Who dreams in their youth of becoming a project manager?

Really! It seems most project managers are an accidental project manager. Or they come to project management through another profession. As an example, someone studied accounting and then works in an accounting firm and works projects for clients. The project is based on technical competencies, but learning project management would also help in delivery efficiently and successfully the projects. However, project management is not the first focus.

The same could apply to engineering, construction, event management and many other fields of work. It seems project management is always a second consideration.

Who dreams in their youth of becoming a project manager?

I know I did not choose project management as my first field of study. I loved finance and enjoyed working in the banking sector in the 90s. I obtained a bachelor in administration, and my focus of interest was in finance.

I remember one of my partners in many courses who said that he wanted to learn project management. His goal was to become a project manager. After the bachelor, he decided to do a Master in Project Management. My thought then was:


And then:

“What do you actually do after with a master in project management?”

I guess I was too young to understand!

One could say that he was the exception. True. But it should be noted that he also was a retired police officer, much older than me, and looking for his second career.

So it seems the thought of becoming a project manager is something that often comes to someone later in life. And often, project managers will say that they became project manager before actually deciding to become one. It was more, kind of, a strange path of life. They just become project managers. They were good at something and were asked to do something, and then it just happened that they became project managers.

It is the classic path of the accidental project manager.

It was not a choice, not their first choice. But then, they fell in love with projects, and made it a career choice.

I am one of those, accidental project manager.

When I was working in the financial sector, and remember when a manager in an audit group called me and invited me for an interview. I asked him over the phone:

“Can you tell me who you are, and which organization you are working for so that I don’t waste your time and my time with an interview?”

He convinced me to come to the interview, offered me a job, and I did for him many great and very unusual projects. This is how I discovered project management. Although I must be honest. At that time, I was still managing my project mostly as business projects, using my business and professional accountant knowledge and skills. I was not so focussed on project management, PMI, PMBOK, and so on.

I kept doing projects, special projects, and unique initiatives. Often, I did projects that nobody else wanted to do. I often say that smart persons ask first what a project is all about, and then say no. And this is especially true for special projects that have never been done before, or emergency projects, or rescue of failed (or failing) projects. So smart persons ask and say no; I often said yes, and then ask the next morning what the project is all about again. But by that time, it was too late. I was already officially in the project.

So I am an accidental project manager. I became one by accident, not by choice.

But today, I can say that I love project management. I love the design part of it. I love the challenge of facing a problem, and creating a solution. It is just like composing music for me.

I also have a very curious mind. I like that project management let me discover and explore many subjects. I wouldn’t have that opportunity if I were in regular operations. Project management is endless discoveries.

I also like the collaboration side of project management. To successfully design and execute a project, it is essential to involve all team members and even many different stakeholders.

A friend of mine who works at Knowledge Train (a training company focussed on PRINCE2 certifications) created this nice image of my answer to her question: what is your favorite project management challenge.

So this is the short story of me and project management. I love project management now, as you can see with the time and effort I have put to develop Project-Aria. I hope you like it.

I may at first have been an accidental project manager. Now, it is by choice. And I love it. I love creating and delivering results.