1.3 Roles and Responsibilities of the Project Manager

What is a project manager?

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects.

They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.

Since effective communication is one of the benefits that project management provides, it’ll be no surprise to us that a project manager’s first priority is communication.

It’s commonly estimated that a project manager spends 90% of his or her time performing some type of communication.

But communication is only the tip of the iceberg because a project manager’s role is becoming increasingly complex and varied.

The project manager is the only one with the most holistic view of the project, and so project managers often have to fulfill many unnamed roles, including:

  • The visionary.
  • Relationship manager with the customer, stakeholders, organizational management, and the project team.
  • Leader, mentor, and coach.
  • Change agent.
  • Project public relations manager.
  • Facilitator.
  • Marketing manager.
  • an Arbitrator.
  • Negotiator.
  • Business manager.
  • Accountant.
  • Entrepreneur.
  • Liaison.
  • Clarifier.
  • Gatekeeper.
  • Coordinator.

Effective project management requires that the project manager possess the following characteristics:

  • Knowledge​
    This refers to what the project manager knows about project management.
  • Performance​
    This refers to what the project manager is able to do or accomplish while applying their project management knowledge.
  • Personal
    This refers to how the project manager behaves when performing the project or related activity.
    Personal effectiveness encompasses attitudes, core personality characteristics, and leadership—the ability to guide the project team while achieving project objectives and balancing the project constraints.

Project Manager Responsibilities:

  • Identify requirements.
  • Establish objectives.
  • Balance constraints.
  • Develop project plan.
  • Maintain professional ethics.

Identifying requirements:

The project manager must make sure that the needs and requirements have been identified and validated by the stakeholders.

Not every stakeholder will be able to explicitly outline what his or her requirements will be, so it is the project manager’s job is to ensure that nothing is overlooked, everyone has been heard, and that the requirements have been correctly interpreted and will lead to the desired objectives.

Establishing and communicating clear and achievable results:

The project manager must make sure that all goals, objectives, and deliverables are clearly articulated, understood by all, and that the results can be achieved.

It does no good to have goals that are vague, can't be measured, are misunderstood, or that are unrealistic.

An objective framed as "increase call center response times" not specific.

A measurable and clearer goal would be "technical support personnel will achieve a 90% first-call resolution rate within six months while maintaining or exceeding a 98% caller satisfaction rate as determined by post-call surveys."

Balancing the competing demands for quality, scope, time, and cost:

Project constraints restrict options. How much time, money, or work that can be accomplished affects the quality of the deliverable (how it will be received by the customer).

Scope, time, and cost are often referred to as the triple constraint.

Since the project manager is the one who has the best overall picture of the project, he or she must make sure that there is a reasonable balance between project constraints and project objectives.

For example, each stakeholder requirement increases the scope, time, and money the project will need and may make the project extend beyond hard deadline dates. Likewise, if cost is a limiting factor, the scope may have to be trimmed while not impacting the quality of the deliverable.

Tailoring the specifications, plans, and approaches to fit the different concerns and expectations of the stakeholders:

In collaboration with the project team, the project manager must determine which project management processes are necessary to meet the project objectives, and to what level of rigor the processes will be applied.

The project manager is responsible for facilitating the identification of alternative approaches to reach the project objectives, as well as negotiating, making compromises, and resolving conflicts over objectives and deliverables with stakeholders.

Adhering to the PMP Code of Ethics:

Project Management Professionals (PMPs) and members of PMI must adhere to its ethical code.​

A project manager must be truthful, keep his or her word, and maintain the highest integrity.

Without trust, a project manager will get nowhere with the project team and will not have a professional relationship with stakeholders.

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