Bidwells project manager says the profession requires a mix of versatility, lateral thinking and team motivation skills

The final quarter of any year undoubtedly brings with it a flurry of activity to ensure that capable and exiting graduates are secured for the coming year. The process to enable this usually involves the manic milk rounds.

Every year I am posed the same question: “What do I need to become a project manager?” Every year, without fail, my answer changes. Every year I become a little less certain if there even is an answer.

My logic behind this stems from the diverse environment in which I spend the majority of my working day. As I sit writing this I can see two former architects, three former building surveyors, a former structural engineer and finally the one who always knew they wanted to project manage (there's always one).

All of these individuals have an array of academic and professional qualifications, yet I would consider that all of my colleagues are equally entitled to call themselves project managers. Why?

In my opinion there are three things you require to qualify as a project manager. You have to be versatile and not focused on one specialism. You need to be able to think laterally when problem solving and explore every solution. Finally, you need to possess those soft skills that enable you to read, bind and motivate a team to give the most demanding of clients what they want.

Others may regard the person described above as being an indecisive individual, capable of over thinking everything, only to deliver bad news in a way that no one finds disheartening.

So now that I have decided what a project manager might be, does anyone have any ideas how I advise a student who wants to be one?