Traits of the Project Manager

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One of the most important components of project management is the person at the centre of the operation – the Project Manager. A project manager is expected to manage and be fully responsible for the planning, control and monitoring of a project all within a specific time frame and to a pre-determined budget. A project that is of a considerable scale can leave a project manager under pressure with budget, resource and time constraints. However saying this, a project manager’s job can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs when a project is successfully executed and closed.

The role of the project manager is very important in the management of projects. To explain the role of an effective project manager I have combined a list of qualities that project managers should possess.

1. Managing goals/objectives

The way in which the project manager defines the end goals of the project is important. If the deliverables of the project are wrongly defined it will have a negative impact on the finished result. By getting, for example, the stakeholders input can help in the definition of the goals and prevent any problems from arising during the project. Also important is that every individual involved in the project has a clear understanding of the goals and objectives.

2. Risk Management

Project managers are expected to implement a project, using a well managed process that meets its expectations and objectives and all this must be within time and budget constraints. This is the ideal situation, but all too often this situation is not the reality as all projects carry with them a certain amount of risk. Risk is unavoidable and therefore the project manager should have a method in place to manage the risk from the very beginning and not let it creep up on them. The project manager should be at the centre of the risk management process to ensure that all aspects of the risk are examined.

An example of a project management risk process could be:

  1. Identify the risk by sitting down with the project team to get as much input as possible
  2. Plot the risk against the probability of the risk occurring and the impact that it would have if it was to happen.
  3. Develop a relevant response to the risk if it was to occur.
  4. Continuous control and monitoring of the risk.

3. Communication

Communication is of upmost importance in a project. The project manager needs to listen to his team members as their opinions could be valuable to the project. The project manager must establish clear channels of communication in order for all involved to be updated regularly on the project. From the outset it would be advised to have a timetable of when and how communication will take place. For example, a project status meeting for all involved in the project should take place once a week at the same time of day. Limiting the face-to-face communication and using merely emails and phone calls could have a negative impact on the project.

4. Conflicts

Conflict is inevitable and shouldn’t be feared by a project manager. How the project manager deals with conflict is important as it has been seen that several advantages can arise from conflict taking place, such as;

  1. Improved communication among the project team
  2. Breaking down of barriers
  3. Boosting morale

When the project manager is faced with the situation where conflict does arise, the following could ensure that the conflict doesn’t leave a lasting impression of the project:

  • Confront the problem and fan out any issues.
  • Listening allows the conflicts to take its course by giving the people involved a chance to give their opinions and feelings on the situation.
  • Respect and empathize with all involved (this will help defuse the conflict and help deliver an air of positively to the situation).
  • Help the parties come to a compromise so that all is accepting of the final decision.

5. Decision Making

On a daily basis project managers have a number of options to choose from and therefore the decision making process is a significant part of their job. The project manager is expected to constantly make these decisions at various stages of the project. Prior to the decision making process the project manager is faced with an abundance of data; this data is ultimately going to shape the final decision. The project manager must comprehensively and consistently examine this data to ensure that the correct decision is made for the good of the project. By not having a decision making process in place the project manager risks putting the project into jeopardy.

Overall the project manager has the weight of the project, stakeholders and sponsors, project team members and ultimately the organization on their shoulders. An average project manager in most situations won’t cut it. A project manager needs to have the dedication and determination behind them in order for the project and their career to succeed.

 

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