Role of Project Managers

The project manager acts as a link between the management and project.  He or she is a person, who communicates with the stakeholders to understand ‘what is to be achieved’ and derives a plan for ‘how to achieve it’. Turner specifies that the project manager produces detailed plans and schedules activities. The results are communicated to the corporate managers or clients through the project board as described in the project responsibilities chart.  A high level milestone plan is produced at the management level, which is detailed at the task level.

In other words, a project manager is a person who is responsible for the management of all phases of the project.

 

 

 

At the core, he or she is expected to:

  1. Understand and define the project boundaries;
  2. Define the Scope;
  3. Define the project products;
  4. Define and schedule the tasks to produce the project products;
  5. Organise the team;
  6. Control the execution and;
  7. Handover after completion.

One of the very common questions that require thinking is that – would a project manager be an expert in technical domain?

The answer to this varies and depends upon the nature and size of the project. For a large and complex project, a good project manager cannot be expected to have detailed technical expertise in all the aspect of the project. He or she should be able to build the effective teams and has confidence in them for the advice on the subject matters. He or she should have more of the management skills rather than technical. However, it doesn’t mean that a project manager from construction industry will be suited for a technology project or vice-versa. He or she should have overall technical knowledge about the project.

Are Project Managers born?

At the certain point in your career you may wish to manage the projects and start evaluating yourself in that position.  Most of the technical people start their career in the specialist tasks and often work in the project teams; and as their career develops they take more responsibilities to manage the technical area. Some move towards general management.

The project management involves bringing projects to successful completion; and this requires the project managers to have a clear view of what needs to be achieved and the skills and personal qualities to manage both technical and human issues.

Thus, project managers are not born.

Think about within your own lives, at home – what do you do, if you want to take your family for a holiday? You would normally sit down with you family and start to think about where to go, what is the budget, when to go, what to do on the holidays, etc. You start with a plan, gather your family members, communicate your plan, prepare a budget, execute the plan and finally manage the holidays effectively.  This is what project needs…..if you can do at home, you could do at work….

Attributes / Skills of Project Manager

We have listed below the top five attributes or skills required to become a successful project manager.

  1. Understanding of Technology - As mentioned before, that it is required that project managers to have an overall understanding of the technology, such that they are able to select and call on expert advice when needed.
  2. Understanding of principles of management - Administration of projects relies on planning, organising and communication skills. It is required to develop sound administration, information and control systems. The project management methodology like PMI or PRINCE 2 will help achieving these skills. We also recommend that project to be treated as a process to deliver products; thus process based methodology may be adopted.
  3. Interpersonal Style and self management - Often, we are being driven by the project manager and his way of handling issues. Thus, it is important that the project manager’s style and traits are suited for the type of project and project environment. This requires developing skills in
    • written, oral and graphical communication
    • listening and feedback
    • team building and motivation
    • time management
    • leadership
    • negotiation
    • able to handle stress
  4. Using a systems thinking to any project - Do not get buried into details. Projects operate within the organisation, and organisations are not closed system. They have linkages to the external world. Thus, it is necessary for the project manager to view a holistic picture of the project in context to the organisation. This will make sure that he or she has all the details necessary for the success of the project.
  5. Relationship management - Projects require handing people; and thus it is important to build a mutual trust and respect when dealing with client or project staff. Some projects are highly political and thus the need for managing relationship will be further more than normal level of management. This would require managing people on whom you have no control.

Summary

  • Project manager is a link between management and project
  • Project managers require certain traits and skills to be successful
  • Training is the key for developing these skills

 

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