How Does a Project Manager Steer a Project Towards Success?
You have often heard of project managers. But what are their responsibilities and how do they make projects successful? Read this article to find out.
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Often the things that we hear about project managers from their teams are not much in their favor.
You might have heard employees saying that project managers do nothing expect for arranging meetings and asking to report the progress of tasks several times a day. If you also believe this to be true, you are missing the big picture of project management and how a project manager fits in it.
Through this article, I will shed some light on the responsibilities of project managers and their attributes that help in the successful completion of projects. But before moving to that, let’s take a quick look at what truly defines a project manager.
Who Is a Project Manager?
A project manager is a professional responsible for implementing various project management techniques to ensure timely delivery of projects. Within the organization, a project manager takes charge of planning, executing, supervising, and controlling projects.
Also, whether a team member needs information on the project scope, or the upper management needs to know the progress of a project, the project manager is the go-to person.
The most critical thing that makes the role of project manager challenging is that they need to get projects completed within the predefined constraints. The primary constraints include time, budget, scope, and quality.
Project Manager Responsibilities
Now, it must have been clear to you that the ultimate responsibility of a manager is to close projects successfully. But, what are the everyday duties that project managers need to carry out? Well, I am listing down the most common responsibilities of project managers that will help you understand what they do in their cabins (throughout the day).
Defining project scope and creating action plans
Time and budget management
Monitoring project progress
Identifying and managing risks
Ensuring customer satisfaction
Creating project reports and documents
Key Attributes of a Project Manager - How They Drive Teams and Projects
After knowing the responsibilities, you may think that you might be a great fit for the position of a project manager, and you may be! However, things will become more clear when you get to know the skills or attributes that are common among people who are exceptional project managers.
The ability to plan things for the future is the most important characteristic that a person leading a project should have. Being a visionary is extremely important for a project manager to side-step roadblocks that come in the way while working on any project. At the same time, sharing the vision with the team is also important to make sure that every member knows their part in the project and stays motivated to give their best.
Good project managers are always good leaders because they have to lead by example. When team members focus on their work, they need someone who can guide them and see if they are moving in the right direction. And project managers are supposed to work as the catalyst that can direct people working on the project.
Decision making is an integral part of project management and project managers need to make decisions now and then. However, it’s critical thinking that puts a fine line between good and bad decisions. Project managers who are critical thinkers know how to collect, analyze, and systematically evaluate information to come with the best solution.
Good Communicator and Negotiator
Within any organization, information needs to flow without any resistance among the people associated with projects. Project managers must possess great communication skills to communicate effectively with executives, teams, stakeholders, vendors, and clients to maintain a harmonious work environment.
They are accountable for ensuring the circulation of a variety of information such as project goals, expectations, suggestions, and feedback. Additionally, the ability to negotiate and persuade individuals with whom project managers communicate is key to the success of both projects and teams.
It’s a no-brainer that a person who has to take care of so many responsibilities altogether needs to be well-versed in various dimensions of project management. A project manager must know how to delegate tasks to a pool of people, stay calm when the project work is moving over a rough patch, bind teams together, and do everything in their power to keep projects on track, all of which comes only with experience.
Technical knowledge is yet another must-have quality of a good project manager. A project manager must be familiar with the core technology that the business is using to operate itself. The importance of technical knowledge is of paramount importance for project managers working in any modern-day industry. By having technical expertise in the business’s core technology, project managers will have a clear idea of what exactly the people on their team are doing.
Moreover, as the field of project management is largely driven by technology in the form of tools such as Gantt chart apps, project management software, etc., a good project manager always needs to have the required knowledge to leverage these technologies to benefit themselves as well as the business.
A project manager is indeed the one who guides teams to complete projects and achieve milestones. However, at the same time, it’s also a fact that without teams there are no project managers. So, the most important quality of productive project managers is that they develop good relationships with each member of a team. For this, being understanding is imperative.
Project managers with a good track record in project management must always have the quality of connecting with their teams emotionally. They understand that every individual has a life beyond work, which affects their performance at times. Instead of letting a team member choke up, a responsible project manager always does the needful to help the team member out of its grief.
Why Is It Difficult For Organizations to Work Efficiently Without Project Managers?
As we all know, most businesses employ several teams that work on different projects. Above that, each team needs to complete tasks according to a project’s scope, communicate progress, coordinate with concerned teams and authorities, and so on.
With so many things to manage in such a complex environment bloated with deadlines, reporting duties, etc., projects can go haywire any time. A project manager not only assists teams, executives, and clients to coordinate but also takes various measures to complete a project on or before its due time while achieving all the predefined objectives.
For small businesses that are working on a couple of projects with a limited workforce, it is somewhat possible to keep work moving without a project manager. But in medium and large businesses, the need for project managers can’t be overlooked.
As it is quite evident that project managers play a significant role in uniting several people within their organization and drive projects towards successful completion. And, I hope after reading this article you would have framed a clear understanding of how project managers act as an integral part of any business, and how they steer the projects and teams toward success.
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