The first steps on my journey as a project manager

Author: Carolina Balda

Starting as a project manager with a brand-new Horizon Europe project could not sound more thrilling, but let’s be honest, it can also be a little bit daunting given the numerous challenges and responsibilities ahead. Nonetheless, I believe with the right tools, guidance, and timely preparation, the experience will turn out to be exceptional!  

As I am writing these lines, the calendar marks my first month at Europa Media; thus, I am eager to share what my first month as a project manager has looked like: 

  1. Attending trainings: First things first, before immersing myself in the details of the project, I needed to have an overview of the process, from proposal development to project management. Following a couple of Europa Media Trainings courses, I started to understand how a successful proposal is prepared, what the key elements are to build a winning consortium, what tools are used to organize and properly plan the project tasks, and most importantly… the lifecycle of an EU project, including all the implementation, monitoring, reporting and review activities. 

  1. Getting acquainted with the project: Having done that, I started to familiarize myself with the project by going through the grant agreement (GA) and consortium agreement (CA) and developing my own Gantt chart to have a better overview of the tasks ahead. My personal recommendation is making notes along the agreements and highlighting important info, including deliverables, deadlines, and KPIs. Also, one of the most useful tools here is to make a list of terms with all the abbreviations used; it will definitely make the journey easier! 

  1. Background research: While the project details got more and more specific, google was a great help. I also suggest having a look at the project call, checking the strategic plan, and finding out what the sister projects are; but do not hesitate to ask your more experienced colleagues any doubts you encounter, whether it is about the structure of the project, Horizon Europe, or any other technical questions. 

  1. Reaching out to partners: Time for the much-needed information exchange. Before the kick-off meeting, there are many details that need to be discussed, I consider this part as one of the most enriching experiences, as I have directly discussed my thoughts and doubts with the coordinator and partners while getting ourselves on the same page about the website development and the launch of our project. 

  1. Planning: Having absorbed all the information, at this point, I feel more confident, having a better understanding and overview of the project, as well as all the tasks ahead. Thus, it is time to organize it all, and we know that organization is key to successful project implementation, so feel free to use the tools you are most comfortable with, whether it is Microsoft To Do, Todoist, or your good old notebook and go ahead clearing your head from all the tasks. 

It has only been a month, yet what a great learning experience this has been! At Europa Media, we are happy to share with you our hands-on approach and knowledge in managing EU projects, have a look at our face-to-face courses and webinars here.

The first steps on my journey as a project manager