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Why should you be a Project Manager?

The role of Project Manager is essential in most industries yet many people are unsure of what the job entails. Project Manager’s have diverse and plentiful responsibilities. Not only are you accountable for ensuring that the service your company is delivering is completed on time - and to the client’s satisfaction - but you also need to liaise between different elements of the business to ensure every project that you’re managing goes smoothly.

Project Management can be an extremely rewarding career, with great progression opportunities and the chance to push yourself in ways that help you develop, both in and out of work. Interest in Project Management is at a high- and 97% of organisations are of the opinion that great Project Management is critical to business performance and success. It’s not just the managers themselves that contribute to the success of this function, either. There’s a whole host of professionals who help make Project Management run smoothly.

We spoke to Danielle Quarles, Programme Manager at ICON for more insight on this part of the business.

What do you do?

I’m a Programme Manager, which means that I’m responsible for managing and overseeing Project Managers, rather than the projects that they’re working on. Programme Managers have shown an aptitude for managing projects and a clear understanding of promoting leadership in a team.

Talk me through your day-to-day responsibilities

I have a lot of different Project Managers working underneath me, each managing many projects. As a result, I spend my time checking in with Project Managers, meeting with them to ensure that all projects are delivered on time and to a high standard. When projects fail, 39% of the time it’s down to a change in organisation prioritising while changes in the project objectives are accountable for 37% of failed projects. This is where Project Managers and Programme Managers come in. They collectively keep projects on track and ensures that all involved parties have interests that are aligned with the project’s key milestones. Quite honestly, Project Managers are very far down on the list of jobs likely to be automated.

I also do a lot of work with my clients to make sure that they’re happy, and I liaise with upper management at my client and ICON to ensure they have all the information and updates that they need regarding the projects in my portfolio.

I travel to see my clients in face-to-face meetings as needed, and participate in regular leadership teleconferences. There’s a lot of communication in my role, as I have to deliver status updates on a regular basis and triage questions throughout the day. Basically, the role of a Programme Manager is all about delivering projects, resourcing studies and making sure that everybody has what they need to get the job done.

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What made you want to do your job?

My education background is in science – I have a B.S. in Animal and Poultry Sciences and a M.P.H in Epidemiology. I started in the field as a Clinical Research Associate, and I really liked the science and the detail involved in that, but when I saw a Project Management role come up, I knew I had to go into it. I really liked how Project Managers got to see the bigger picture and oversaw the delivery of a project from a financial and scheduling standpoint. The job combines both operations and science, which is a good fit for me: I like the idea that at the end of the day you’re delivering a product that helps the patient, and using your scientific knowledge to help people.


What do you like about working at ICON?

I like working at ICON because we’re a very accessible company: We have a culture that encourages us to speak freely with our colleagues and other members of management. We can ask questions and change processes in ways that make our work better for us: I can talk about science, operations and things that aren’t working with both my boss and Vice President. My manager is very involved in helping solving problems, but I still feel empowered to make decisions at my level without a lot of pushback.

What training do you need to become a Project Manager?

In order to become a Project Manager, you need to know the basic skills required for managing and delivering a project on time. It’s not hard to learn, but you need to be dedicated. You should really seek out opportunities to learn how to be a Project Manager, for instance, by doing a Project Management Professionals Certification. You can get training within the company, but a lot of it is down to you seeking out Project Managers that you admire, asking them for mentoring and asking to shadow them, which I what I did. Here’s what it truly means to be a brilliant Project Manager.

Why should you be a Project Manager?

Being a Project Manager is a full-time job. You can’t just drop it at the end of the day; instead, you need to be constantly on the ball to ensure projects are completed on time. It’s also really rewarding. Working in Project Management does impact people’s lives: I work in oncology, where you have the potential to prolong or save patients through the work that you do. For me, that sums up why a Project Manager job is important.


What are the top skills needed to be a Project Manager?

As a Project Manager your responsibilities list includes:

  • Controlling the project’s timeline
  • Long-term risk analysis
  • Forging relationships with clients
  • Presenting to senior leaders
  • Managing reports
  • Budget analysis

Therefore, a Project Manager job requires someone who is detail-oriented, able to manage many tasks over a length of time and deliver an output at the end. Keep in mind that this job is not a short-term undertaking. You need to keep patients at the forefront of your mind and be able to keep your team motivated- especially if, like me, you have numerous people working for you around the world. his role suits people who love to interact with others and take pride in their organisational skills!


Reach further with ICON

At ICON, we’re proud to connect the freshest talent from around the world to the best jobs in Project Management. Start the search now by browsing ICON’s Project Management jobs.

As you gain experience a clinical or non-clinical Project Manager new doors will open for you in our organisation, including a rewarding career as a Senior Project Manager and Programmer Manager jobs like Danielle’s. Find out more about how ICON will invest in your training and development.

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