The role of a project manager is to ensure delivery of the project objectives. To achieve this, it is important that the project manager manages the stake holder expectations. This is done by balancing four key areas of the project,
The delivery of the project is fundamentally important. Delivery is the ultimate aim of any project. This can take the form of a report, or new product/service, or other output that is of benefit to the customer. Delivery is achieved through objectives, which must be completed within budget and on time (think schedule), at a quality satisfactory to the customer.
Throughout the project, the stakeholders will require updates on the progress of the project. This can include updates on completed work, outstanding work or updates on hurdles that need addressed. However, it is important to balance additional needs of the stakeholders against the project deliverables. Therefore, a project manager should inform the stakeholder of any impact (particularly on budget, scope, schedule and quality) any changes make on the project output.
The final responsibility of a project manager is to maintain the project plans. As part of the progressive elaboration of a project, the plans of a project, whether it’s documentation of objectives, time lines or otherwise, these must be updated to reflect any change in the project as more information becomes available.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) outlines three areas of competency that are beneficial to project managers,
Project Manager Knowledge Competencies
Knowledge competencies are those that you learn. For example, project management techniques, processes and standards. The PMI is a widely known source of knowledge in project management. It specifically outlines 10 key knowledge areas in project management,
- Integration – is understanding how each stage of a project is performed, ensuring they flow seamlessly and keeping documentation current
- Scope – is ensuring only the work required to deliver the project deliverable is undertaken. It involves gathering requirements from the customer, and using them to define the scope of the project
- Time – ultimately involves delivering the project on time. However, it also involves estimating time required for objectives, prioritising tasks and defining the project schedule
- Quality – requires knowledge of the processes for quality management and controlling
- Human Resource – involves managing the deployment of project team members to efficiently use their skills on project tasks
- Stakeholder – ensures that stakeholders are actively involved in the project. This means that those who are stakeholders are identified and managed.
- Cost – is managing the finances of the project so it is delivered within budget. It also involves knowledge of how to estimate estimate costs and determining the budget required to realise the project
- Risk – involves planning for eventualities that jeopardise the success of the project. That includes determining the risks, analysing them for impact, and determining appropriate methods of mitigation
- Procurement – is the management of acquiring goods, services or otherwise that are necessary for the project to be completed
- Communications – involves managing information flow between all parties involved in the project
Project Manager Performance Qualities
Project manager performance qualities are best measured as qualification or experience in the role. Much like with any job, the performance qualities are often summarised in a CV. In ideal situations, project managers are best suited to projects where they have previous experience, or are personally motivated by a project’s outcome.
Project Manager Personal Qualities
Project manager personal qualities are those unique to the project manager as a person. They qualities include things like motivation, attitude, morals and an understanding of self. The critical point here is that everyone is different, and how methods are applied will vary person to person, yet can still achieve the same outcome.
Other personal traits of benefit to a project manager include,
- proven ability to get things done
- capable of motivating people, even when things are low
- good people skills – the ability to tailor your approach to each individual on an individual basis
- dynamic – you can adapt quickly and confidently to a changing work environment
- ability to critically analyse situations and take risks accordinly