Friday, May 07, 2004

Roles & Responsibilities of Project Managers


It is the responsibility of the project manager to make sure that the internal and external customers are satisfied that the project is completed on time, within budget and in compliance with the quality standards specified. The primary responsibility of the project manager is to provide leadership in planning, organizing, and controlling the work efforts to accomplish the project objectives. He has to coordinate the activities of the various team members to ensure that they perform the right tasks at the proper time, as a cohesive group.

Effective project manager has strong leadership skills that will inspire the project team to succeed and also win confidence of the customers. He must have the ability to develop people, excellent communication skills, good interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle stress, excellent problem-solving skills and good time management skills.

Project manager must make the best use of the skills and abilities of their workforce by providing them with sufficient information so that they can develop a rational understanding of the tasks assigned to them. The skills that will make a good project manager together with the attributes and skills, which the project manager should develop to ensure the effectiveness of the project team, are as follows:

i. Leadership – project manager should be able to stimulate action, progress and change.

ii. Technological Understanding – project manager need to have an accurate perception of the technical requirements of the project.

iii. Evaluation and Decision Making – project manager should have the ability to evaluate alternatives and to make informed decisions.

iv. People Management – project manager should be able to motivate their team and have a constant personal drive towards achieving the project’s goals.

v. Design and Maintenance of System – project manager should be able to demonstrate their individual competence and have a complete working knowledge of the internal administration of the project.

vi. Planning and Control – project manager should be constantly monitoring progress against the plan and taking any necessary corrective action using modern planning and monitoring methods.

vii. Financial Awareness – project manager should be proficient in risk management and have a broad financial knowledge.

viii. Procurement – project manager should understand the basics of procurement and be able to develop the procurement strategy for the project.

ix. Communication – project manager should be able to express themselves clearly and unambiguously in speaking and writing and be able to do this in a wide range of situations and with a wide range of people.

x. Negotiation – project managers must be able to understand the contract that defines their project and should be able to manage subcontractors to ensure that the contractual terms are met.

xi. Legal Awareness – the project manager should have an awareness of any legal issues that could affect the project.


Strong leadership is an essential part of good project management. Project managers must provide leadership to their project team members, develop good relationships with key stakeholders, understand the business needs of the project, and prepare realistic project plans. Senior management must participate in the project by providing overall support and direction. Leadership is getting things done through others. It involves inspiring the project team members to work as a team, successfully implementing the plan and achieve the desired objectives of the project.

The project manager establishes the parameters and guidelines for what needs to be done, and the team members determine how to get it done. He creates the culture of task ownership and empowers individuals to own and control their own work task, accepting responsibilities and accountability for performing the work scope within budget and on schedule.

Project managers must have the ability to motivate team members and create a supportive environment by encouraging participation and involvement of all members, in which individuals work as part of a high-performing team and are energized to excel. He must set the tone for the project team by establishing an environment of trust, high expectations, and enjoyment.

Project managers need to communicate and share information with the project team and the customers. He needs to establish ongoing communication with the customers, and keeping them informed as well as providing timely feedback to the team and the customers. Communication needs to be timely, honest, and unambiguous. Effective communication established credibility and builds trust.

Throughout the project, the project manager will need to persuade and negotiate with the customer, the project team, and the upper management. A project manager needs good interpersonal skills to try to influence the thinking and actions of others. He needs to establish clear expectations of members so that everyone knows the importance of their role in achieving the project objectives.

A project manager also needs to be a good problem solver. Good problem solving starts with the early identification of a potential problem and then allowing time to develop a well thought-out solution. Visionary project manager possesses the ability to see the “big picture” and how potential solutions might affect other parts of the project, including relationships with the customer or upper management.

Another important aspect of the project manager is the ability to manage and control changes in order to minimize any negative impact on the successful accomplishment of the project objectives. Changes are going to occur in any project and project managers need to manage and control the changes. Changes may be trivial or may significantly affect the project scope, budget and schedule. At such, procedures and standards need to be established during the project commencement to provide directions and guidelines regarding how changes will be documented and authorized. This should include necessary communication requirements.

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