THE ROLE OF THE PROJECT MANAGER
The project managers are involved from initiation through closing during the project life cycle in almost all projects. Similar to project management processes, the role of the project manager may also vary from organisation to organisation as it may undergo tailoring to fit accordingly. The project managers are mainly responsible for their teams and also for the successful completion of the project objectives. Ultimately, the project manager is responsible for the project as a whole.
Definition : Project Manager
- The person assigned by the performing organisation to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives.
- Leads the team which consists of people with different roles & responsibilities
- Responsible for the output produced by the team
- Should possess relevant knowledge and skills to manage the project
The Project Manager’s sphere of influence
Project managers should collaborate with different stakeholders with different roles throughout the initiative.
Source: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) –Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc.,
Within the project, the project manager is supposed to establish a good working relationship with all key stakeholders to meet their needs, wants and expectations and communicate effectively for the successful completion of the project.
Within the organisation, the project manager is supposed to interact with other project managers for creating a positive influence for accomplishing needs of the projects. The project manager should also work towards demonstrating the value of project management and create awareness on the importance of project management for increasing the acceptance of project management.
Within the industry, the project manager should stay up to date on the current trends and should see how they impact projects or how they can be applied to the current projects. The trends can be application of tools, technology and standards relevant to the respective industry.
Continuing knowledge transfer and contribution of knowledge as well as expertise in the profession is an ongoing and important activities for project managers. Acquiring the professional knowledge and maintaining the momentum throughout the career is crucial for the project managers.
Project Manager Competences
The PMI Talent Triangle® emphases on the three skill sets focusing on Process , People and Business Environment.
- Technical Project Management – The technical aspects (Knowledge, skills and behaviours related to specific domain of project). It also includes managing the critical project management elements schedule, cost, resources and risks.
- Leadership – People management skills to guide, motivate and direct a team.
- Strategic and Business Management – The knowledge and expertise in the industry to achieve the goals and objectives. The project manager should be able to see high-level overview and should possess sufficient business knowledge.
Technical knowledge alone is not sufficient to handle projects in competitive global platform. The other skills are equally important and projects managers should be able balance the skill sets to be more effective.
It is nothing but dealing with people and the ability to guide, motivate and direct the team. Power is important to get things done and there are various forms of power.
Some are listed below for reference.
- Positional (sometimes called formal, authoritative, legitimate) (e.g., formal position granted in the organization or team);
- Informational (e.g., control of gathering or distribution);
- Referent (e.g., respect or admiration others hold for the individual, credibility gained);
- Situational (e.g., gained due to unique situation such as a specific crisis);
- Personal or charismatic (e.g., charm, attraction);
- Relational (e.g., participates in networking, connections, and alliances);
- Expert (e.g., skill, information possessed; experience, training, education, certification);
- Reward–oriented (e.g., ability to give praise, monetary or other desired items);
- Punitive or coercive (e.g., ability to invoke discipline or negative consequences);
- Ingratiating (e.g., application of flattery or other common ground to win favour or cooperation);
- Pressure–based (e.g., limit freedom of choice or movement for the purpose of gaining compliance to desired action);
- Guilt–based (e.g., imposition of obligation or sense of duty);
- Persuasive (e.g., ability to provide arguments that move people to a desired course of action); and
- Avoiding (e.g., refusing to participate)
Comparison of Leadership and Management
‘Leadership and Management’ is a debatable topic and the project managers need to exhibit both leadership and management appropriately in order to be successful.
Management Directs and Leadership Inspires. It is all about getting things done. The project managers may lead their teams in different ways and they can adopt the style based on some factors.
Some of the styles are listed below for reference.
- Laissez–faire – This style allows the team to make their own decisions and establish their own goals, also referred to as taking a hands-off style
- Transactional – This style focus on goals, feedback, and accomplishment to determine rewards; management by exception
- Servant leader – This style demonstrates commitment to serve and put other people first; focuses on other people’s growth, learning, development, autonomy, and well-being; concentrates on relationships, community and collaboration; leadership is secondary and emerges after service
- Transformational – This style empowers followers through idealized attributes and behaviours, inspirational motivation, encouragement for innovation and creativity, and individual consideration
- Charismatic – This style inspires; has high-energy, enthusiastic, self-confident; holds strong convictions and
- Interactional – This style is a combination of transactional, transformational, and charismatic.
This refers to the individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. The personality characteristics are listed below for reference.
- Authentic (e.g., accepts others for what and who they are, show open concern);
- Courteous (e.g., ability to apply appropriate behaviour and etiquette);
- Creative (e.g., ability to think abstractly, to see things differently, to innovate);
- Cultural (e.g., measure of sensitivity to other cultures including values, norms, and beliefs);
- Emotional (e.g., ability to perceive emotions and the information they present and to manage them; measure of interpersonal skills);
- Intellectual (e.g., measure of human intelligence over multiple aptitudes);
- Managerial (e.g., measure of management practice and potential);
- Political (e.g., measure of political intelligence and making things happen);
- Service–oriented (e.g., evidence of willingness to serve other people);
- Social (e.g., ability to understand and manage people); and
- Systemic (e.g., drive to understand and build systems).
One of the important and critical skills for a project manager is to perform integration. The project manager performs integration at the process, cognitive and context level.
At the process level, it is necessary to integrate project management processes to achieve project objectives. Particularly ,performing change control as it may involve scope, schedule or budget changes . If the project manager fails to integrate the processes, a project has a small chance of meeting its objective.
At the cognitive level, the project manager should be proficient in all knowledge areas and should be able integrate the processes in these knowledge areas to achieve expected project outcomes.
At the context level, the project manager should consider the implications new technologies, social networks, multicultural aspects and virtual teams. Effective communications planning and knowledge management is indispensable, and the project manager requires to be cognizant of the project context.
Integration and Complexity
Complexity within the project has three dimensions.
- System behaviour – the interdependencies
- Human behaviour – the interplay between individuals and groups
- Ambiguity – uncertainties and lack of understanding
The project manager should examine these factors that may make the project complex and ensure that proper integration is identified in the key areas during planning, managing, and controlling the project.