Understanding the Role of Project Manager

Understanding the Role of Project Manager

Who is a project manager? According to Coursera, a project manager is a professional who organizes plans and executes projects while working within restraints like budgets and schedules. Project managers lead entire teams, define project goals, communicate with stakeholders and see a project through its closure.

This means that a project manager is an expert at organizing planning and executing projects against all odds. In other words, there is no excuse for failure. It is the duty of the project manager to ensure that everyone is on the same page, whatever the decision being taken; team members and stakeholders alike.

Project management as a field of expertise is becoming very popular. Have there not been projects in the past? Are projects only popping up recently? Why then have project managers suddenly become in high demand now? What do they have to offer that design or software experts or heads of departments cannot offer? Is project management a skill everyone should have or should it be left to some people and not to others? These are the questions that this article tries to answer.Some of the roles of a project manager are explained below.

1. Defining the Scope of a Project:

There are so many problems in the world to solve, however, your company will not be solving all of them. It is not uncommon however to invest resources into a project and to halfway discover that the team has derailed and has gone a different way than the course that was earlier charted.

This could be quite common in traditional executive teams with the vague term secretary and every other role divided properly among team members to ensure there is a division of labour. But while labour is well divided a whole lot of other things may go wrong. The definition of the scope of a project is very vital to any team.

A project of digital transformation is a vague term. It is the duty of a project manager to confirm what the company in question means by digital transformation, how far it would go, what is happening at the moment and what would be left for later, how long it is expected to take, how much money and resources are being budgeted, what it would entail; what exactly is involved in the digital transformation and what is not.

The duty of a project manager however does not end here. The project manager must ensure that the scope of the project is clear to the team and all the stakeholders involved. The stakeholders could include the company, and the team; if there is a client involved he’s also a stakeholder. It is the duty of the project manager to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the scope of the project before the project takes off. Don’t forget that at this time the project manager plans the project journey for the team.

This requires good teamwork, communication skills, negotiation skills, leadership skills, organization skills, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

2. Staying on Schedule:

Projects are known for having a life span. The person who ensures that this lifespan is maintained is the project manager. Time is money, it should not be wasted. It is the duty of the project manager to ensure that there are no lags in time. That the project is completed as and when due. It is also her duty to ensure that at each meeting and point of encounter with the stakeholders the aim of the meeting is achieved. This saves time and other hitches along the way.

This requires good teamwork, communication skills, time management skills, leadership skills and organization skills.

3. Budgeting:

It is the duty of the project manager to plan the budget. The project manager is not the be all and end all so he may not know how much everything would cost all by himself, but a project manager working with the stakeholder comes up with the project’s cost.

It is also the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the team sticks to the proposed budget within reason. She is in fact the steering of the vehicle. This requires problem-solving skills, collaboration skills and negotiation skills.

4. Resource Management:

It is the duty of the project manager to manage the resources of the team. The budget is only one aspect of the resources of the team. There could be other kinds of resources available but a vital one is human resources. He manages the people who would work together to ensure that the project is a success.

They come to him for questions and clarifications; he is also the first person that is met when challenges are encountered. This requires teamwork, communication skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills and organization skills.

5. Keeping Track of the Progress:

It is the responsibility of the community manager to keep track of the progress being made in the project. He is in charge of the backlog and ensures that tasks are completed as and when due. As mentioned before, the project manager maintains the link between the team working on the project and other stakeholders involved in the project.

It is not uncommon with the traditional ways of working with projects that at the end of the project the team discovers that there is a disparity between what they have been working on and what the stakeholders actually asked for. This leads to the wastage of a lot of resources. A good project manager thus must have good time management skills, decision-making skills and organization skills.

Never forget that a project manager is indeed a manager who executes and implements, plans and organizes people, and monitors progress and performance. She needs to do things in order, be consistent, efficient and stable. But if you really think about it, you will find out that the skills of a project manager are not very much different from the skills we have already mastered as wives and mothers in our homes.

As a mother good organization skills will make your life a whole lot easier, in fact, I would argue that it adds a few years to our lives. Good negotiation skills will keep your children on the best behaviour for most of the day! How about consistency, planning and time management? If we were not good at those, our families would starve.

So we are more than able to do well as project managers because we have most of the required skills in place to play the already highlighted roles well. A project manager also needs to be highly emotionally intelligent, find out what that means here and for even more resources click away. Also building a product is in more than one way a project, check out our product design course here

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