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Management Consulting, Business & Admin careers

Administration: Project & Programme

Flexibility in project and programme administration…

We’re talking about the business of getting things done here. You can deliberate, discuss and debate the direction of a company, its vision and its purpose until the cows come home, but when it comes down to it, things actually need to be done. Enter the administrators! These are the unsung heroes of business that act on theory and put things into practice.

When it comes to working on projects and programmes, the work of an administrator is constantly changing given the unique nature of each objective. Rather than performing routine tasks, a lot of work will be distinct to the particular project you are working on. It guarantees a constantly changing work environment that can often be as challenging as it is varied.

Every industry is constantly changing. Some change quicker than others, but the pressure to evolve with the times is felt by every industry. To cope with change and to adapt accordingly, companies rely on projects and programmes to re-shape their organisation, their processes and anything else that is crucial to their survival.

Administrators working within this area must be flexible, able to pick new things up quickly and deliver on the objectives set for their team. They very rarely work on their own. As such, teamwork and communication skills are essential to excel in this area.

Is there room for career progression in project and programme administration?

Given that over four million people in the UK work in administration, there is a huge amount of scope for career development here. Don’t just think of administration careers as a dead end option; there are many opportunities for career progression. Senior project managers are just as much a part of administration as receptionists and PAs.

For example, a project management officer (PMO) will be responsible for standardising certain methodologies and procedures throughout an organisation. Whether it’s in regards to documentation, reporting or other similar tasks, a PMO’s responsibility is to ensure that an organisation is following the correct administrative processes from top-to-bottom.

Projects vs Programmes

Projects and programmes refer to objectives that are unique to an organisation. Projects involve working towards a particular objective, while programmes effectively involve the coordination of several projects. If you are involved with project administration, you will often be working to tight deadlines and completing challenging tasks that you might only be attempting for the first time. Indeed, working as a project support officer is rarely repetitive.

If you are working as a programme support officer, you will be providing administrative support to all the projects under your umbrella. Often, rather than concerning yourself with ‘front line’ tasks, you will be required to keep tabs on how things are progressing across various projects and delegate responsibilities when things seem to be slipping behind. There is certainly more of an element of management involved at this level of administrative support.

Three Ps govern the working lives of projects and programmes administrators: plan, plan, plan! If your Filofax is your best friend then apply for open roles in the industry — don’t cross administration off your list just yet…

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