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5 Things a Project Manager Should Not Do
By Mark Norman

The project manager is often asked to do many things, some of which he should do. However, there are certain professional activities that should be carried out by a subject matter expert. Be wary if, on your projects, you are to do the following:

  1. Requirements Engineering

    Certain types of projects such as software development projects require the collecting, ordering and communication of complex requirements. If the gathered requirements are incomplete, wrong or not relevant to the desired outcome then the project may fail. Business analysts or requirements engineers should be used to collect the requirements.

  2. Testing

    The project manager is responsible for delivering the products that achieve the desired project outcomes. He is not responsible for the unit, integration and acceptance testing that ensures the products fit together. A skilled tester will be experienced in creating test scenarios and scripts that test the delivered products.

  3. Contract Negotiation

    When you need to buy in external items from third party suppliers or are engaged by a customer to deliver a project a contract will be required. The project context (regulatory environments) may also dictate what contracts are needed during the project. The creation, negotiation and agreement of such contracts should be carried out by the appropriate legal resource.

  4. Communications

    Slightly controversial as stakeholder management involves a lot of communication but some types of communication are outside the remit of the project manager. Some projects require communication of potentially sensitive messages to groups of people external to the project. This is a very specific type of communication that should be done by appropriately trained and experienced communication teams.

  5. Change Management

    This is a term which is used often but the actual meaning needs to be defined dependent on the context it is used in. Change management when used to deliver organizational change should be carried out by a change manager; project management is a sub function of the wider change management discipline. The boundaries are often not clear and there are often overlaps, the project manager must learn through experience to discern when specialist change management skills are required.

Mark Norman is a leader, project manager, part time archaeologist and mountain climber. You can read more from Mark on his blog.

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