development Solutions. You’ll follow up with copious amounts of self-study.
Six Sigma courses teach students to reduce waste and variation within any organization’s critical processes—which is any industry delivering products or services. With Six Sigma skills in tow, you’ll prove yourself to be an asset to organizations, helping them benefit from increased revenue and stakeholder satisfaction, not to mention lower costs as a result of reductions in product defects, overproduction, process wait times, inventory errors, and more.
Your final step toward achieving Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification is taking the test, of course. The test is a combination of a multiple-choice exam and a performance-based test, or project, which most students complete within six months. For the Six Sigma project, you’ll measure the cost benefit that comes with improving processes that are currently creating substandard products or services. The goal of the project is to produce statistically significant improvements in order to create a virtually defect-free product or service. Finally, you’ll submit your project to an instructor for approval and grading.
Your Career Outlook
The outlook for a career in project management is good, if not great. According to PMI, 1.5 million new project management jobs have been created yearly during the last decade. Why is the professional role growing so much? Well, as companies are beginning to adopt an agile development framework, they’re looking at project managers as the professionals to get them there. More broadly, tech companies and other big companies are looking to insulate themselves in a continually changing political landscape, the type of shift that spawns project manager jobs. Meanwhile, the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart buildings, and smart cities introduces much in the way of project management, both in building and maintaining such spaces and in handling the massive amount of data they produce.
And project managers are well paid, too. In the United States alone, Six Sigma-certified professionals can earn a yearly salary of $80,000 or more. If you’re ready to get started on your Six Sigma certification with New Horizons just click here.