The question of the project manager’s role in the company is often asked by people, who have never run a business. And the responsibilities of one are vital for the company. Even though he (or she) may not be responsible for key economic aspects or ideas, they make the business, the workplace, and the overall atmosphere comfortable and pleasant for people, who work there. That is why this article is directly dedicated to the role of a project manager and why it is important to not overlook this specialist.
Any business is a project, and any project is simply a collection of mutually connected operations and actions, that all are focused on the same result. And here is a good space for a student to develop a vast variety of their skills. Of course, it takes time, and it will be hard to combine with your studies, but you can always hire someone to write a research paper while you are dealing with this new information.
When hiring staff, it is important to carefully search for people, who will think and appreciate the business as its owners do. And the words “interconnected”, “temporary”, “restrictions”, as well as many other meanings from the definition of the project go hand in hand with them through life.
Though, this task is quite a challenge. Identifying the problem, thinking of all possible solutions, and, finally, choosing the exact one you need, not only requires special knowledge but even some natural skills a perfect project manager obtains and uses, like no one else. And most often in such a situation, when something does not go according to plan – and therefore always – a leader appears.
What is Project Management Itself?
Most often, project managers are looking for projects for the development of a prototype, MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and modules (functional blocks) of a software product, individual features, and components. A project manager is usually expected to be a natural effective multitasker, who is capable of finding a solution to a variety of issues with only one answer.
The main task of PM is to do the job so that the client likes everything and does not have any complaints. To do this, the PM manages one or more teams that are involved in the software development cycle. The PM is given strict deadlines and a specific budget (and any other resources). And then – himself.
Where does PM work begin?
Despite the natural interdependence of classic marketing metrics, not a single client has come to us and said that he is ready to neglect any of those, which are time, size and, of course, money. Therefore, requirements are imposed on any project, with the implementation and control of which someone should help the development team.
This assistance is transformed into 4 basic management functions: Planning; Organization; Direction; Control.
At the beginning of the article, I already mentioned that before starting the project, we carry out a fairly large set of activities for the preparation of documentation, layouts, architectural solutions. The beginning of the project often comes after having done loads of work already. These include the analysis of all the needed papers, the creation of a detailed project plan. That means, that basically, they do everything to prepare for the project, from the analysis of the initial idea to even planning the budget.
The task of the Project Manager is to work with both employees and clients. They have to be present at job interviews in order to collect specialists and make them understand the views and aims of the company, explain the responsibilities. Other than that, they build the format of communication with clients and teach both sides how to cooperate effectively with each other.
As a result (the most important one), the customer receives a full detailed plan of what the project will look like and what means will be needed to achieve the set goals.
The Role of PM in the Team
PM’s task is to assist the team and create comfortable work conditions for them, and to give the client the opportunity to observe the work being done for him (or her). It is highly improbable that the project manager will grow tired of managing people, coordinating routines, holding group meetings, maintaining levels of motivation and decreasing possible risks, running demos, producing reports, gathering feedback, and managing adjustments even in the regular course of a project’s functioning. Thus, due to their central role in the management of any task within the project, well-qualified PMs are a necessity.
What a Good PM should know
As a result of having so many duties, it is necessary for someone to be educated in a number of disciplines at the same time. Therefore, project managers in fact studying a lot and, basically, throughout their whole lives. This is why he has to know the time it takes for each member of the team to complete their tasks, how much money is available, and how to inspire their staff.
They need to be the inspiration and the spirit of the team, keeping them loyal to the project and respectful to each other’s work. This is why we are talking even more about their soft skills and, maybe, sometimes personal traits, rather than academic performance (which is by no means less important though). This is the one to follow.
Future Career Opportunities
Within the company, PM can, over time, expand its functionality and increase the area of responsibility – starting to manage several teams and projects at the same time. And even grow to Project Director.
PMs also often move into product management, either as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach. And if the Project Manager is more involved in the technical part of the project implementation process, then he can become the development manager or, for example, Delivery Manager.
In order to do complex projects, one cannot do with the efforts of the company’s leaders and developers alone. If there are more than two developers working on a project, you need someone to manage their work. Ideally, keep programmers from communicating with clients altogether. The director is not a project manager, he solves global strategic tasks. Don’t try to control everything yourself. For everything to work, it’s not enough to add one more new position. Set up business processes and create transparent and understandable employee motivation systems.