Job Title: Project Manager
Type of Company: My company has 2 primary areas of work. We provide health coaching to very large insurance companies and we also design software that health coaches can use with their clients.
Education: AS, Computer Science, Massachusetts Bay Community College BS, Information Systems, UMass-Lowell
Previous Experience: I have worked in IT project management for over twenty years. I have managed software and hardware implementations for companies like Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies and The MathWorks. I currently work for a health care company in New Hampshire doing IT and client implementation project management.
Job Tasks: My main responsibility at present is to coordinate quarterly data releases for one of our largest clients. This client uses both our health coaching model as well as our software to provide services to over 3 million members. As the primary client contact, I have the responsibility of coordinating the quarterly software releases and overseeing the work that's put in by development, quality assurance and other company sub-groups.
I act as a client implementation manager for our Collaborative Care Center (C3) application which assists health plans, employers, the government and providers in their support of individuals across a broad spectrum of healthcare needs. As the primary IT liaison between the company and key customers my responsibilities include managing different types of client encounters as well as internal IT & security projects.
I manage all areas of the project from concept through design to implementation. Some projects have a limited scope and time frame while others are far more complex and have a much larger project window. I use tools such as MS Project, all of the MS apps, Sharepoint, email, etc. to perform my day-to-day activities. We confer by means of conference calls, internal meetings and very occasionally, client visits. The majority of my work takes place in New Hampshire, but I do travel to Boston every so often to our corporate headquarters.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best and worst parts of my job are sometimes the same: the clients. I enjoy interacting with them for the most part and they make sure my job is never boring. I like the fact that I work on a number of different projects at one time (currently 7) so my work day is never the same. The people at my company are great, as is my commute.
It is also challenging to have to deal with some clients who are more demanding then my patience allows for some days.
1. Take all the steps necessary to refine your communication skills. I make presentations to clients, upper management, peers, etc. and having good communication skills is a must.
2. Team building exercises are also very helpful. As a project manager, I have to interact with many different personalities to bring a project to completion. It is essential that I have some skill in motivating others to bring us to a successful completion.
3. Patience, Organization and humor. Some days are worse then others and having patience and good humor gets us all through. Being organized is essential to guiding a team to a desired result.
Additional Thoughts: Sometimes I feel that I could throw my career away in favor of one that would help others or have some deeper mission/meaning. Then I remember that my company indirectly and directly provides need health care information to millions of lives. Knowing this keeps me grounded and builds compassion for others.
Anyone considering a project management career needs to have excellent people/communication skills as well as organizational ability. The tools like MS Project are the least useful when considering the skill set needed overall. Success as a PM comes from skills that a good PM has but not necessarily from tools that they use on a daily basis. Intuition is key.
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