Steve Jobs Was An Awesome Project Manager
[Updated 10th March, 2023]
Some of the most famous people in the world were exceptional Project Managers – without the title. Every professional, in every industry, can and does benefit from being able to successfully manage a project – because almost everything we do in our lives can be defined as project management.
Take, for instance, the late Steve Jobs. Jobs pioneered entrepreneurialism in a whole new way and as a result, successfully launched and continued to astound customers at Apple. This, in part, can be attributed to his project management skills.
Here are seven project management skills Steve Jobs showed us can help you succeed in business.
Steve Jobs was a decisive leader. He always had a strong idea about which direction he wanted the company to go in – which was important in ensuring that his employees also knew where the company was headed and what they had to do to get it there. This direction allowed for strategic planning.
Rise to Challenges
When Apple was first established it was from humble beginnings with a dream that seemed almost unachievable – to own their own personal computer.
In 1976 when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple it was because they wanted to have their own personal computers, a dream that was financially out of reach for the two young men. The computers on the market at the time were not ideal for personal use and they were very expensive.
These two young men rose to the challenge and created the Apple I computer. In project management there will be challenges. You’ll often have to completely redesign a system or a product and it’s important when faced with these challenges you tackle them head on
Put the client experience first
Putting the client or user experience first in how you structure your company’s public facing systems or products is essential to mainting and growing your client base.
Apple’s differentiation in the market was to put the user experience first in all their tech upgrades. They made tech accessible and easy for even the most basic user to grasp.
And this motif has continued throughout the history of the company. Every new product is streamlined and communicates with other products.
Dare to try something different
After establishing himself as a tech giant with Apple computers, Jobs chose to deviate from his path and invest in a totally different one – animation.
After leaving Apple, Jobs funded a little spin off company from the Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division called The Graphics Group. This company would later be renamed Pixar and it started with 5 million capital fronted by Jobs. Pixar was purchased by Disney in 2006 at a valuation of 7.4 billion.
There’s a huge lesson in this for anyone working in project management. Never be afraid to try something completely different. Innovation could be the answer.
Never be afraid of failure
Steve Jobs was only 30 when he was unceremoniously kicked out of the company he founded. In 1985, less than a year shy of the 10 year anniversary of Apple Inc. Jobs was ousted.
It would be 12 years before he would return to Apple, but instead of retreating into a state of despair, Jobs took the chance to reinvent himself. He founded NeXT, a company that designed computer work stations and then later he provided the capital for Pixar to breakaway from Lucasfilm and become it’s own company.
When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 it ushered in the most successful period in the company, with the release of the IPhone, iPad and all the Apple accessories. We all have tried and failed at something, the important thing is not give up.
Steve was able to convince just about anyone to follow him. And there is no denying – that just about all of us did! This was an important trait for Jobs as a Project Manager and for all Project Managers. Become the Pied Piper of the project.
Always be open to Collaboration
No project is ever completed by one man alone. Steve Jobs viewed the development of Apple’s products as something that must be collaborated on. He ensured he met with key players from all departments, which communicated to them the importance of their role to the end product. It is absolutely essential for Project Managers to be in communication with team members throughout the life of the project and to encourage feedback and collaboration.
So, Steve Jobs was an awesome Project Manager – but he never had that title. And neither might you in your current role. But, project management skills can be applied across all industries and roles as can be seen from the success of Steve Jobs.
Do you emanate Steve’s project management skills in your own business? Maybe consider taking a course in project management.
The Diploma of Project Management is designed to help you hone and develop all the necessary skills to be an excellent project manager. The course can be completed entirely online and you can start anytime.
In the course you’ll learn how to:
- Manage project scope
- Manage project time
- Manage project quality
- Manage project cost
- Manage project human resources
- Manage project information and communication
- Manage project risk
- Manage project integration
- Interpret compliance requirements
- Manage business resources
- Manage personal and professional development
- Manage team effectiveness
If you’re interested in knowing more about project management courses, you can get in touch with our course advisors.