It’s rather difficult to define what makes a project manager worthy of a dream position. Every company determines the role and the title differently, but no doubt tech giants serve as a benchmark. If you’ve got what it takes to land a job at Apple, Amazon or Google, you know that your skillset is up to modern standards. So what are the main aspects that make project managers competitive?
Besides the specific requirements in the technical background, all employers bank on soft skills. Therefore, you should be able to communicate effectively and build trust with multiple technical and non-technical business units, as well as across other cultures and geographies while managing multiple projects.
Speaking of cross-cultural communication, the 6D model by G. Hofstede is worth being mentioned. Professor Geert Hofstede is a Dutch social psychologist who suggested 6 types of cultural dimensions that are predominant in certain countries:
- Power distance index is the way certain nationalities consider social equality. In some countries like Holland, it’s quite a routine thing that a C-level expert has their lunch in the canteen together with the subordinates. While in other countries such as Ukraine, a junior specialist tend not to argue with their boss even if they’re not right because of the hierarchical order and communication style standards.
- Individualism vs collectivism is another aspect that complicates intercultural communication. In the Post-Soviet states, most citizens have weak individuality, which means they bear responsibility for other people and think collectively. On the contrary, in countries like GB, people tend to individualism, which means that their “self” prevails.
- Masculinity vs femininity is in other words “tough” vs “tender” cultures. In masculine-focused countries like GB, men solve the most difficult tasks and there is a tendency to severe decisions while in France as an example of a feminine-focused country, collaboration and social balance are predominant.
- Uncertainty avoidance index is a degree of refraining from new things. E.g., in the USA people consider the new from a positive point of view, while in Russia they perceive it as a tough challenge and prefer stability. It makes a strong difference in the organization and the workflow, which is why it should be taken into account when working in a multi-cultural environment.
- Long term orientation vs short term normative orientation shows whether a society prefers maintaining old traditions or on the contrary, is open to the future and new opportunities. For example, Japanese people find it more important to have qualities that will help achieve your goals in a time perspective.
- Indulgence vs restraint is about the free expression of emotions and feelings (the USA, the Netherlands) versus their unacceptance and a general tendency to be reserved and cold according to social norms (Ukraine, China).
These peculiarities should be kept in mind when working in multi-national teams, and for you as a potential expert in managing multiple projects in a huge international corporation, this knowledge is a must to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
To be successful, you should keep a 20K foot view of the process while staying connected to the details. Your main objectives are to develop and maintain project plans, identify resource needs, manage project schedules, figure out trade-offs and provide a risk assessment to management. To reach this goal, you should be a driven person able to make the right prioritization in day-to-day processes.
Therefore, an ideal candidate for a project management position in Amazon, Apple, or Google must have the following personal traits and soft skills:
- Good decision-making skills
- Great communication skills (including intercultural knowledge and skills)
- Brilliant leadership skills
- People management skills
- Analytical skills
- Attention to details
- Stress resistance
- High motivation
- Strategic thinking
- Team playing skills
- Focus on result
Background and Experience
Having analyzed 50+ vacancies, Amazon, Apple, and Google look for experts with at least 5+ years in project management with a corresponding education degree (BA/BS).
Besides, as mentioned above, experience of working with international teams is also desirable.
Constant self-development in the field will help you stay up-to-date and be competitive in the labor market.
It’s a great plus for a project manager to have a formal qualification and receive a certificate demonstrating their proficiency. It’s a guarantee of the deep understanding of the latest trends in modern project management, such as applying agile methodologies, CCPM, project life-cycle and theories, experience with different learning platforms and applications (MindTickle, Brainshark).
Project Management Institute suggests the following variants of certifications for PMs:
- Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most essential certification for project managers. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions with four hours for completion. It gives you a chance to get a 20% higher salary as compared to your competitors who don’t have it. The organizers are going to change the approach to certification next year. In March 2020 the exam will cover three main pillars: people management, process (technical aspects of project management), and business environment. So, if you want to get it, do it better now.
- Program Management Professional (PgMP) is a certification for those who orchestrate multiple projects and want to advance their leadership skills and improve performance. It’s a great plus for your hiring and promotion opportunities. The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions and you have 4 hours to pass it.
- Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) is a great choice for those who want to have profound knowledge and be skilled in aligning projects, programs, and operations with strategic objectives. The exam has 170 multiple-choice questions with 4 hours for completion.
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is for those who would like to orchestrate larger projects and bear more project management responsibility at work regardless of their career stage. The certification exam has 150 questions with 3 hours to complete them. Providing greater flexibility, organizers suggest an opportunity to take this exam online.
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) certification is a superior idea for you if you want to work with stakeholders in defining requirements and forming project outputs. A business analyst is an absolutely great additional skillset for a modern project manager who wants to be competitive in the labor market. The certification exam has 200 multiple-choice questions and you have 4 hours to complete them.
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) is a unique course that will make you an expert in Agile methodology, which is a must in project management. This certification course covers Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD). The exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions and lasts for 3 hours. Besides, you can take it online from your office or home.
- PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) is the right choice for you if you want to protect your company against all possible threats and make the most profitable decisions. You’ll learn how to identify and estimate risks and manage them. During the exam you’ll have 3.5 hours to complete 170 multiple-choice questions.
- PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) is an expert who will drive all projects on time and on budget according to the schedule. So, if you want to become one, you can become certified after the successful completion of 170 multiple-choice questions for 3.5 hours.
Besides, a project manager willing to work for one of the tech giants such as Amazon, Apple or Google, also might need one of the following certifications:
- Prince2 certification will make you a competitive expert in Prince2 methodology, which is widely used in project management in the UK and all over the world. After taking this course you will be able to manage resources, business and project risks more effectively.
Pricing: starting from $540
- APM qualification provides a series of courses:
- APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ) suitable for experts with 0-2 years of experience in PM,
- APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ) – for those who have 3-4 years of experience,
- APM Project Professional Qualification (PPQ) for specialists who are in the field of project management for more than 5 years.
- SCRUM certification is a 2-day course that suggests you dive into the Scrum methodology and become a Scrum Master. It combines lectures and team practical exercises and provides an opportunity to take a free attempt at passing the Professional Scrum Master I certification exam (PSM I).
Taking into account digital transformation trends, a good PM should be familiar with Cloud Technology, SAP Global Systems, SFDC, Gainsight, Pendo, Tableau, and coordinating and managing the 3rd party integrations.
Also, you should be able to work with different CRM systems, such as Salesforce, Workday, and/or other enterprise-class business systems, and accounting/finance ERP systems.
The total list of Key Qualifications is as follows:
- Excellent knowledge of MS Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio, Teams, Project CCPM
- Understanding of project life-cycle and theories
- Experience with Cloud Technology
- SAP Global Systems
- Experience with different learning platforms and applications (MindTickle, Brainshark)
- Experience in coordinating and project managing 3rd party integrations
- Knowledge of GSuite, Sendgrid, LMS
- Familiarity with SFDC, Gainsight, Pendo, Python, and Tableau is a plus
Therefore, to be a sought after expert in project management, your arsenal of professional and personal advantages should involve not only profound knowledge in corresponding areas and work experience but also great soft skills, the ability to lead teams, and strive for constant self-development.