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Role of a Project Manager

January 23, 2015
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project manager role and responsibilities

Are you one of those people who think that project managers do nothing but just delegate tasks to other team members and their development environment is email? Or are you someone who is interested in being a project manager as the role seems exciting?

A project manager has many responsibilities in a project and has to wear different hats at different stages of the project to ensure that project activities take place with clockwork precision. A project manager is responsible for successful delivery of the project within the defined constraints of time quality, cost scope and risk. Of course the project team members are responsible for their tasks but the project manager is accountable for the project as a whole.

Let us look at the role of a project manager in various project management processes -

Scope Management

The project manager has to define, document, manage, validate and control the scope of the project. He/She has to ensure that the requirements documents contain only what the project is intended to do. He has to create a detailed Work Breakdown Structure. A Change control process needs to be defined so that changes to requirements are documented, validated, controlled and requisite changes can be made to cost, schedule and efforts.

Cost Management

The project manager needs to plan, estimate, budget and control project costs. The project manager has to define policies and procedures to manage and control project costs. He/She has to estimate the project cost. There are various ways to estimate cost like expert judgement, parametric and analogous estimation. The project manager has to measure project performance for controlling costs using tools like Earned Value Management (EVM), TCPI (To-Complete Performance Index). The project manager has to choose the best methods as per project characteristics, organization mandate and client requirements.

Time Management

Projects are temporary undertakings to create some service, product or application. It is important to complete them on time. The project manager needs to sequence the tasks defined, estimate the duration for each task and make a schedule and assign resources to each task so that the project finishes in optimum time. He/ She can use one of the three mathematical methods like PERT, CPM and GERT for scheduling.

Quality Management

The project manager has to define the quality standards that will be adopted in the project management plan. He should ensure that quality assurance and quality control are inbuilt in the project lifecycle. Top IT companies like Infosys, Accenture, Mastek and Syntel are CMMI level 5 certified SEI CMMi which ensures they follow certain guidelines regarding delivery process and end products. Project managers have to take client considerations and organization quality mandate to decide upon the quality plan for the project. He/She needs to plan activities in the project that will verify the quality of the product/application.

Resource Management

When the project breakdown structure is made, the various tasks are known and the skillsets required can be arrived at. The project manager has to then acquire resources with relevant skills. Trainings and appraisals of team members fall in the purview of the role of the project manager. He/She also has to manage the softer aspects of team building, motivation, retaining talent etc. He/She has to manage procurement of hardware, software and licenses. Vendor management is also an important aspect of the role.

Communication Management

The project manager is the bridge between all project team members and stakeholders in the project. He/She has to plan, collect, retrieve, store, archive and update project information. He/She will be constantly communicating with team members, stakeholders, suppliers, customers so that everyone has an accurate picture of the project status.

Risk Management

A risk is an unforeseen event that can have a negative or positive impact on the project. Requirements changes, incorrect estimation, not getting skilled resources, stakeholders conflicts are examples of risks. These can impact cost, effort or schedule. The project manager should list down risks, assess the probability and severity of risk and have risk control mechanisms in place. The risks should be revisited and reassessed throughout the project lifecycle.

Integration Management

Project manager has to identify, define, manage interdependencies between tasks and ensure execution of project tasks so that client requirements are successfully fulfilled. It includes developing the project charter, making the project management plan, controlling project tasks and manage changes. He/She should also take care of project closure activities such as client sign off, repository management, update of relevant project documentation and lessons learnt documentation.

A project manager needs to play many characters in his role. He/She needs to be :

- A leader

- A good communicator

- A Negotiator

- Well Organized

- Person who can drive people to complete their tasks

- Person who can be empathic to the team and also take decisions which might not be correct but unpopular.

If you think you have these skills in you, you are ready to be a project manager. Click here to learn more about project management.


About the Author

Vidya Kumar is a management graduate with 14 years of experience in the IT industry managing complex Software Projects across various industry verticals. She has around 6 years experience in content development. She has co-authored two eBooks and writes regularly on personal finance, IT, travel and other business topics.


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