If your title is project manager, you know that name doesn’t even begin to cover all that you do. Sadly, multi-tasking-ninja-who-puts-fires-out-while-riding-a-bike isn’t an actual job title, so we get stuck with the vanilla version. We project managers come from a variety of backgrounds, from marketing and sales to technical support and business administration. We might not look very similar on paper, but we all share the same struggles.
Here are the nine top struggles project managers face on a daily basis.
Multi-tasking is a necessity.
Can you rub your belly while patting your head? If not, you better learn! Sometimes your brain will be running in so many different directions that you will actually impress yourself and forget your ABCs all at the same time.
Everything is a world-ending fire.
Here’s a scenario: One of your clients sends a team member a slightly ambiguous email that didn’t quite sound like their normal happy self. Clearly the world is ending. Sometimes you’ll just have to play the role of firefighter, put on a smile and reassure everyone that everything will be all right.
At least half of your job is basically herding cats.
Unless you have a laser pointer that entrances people like it does animals, good luck. Just when you think you have everything on track, someone ventures off on their own path or something goes terribly wrong.
Trying to get your own work done. (Good joke.)
Trying to finish a project will inevitably take five times longer than it should. As soon as you sit down to knock that project out, someone needs your help.
You will question your ability to use language.
Whether it’s a typo in an email, or a completely incoherent sentence that you just sent to your team, sometimes you wonder how you got this position, let alone passed fifth-grade English.
Accepting your total dependance on technology and/or sticky notes.
Between everything your team needs and everything the client requests, there is just a lot of stuff to remember! You’re just kidding yourself if you think you can retain this information all on your own. Project management software and sticky notes will become your best friends.
Being the bad guy isn’t fun.
Sometimes you’re just going to have to crush someone’s hopes and dreams. OK, maybe that’s a little (or a lot) harsh, but you will have to deliver bad news occasionally. Whether you missed a deadline or you just can’t deliver, it’s never fun to be the bearer of bad news.
Your inbox is always full.
Walk away from your desk for five minutes? You can count on having at least nine new emails. Don’t even get me started on the panic attack that ensues when you return from vacation.
As a project manager, there will be days that your brain overloads and ceases to function, and other days when you feel like a multi-tasking rockstar. But at the end of the day, teamwork makes the dream work and without the support of an amazing team, you won’t get very far.