Project Manager: Career profile

Being a Project Manager is about making sure that any particular task is completed on time, within budget and according to plan. Be it the construction of a building or the production of a website, many of the skills and training you’ll need would remain exactly the same.

Brett, Senior Project Manager

Brett McHugh, Senior Project Manager

Brett McHugh, 37, is a senior project manager with SEEK. He's also a dad of 8-year-old twin girls and a 3.5-year-old son. He comes from a family where, historically, all the boys barrack for Collingwood and all the girls support Carlton.

Describe your job in one sentence?

I manage the projects that deliver functionality to the SEEK website.

What education and training do you have?

  • Advanced Diploma in Information Technology, RMIT University
  • PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments)
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
  • Influence in the Workplace (2-day leadership workshop)

How has this training helped your career in IT?

I’d actually entered the workforce immediately after my VCE. While working, I went attended RMIT night classes and got an Advanced Diploma in Information Technology, which is applicable to my current role.

It wasn’t until 18 months after I’d started project management when I ended up doing a PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) course, which provided me formal understanding of methodologies that can be applied to projects.

What skills do you believe are most important for the Project Manager role?

Being able to remain calm when things go wrong is a big one, especially when you’re leading the team. When people see you getting stressed, it actually affects them too.

Interpersonal skills, so you can work well with people from different departments, or with different personalities. Inquisitiveness is a good trait to have too; it’s when we constantly question that we’ll more likely have the right solution when an issue arises.

The ability to deal with change is crucial, because requirements and project scopes will change all the time. I’d even go as far to say that if you don’t like change, a career in IT may not be the best one for you.

What’s not so great then?

Perhaps – the idea that I’m working on something that’s not tangible. It’s a functionality on a website but unless you actually use it, it’s difficult telling others what it is. Even my wife doesn’t totally understand what I do!

What advice would you give aspiring Project Managers?

Get a feel for the industry by doing some short courses in IT. Drop in on a specialist meet-up group or event to meet like-minded people and others in the industry. Remember that project management can be applied across many different industries, so you don’t necessarily have to stick with IT.