What Do Project Managers Actually Do?
By Jolyon Hallows
I am often asked what project managers do. Sometimes, I’ve even been asked that by members of my own project team. It’s not easy to describe: My mother, when I patiently explained to her my job, replied, “That’s nice, dear.”
So what is it we do? At the highest level, we apply a set of tools and techniques to move an organization toward a goal. That goal could be to develop a new product or service, to create more effective ways of operating internally, or simply to fix some problem that has become an irritant or exploit some opportunity that has arisen. The organization hands the goal over to a project manager who then does whatever is necessary to achieve it. We are, in effect, goal achievers, turning organizational goals into reality. In doing so, we (mostly) follow proven processes and standard steps, which we modify for each particular goal or project. Read the Complete Article
So You Think You Want to Be a Project Manager?
By Andrea Brockmeier
A question posted on an online discussion group recently asked the question: What would make you quit your job as a project manager? What would make someone not want to be a project manager?
As I considered this, it didn’t take long for things to come to mind. I got to thinking about my students’ and colleagues’ experiences with absent, disinterested, or unsupportive sponsors. I hear this a lot. If you felt like you weren’t supported by a sponsor, that would surely make you want to do something other than project management.
Then I got to thinking about the statistics I had seen reporting on the rates of project success. I couldn’t remember what I had read exactly, but I seemed to remember that they weren’t so good. When I spent a little time digging around for project success rates, I was right. Read the Complete Article
Should Project Managers Also Be the Sponsors for Their Projects?
By Kiron D. Bondale
A number of articles have been written regarding the critical role of effective sponsorship to project success as well as the common challenges project managers face when working with sponsors, so when one of my project managers suggested (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that the panacea might be to have project managers be the project sponsors for their projects, I felt this might be worth discussing!
If we use the Guide to the PMBOK’s definition, a project sponsor holds the purse strings. There are some obvious benefits if a project manager has full control over project financials (including the ability to increase expected spend) – worthwhile scope additions can be funded while no-value or “white elephant” pursuits can be halted. However, this power makes it difficult for a project manager to maintain a truly unbiased point-of-view when evaluating decisions or changes. Read the Complete Article
What Is a Project Manager Already?
By Glen D. Ford
“We’re installing XYZ software and we need to hire a Project Manager. Go hire me one.”
How many times have you been handed a job requirement that looked like this? How often have you seen job requirements that left you scratching your head wondering what you should be looking for when hiring a project manager? Or worse, one that sent you off in search of the impossible dream.
A great deal of confusion exists with this position and what is expected of it. And that leads to an overload of the wrong type of applicant. Or worse, to hiring the wrong person for the job.
In this article, I’m going to address the question of “What is a project manager?” I’m also going to give you some direction as to how to select the appropriate individual.
So the first question is, “What is a project manager?”
In a simplistic answer, a project manager is simply an individual who leads a temporary endeavor or project to completion. Read the Complete Article
What Is a Project Manager and How to Hire One Effectively
By Glen D. Ford
One of the complaints that seem to reappear constantly is that hiring the right project manager is next to impossible. Especially in areas such as IT that is frequently accused of not having enough of the right people in any position.
Which in the face of the current recession (or is it depression) seems strange.
Recent academic studies have shown that problem lies not in the supply but in the demand.
One of the biggest problems with hiring a project manager is simply determining what you really require and asking only for that. But doing that requires a change in the preconceived notions to better reflect reality.
The second problem is being prepared to spend the correct amount to get the required skills. This second issue however, is closely related to the first. In many ways, it stems from the first issue. Read the Complete Article
Role Clarity – Project Manager Responsibilities
By James Clements
Poor role clarity is an issue many projects suffer and it directly affects the motivation and performance of project team members and particularly when it relates to project manager responsibilities.
Role clarity, or lack of it, is especially relevant in joint venture projects, integrated project teams and is most common in newly formed project teams. Lack of role clarity is where project team members are unsure of their day to day roles and responsibilities, the objectives of the project, their level of authority for spending or directing others and the formal reporting structures.
This results in confusion, overlapping effort by project team members and worse still gaps in responsibilities so work does not get completed where “I thought she was responsible for that” often occurs.
Worse still, poor role clarity can result in the errosion of project team members desire to be part of the team and exert above and beyond effort that is required in most projects. Read the Complete Article
Project Planning for Project Sponsors: Why You Need To Be Involved
By Glen D. Ford
So you’ve just been handed a project and a project manager and told that you’re going to be a project sponsor.
And of course, you really don’t know what a project sponsor is and what they do. So now, you have to figure out your role in the project.
Or maybe you’re a hand-off type of project sponsor and your new project manager has started asking you to be involved. So now, you’re wondering why you should be bothered. And you’re probably resenting the time commitment you are being asked to provide.
In other words — why should you be involved?
In this article, I’m going to discuss that very question. Why should the project sponsor be involved in the project planning process? And how much involvement is actually required?
First of all, you need to understand your role in the project governance process. Read the Complete Article
Project Manager or Project Sponsor?
By Yvonne Byars
I’m compelled to ask and answer the question of which role would be a role of preference? The role of a Project Manager (PM) or that of a Project Sponsor (PS)?
But first to answer the question, we must quickly clarify the role of each. Project Managers are often associated with several different fields but with a common definition of a person who plans, executes, organize and budgets a project.
The project sponsor works with the project management team, typically assisting with matters such as project funding, clarifying scope, monitoring progress, and influencing others in order to benefit the project.
So with that being said, which one would you prefer to be?
There’s often a blur of what each position requires; the leadership, time, client engagement and resources available to each role.
Both come with their share of ups & downs.
Let’s evaluate some of them below:
Project Manager Pros
- Responsible for delivering the project
- Center of the interactions between stakeholders and the project itself
Project Manager Cons
- Responsible for delivering the project
- Leads teams of people to accomplish project goals that don’t report to them
Project Sponsor Pros
- Provides funding
- Links to senior management
Project Sponsor Cons
- Serves as an escalation point
- Provides go/no-go decisions when risks are particularly high
What do you think? Read the Complete Article
A New Project Manager’s Role
By Conrado Morlan
Having the opportunity to work for a company that operates in more than 200 countries and territories and is the global leader in logistics has given me the opportunity to lead large global and regional information technology projects. Organizations like the one where I work use projects to produce benefits that contribute to strategic objectives.
While technology is the component that made the projects complex, the element of culture, both national and organizational, amplified the complexity to produce the project benefits.
That is why project management professionals needs to go beyond responsibility for purely technical objectives and adopt a business-oriented approach. As the transition takes place, the project manager will accept the new status quo in which he or she will explore new ways to lead, execute, and deliver projects supported by multi-generational, dispersed and diverse teams. In this new environment, the project manager will be required to build generational and cultural awareness as well as other soft skills that will support the new function. Read the Complete Article
Project Management Is Also About Selling!
By Kerry Wills
People drawn to the Project Management profession are usually organized and drivers of work. What Project Managers should also realize is that there is a “selling” aspect to their roles. Think about it – we are always selling something…
- Confidence in delivery
- Reasons to use standards or meet commitments
- Options and recommendations to senior management
- Motivating team members
- The benefits of the program to stakeholders
It is not enough to just manage the project plan and trust that things will work out. We need to influence others around key aspects of our programs and this requires selling skills. So we need to always put ourselves in a ‘selling mindset’ and realize that part of our jobs is selling to the stakeholders.
Kerry Wills is a proven Program Manager/Portfolio Manager with an extensive background in Project Management, consulting, and application development. Kerry has consistently demonstrated the ability to plan and implement large and complex projects on time and on/under budget. Read the Complete Article