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Ricardo Gomez Angels

From Architect to Project Manager, is about bringing considerable value.

January 22, 2021

Architects make good project managers, where they can bring considerable value to projects with their wide-range of skillset and extensive experience in overseeing projects. As natural strategic problem-solvers, architects who are genuinely passionate about project management will sensibly want to go to the next level of managing large projects.

Transitioning to a project management career looks brighter for architects. The need for project managers is in high-demand. A PMI-commissioned report shows 33 percent growth by 2027 or about 22 million new jobs in project management. This data shows the importance of project managers in organizations, where there is a need to fill in the talent gap and shortages in the profession. This shortage is a pressing issue for both the construction and business sector.

What does it take to be a project manager? 

The prospect of moving forward with a project management career can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Though not without challenges, it is a routine transition. Project management requires an understanding of the basics, where project architects are no stranger to the design and construction process. The difference is that project management and leadership increase in importance as the project becomes more complex and integrated.

Design and Field Experience 

Most construction firms take construction experience as a determining factor to promote or assign potential candidates as a project manager. But what defines an experienced architect? Although this question can be subjective, most large companies prefer project manager positions to be filled by someone who has gained five years or more commercial construction experience as a project architect. According to the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice by the American Institute of Architects, project managers should have more than ten years of experience.

Most Sought Out Qualifications by Most Firms in a Construction Project Manager Include: 

      • Preferably Licensed Architect or Engineer
      • Excellent Communication Skills
      • Excellent Coordination Skills
      • Leadership Skills
      • In-depth understanding of contract and the financial nature of architectural work
      • Knowledge of QA/QC (Quality Assurance/Quality Control)
      • Understand the documentation and production of instruments of service
      • Construction administration experience
      • Possess Problem Solving Skills
      • Ability to Prioritize Activities
      • Ability to Delegate Tasks
      • Values Teamwork
      • Construction Field Experience

Certification 

More than experiencing the real-world, aspiring project managers, with formal training, have the edge where you can learn the methodologies, strategies, and how to utilize the other project management tools. While not required, getting certified is proven to provide invaluable benefits to potential or present project managers. Moreover, having been certified demonstrates competence that can lead to job security and higher salary rates.

At the onset, many may see project management as mainly delegating others, attending meetings, and taking notes. But, the breadth of knowledge, requirements, and skills of a project manager goes beyond. Examples of issues are understanding and mitigating risks, leveraging opportunities in a project, and spotting signs that your project will go over-budget. Learning basic strategies with creative solutions is highly likely to lead to successful project management and completion.

Project management certifications that you should consider are PMP® certification, the PRINCE2 Certification, and Scrum certifications.

Project Management Tools 

Leveraging project management tools have mainly benefited small firms. The non-development teams’ flexible methodologies are put to use in their project execution. Scrum, which is one of the frameworks teams and companies use to instill Agile (an iterative project management approach) values into their daily operations, has grown to 49% users. Kanban (which is an emerging PM methodology) users increased to an astounding 300%.

Architects who want to transition to the project manager can benefit from knowing the latest management methodologies to project management software. Many technological innovations in design, materials, and construction methods can result in significant changes in construction costs, where the most dramatic new technology applied to construction has been the digital advancements.

Beyond the Office 

Project Managers will need to interact with numerous external consultation firms, trade contractors, subcontractors from different disciplines, and most importantly, with the client. Young aspiring architects should observe how project managers operate in their respective firms to get a feel for how project management works in real life.

If you love people, value good and clear communication, and value the importance of good project management, then this profession is feasible for you.

Bottom line, a project management position is an ideal career leap for experienced architects as there are similarities and overlapping qualities of an architect and a project manager. Furthermore, architects have always been used to overseeing the project, starting with the planning and design phases making project management a fitting choice for the next career path.