A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, execution and closure of a project. This title is used in the construction industry, architecture, and many different occupations that are based on production of a product or service. The project manager must possess a combination of skills including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve interpersonal conflicts as well as more systematic management skills.
Key amongst his/her duties is the recognition that risk directly impacts the likelihood of success and that this risk must be both formally and informally measured throughout the lifetime of the project. Risk arises primarily from uncertainty and the successful project manager is the one who focuses upon this as the main concern. Most of the issues that impact a project arise in one way or another from risk. A good project manager can reduce risk significantly, often by adhering to a policy of open communication, ensuring that every significant participant has an opportunity to express opinions and concerns.
It follows from the above that a project manager is one who is responsible for making decisions both large and small, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimised. Every decision taken by the project manager should be taken in such a way that it directly benefits the project. Project managers use project management software, such as Microsoft Project, to organise their tasks and workforce. These software packages allow project managers to produce reports and charts in a few minutes, compared to the several hours it can take if they do not use a software package
Roles and Responsibilities
The role of the project manager encompasses many activities including:
- Planning and Defining Scope
- Activity Planning and Sequencing
- Resource Planning
- Developing Schedules
- Time Estimating
- Cost Estimating
- Developing a Budget
- Controlling Quality
- Managing Risks and Issues
- Creating Charts and Schedules
- Risk Analysis
- Benefits Realisation
- Scalability, Interoperability and Portability Analysis
- Team Leadership
- Strategic Influencing
- Customer Liaison
Last but not least, in order to be successful, the project manager must be given support and authority by senior management.