Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities

Table of Contents:-

  • Project Manager’s Approach to Issue Management
  • Who is Project Manager?
  • Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities
  • Authority of Project Manager
  • Responsibilities of Project Manager
  • Skills of Project Manager

There are several roles and responsibilities of project manager as he is responsible for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closure of a project.

Project Manager’s Approach to Issue Management

Project managers should be proactive about how they communicate their issue management plan at the beginning of the project. This usually requires calling a meeting with the project team members to go over the process of managing project issues from beginning to end; including how to open issues, how to close issues, when to report issues, and what tools to use. By the end of the meeting, every team member should clearly understand how the project manager will oversee issue management throughout the project.

The project manager then works with the customers and walks them through the issue management plan before any activities begin so they have the same understanding as the team members on how the project manager will manage issue management. This plan provides customers with the foundation of how the project manager controls and manages project issues. The plan also sets expectations of the process to raise issues they discover independently.

Who is Project Manager?

A project manager is a facilitator. The ideal project manager does whatever it takes to ensure that the project team members can do their work. The project manager must possess a combination of skills, including the ability to ask penetrating questions, identify unstated assumptions and resolve personnel conflicts, and more systematic management skills.

Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities

The project manager has to play different roles during his tenure. These roles and responsibilities of project manager are as follows:

  1. Communicator
  2.  Entrepreneur
  3. Change Agents
  4. Foresighted
  5. Decision-Maker
  6. Motivator

1) Communicator

The project manager is the main point of all communication in a project. Acts like a communication hub or a server and collects various information and processes them. The manager is also responsible for communicating the methods, and targets to various members of the project team and heads the review meetings.

2) Entrepreneur

The project manager may not be the entrepreneur or owner himself but has to assume the role of an entrepreneur. The manager is responsible for the procurement of funds, facilities and people for the project and is also accountable for failure and wins all credits in the situation of success. The success of any project mainly depends upon the entrepreneur.

3) Change Agents

The project manager brings about the changes and attempts to reduce the opposing forces developed due to the change process. All changes bring in oppositional forces and they are very high particularly in projects as they are generally aimed at radical changes.

4) Foresighted

Risk is an inherent characteristic of any project. The successful project manager predicts the risks or deviations and plans to face the possible variations. In situations when the unexpected is not seen and it occurs, then the project manager leads the team to face the problem like a firefighter.

5) Decision-Maker

 The project manager is responsible for the allocation of resources, defining the project scope, and managing the cost and schedule as per the plans. The manager controls the project to retain the project schedules and costs and decrease the sources of deviations.

6) Motivator

 No expedition is completed successfully without committed and motivated crew members. The captain of the ship or project manager is responsible to create the motivation level of his team members and maintain it through the ups and downs. A project also goes through situations when it is as dark as a blue moon and no success is visualised. There are times when the project manager’s major role is to bring back the confidence of the team members in the project. The manager should maintain the enthusiasm and excitement of his teams.

There are two types of motivation:

i) That stimulates people to do work, and

ii) Refers to the workforce from fatigue.

Motivation in project management can be brought up by:

i) Making them feel meaningful for the project,

ii) Making them feel that it will help boost their career,

iii) Not allowing them to get confused or insecure, and

iv) Removing misbalance between perceived and received rewards.

For example, the project manager should forecast an increase in prices of steel which is going to be there for a short period and accumulate the steel in advance. But if due to a transport strike or some other reason, a shortage of steel occurs, then the manager should plan it so that the project schedule does not suffer because of the strike.

The project manager may opt for either acquiring steel from another place or project and if that is not possible should re-plant the work schedule and complete the other remaining work without steel for the period when the strike is there.

Authority of Project Manager

Once agreement has been reached as to the project manager’s authority and responsibility, the results must be documented to delineate his role regarding:

1) Conflict between the project manager and functional managers,

2) Participation in major management and technical decisions,

3) His focal position,

4) Control over allocation and expenditure of funds,

5) Influence to cut across functional and organizational lines,

6) Rights in resolving conflicts,

7) Collaboration in staffing the project,

8) Establishment of project plans,

9) Selection of sub-contractors,

10) Providing leadership in preparing operational requirements,

11) Voice in maintaining the integrity of the project team,

12) Promoting technological and managerial improvements,

13) Providing a cost-effective information system for control,

14) Cutting red tape.

15) Maintaining prime customer liaison and contact,

16) Establishment of project organization for the duration, and

Perhaps the best way to document the project manager’s authority is through the project charter, which is one of the three methods by which project managers attain authority. Documenting the project manager’s authority is required because of the following reasons:

1) The project manager must have the authority to “force” functional managers to depart from existing standards and possibly incur risk.

2) The project manager should not attempt to fully describe the exact authority and responsibilities of his project office personnel or team members. Instead, one should encourage problem-solving rather than role definition.

3) All interfacing must be kept as simple as possible.

4) The project manager must gain authority over those elements of a program that are not under his control. This is generally achieved by earning the respect of the concerned individuals.

Responsibilities of Project Manager

The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the customer is satisfied with completing the work scope, meeting high-quality standards, staying within budget, and adhering to the agreed-upon timeline. The project manager has primary responsibility for providing leadership in planning, organising and controlling the work effort to accomplish the project objective. In other words, the project manager provides leadership to the project team to achieve the project objectives.

Following are some of the important roles and responsibilities of project manager.

1) Planning

The project manager clearly defines the project objective and reaches an agreement with the customer on this objective. The manager then communicates this objective to the project team in such a manner as to create a vision of what will constitute the successful accomplishment of the objective. The project manager spearheads the development of a plan to achieve the project objective. By involving the project team in developing this plan, the project manager ensures a more comprehensive plan than he or she could develop alone.

2) Organising

Organising involves securing the appropriate resources to perform the work. First, the project manager must decide which tasks should be done in-house and which tasks should be done by sub-contractors or consultants. For tasks that will be carried out in-house, the project manager gains a commitment from the specific people who will work on the project. For tasks that will be performed by sub-contractors, the project manager clearly defines the work scope and deliverables and negotiates a contract with each sub-contractor. The project manager also assigns responsibility and delegates authority to specific individuals or sub-contractors for the various tasks, with the understanding that they will be accountable for the accomplishment of their tasks within the assigned budget and schedule.

3) Controlling

To manage the project effectively, the project manager deploys a project management information system designed to monitor progress and compare it with the planned schedule. This system helps the manager to differentiate between business and achievements. Project team members supervise the progress of their assigned tasks and continuously provide data on schedule, progress and costs.

Skills of Project Manager

The project manager is a key ingredient in the success of a project. In addition to providing leadership in organising, planning, and controlling the project. The manager should possess a set of skills that will inspire the project team to succeed and win the customer’s confidence.

1) Time Management Skills

Good project managers manage their time well. Projects require a lot of energy because they involve many unexpected events and concurrent activities. To make optimal use of the time available, project managers have to have self-discipline, be able to prioritize and show a willingness to delegate.

2) Problem-Solving Skills

A project manager must possess strong problem-solving skills. Although it’s easier to identify problems than to solve them, good problem-solving starts with the early identification of a problem or potential problem. Early identification of a problem will allow more time to develop a well-thought-out solution. In addition, if a problem is identified early, it may be less costly to solve and may have less impact on other parts of the project. Good problem identification requires a timely and accurate data-driven information system; open and timely communication among the project team, the sub-contractors and the customer and some “gut feelings” based on experience.

The project manager should encourage team members to identify problems early and resolve them independently. The project team needs to be self-directed in problem-solving and rely on something other than the project manager to initiate the resolution process.

3) Leadership Ability

Leadership is getting things done through others; the project manager achieves results through the project team. Project leadership involves inspiring the people assigned to the project team to implement the plan and achieve the project objective successfully. The project manager needs to create for the team a vision of the result and benefits of the project. For example, the project manager describes a new layout for a plant that will be the result of a project and articulates the benefits of this project such as the elimination of bottlenecks, increased throughput and reduced inventory. When project team members can envision the results, they will be more motivated to work as a team to complete the project successfully.

Project leadership requires the involvement and empowerment of the project team. Individuals want to have ownership and control of their work. They aim to demonstrate their ability to achieve goals and overcome challenges. The project manager should engage individuals in decisions that impact them and empower them to make decisions within their designated areas of responsibility.

4) Communication Skills

Project managers must be good communicators. They need to communicate regularly with the project team, as well as with any sub-contractors, the customer and their own company’s upper management. Effective and frequent communication is essential for maintaining the project’s momentum, identifying potential issues, soliciting suggestions to enhance project performance, staying informed about customer satisfaction, and avoiding surprises. A high level of communication is vital early in the project to foster a strong working relationship with the project team and establish clear expectations with the customer.

Effective project managers communicate and share information through various channels. They have meetings and informal conversations with the project team, the customer and the company’s upper management. They also provide written reports to the customer and upper management. All these tasks require that the project manager have good oral and written communication skills.

5) Ability to Develop People

The effective project manager commits to the training and development of people working on the project. He or she uses the project as an opportunity to add value to each person’s experience base so that all members of the project team are more knowledgeable and competent at the end of the project than when they started it. The project manager should establish an environment where people can learn from the tasks they perform and the situations they experience and observe and he or she must communicate to the team the significance of continuous self-development activities. One way of encouraging such activities is to talk about the importance of self-development project team meetings. Another way is to meet with project team members individually at the beginning of their project assignments and encourage them to take advantage of their roles to expand their knowledge and skills.

6) Interpersonal Skills

The project manager needs to establish clear expectations for members of the project team so that everyone knows the importance of his or her role in achieving the project objective. The project manager can do so by involving the team in developing a project plan that shows which tasks individuals are assigned and how those tasks fit together. Similar to the coach of an athletic team, the project manager should stress that everyone’s contribution is valuable in executing the plan successfully.

The project manager must develop a relationship with each person on the project team. This may sound like a time-consuming activity, but it isn’t necessarily so. It requires making the time to have an informal conversation with each person on the project team and with each key individual in the customer’s organization. These conversations, initiated by the project manager, can take place during work or outside the office. They can occur over lunch, while travelling with the person on a business trip or while sitting next to the individual at a Little League game. Such situations provide an opportunity for the project manager to get to know the various people on the project team.

7) Ability to Handle Stress

Project managers need to be able to handle the stress that can occur from work situations. Stress is likely to be high when a project is in jeopardy of not meeting its objective because of s cost overrun, a schedule delay or technical problems with the equipment or system; when changes in scope are requested by the customer, or when conflict arises within the project team regarding the most appropriate solution to a problem. Project activity can get both tense and intense at times. The project manager cannot panic; he must remain unruffled. The effective project manager can cope with constantly changing conditions.

The project manager needs to have a good sense of humour. Used appropriately, humour can help a project manager handle the stress and break the tension. Since the project manager sets an example for the project team and demonstrates what acceptable behaviour on the project is, any humour must be in good taste. A manager should not tell inappropriate jokes or have improper items hanging on the office wall and he or she must make it known to the project team right from the beginning that such behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top