What Does A Project Manager Do?
Whether the work involves constructing a new building, developing a computer program or organizing a nationwide conference, project managers are the people responsible for the ultimate success of an undertaking. Yes, they have a team under them who does most of the leg work but without a project manager at the helm, it would be difficult to coordinate everyone’s roles and get the work done successfully on time and within the set budget. And that is essentially the role of a project manager: They take care of planning activities, organizing people and allocating resources to ensure that the project gets finished, the clients are satisfied and company management is happy at the outcome.
Project managers are needed in virtually all industries to handle various kinds of projects that vary in size and scope. Companies typically hire project managers from the ranks and prefer those who already have experience with the kind of work that the project will seek to accomplish. This is to ensure that the manager has intimate knowledge about the work that needs to be performed and has the skills necessary to lead the team to finish the project to fruition.
No matter what industry they are in or the kind of work they are asked to do, the tasks that project managers need to do are similar. For starters, they usually meet with company leaders to determine the goals of the project. In case the company is doing the work for a client, project managers may have to schedule a meeting with the client as well so that they get a first-hand idea of what the client wants.
When the final concept of the project has already been decided on, project managers will discuss the schedule, expenses and resources that are needed to complete the undertaking. Based on their technical knowledge and expertise, they come up with a plan and set milestones to signify that a particular segment or stage of the project is finished.
Depending on the company, project managers may be given the members of his team or they may be asked to choose their own crew. They then delegate the tasks that need to be accomplished to each member, taking into account their expertise and experience. They also schedule regular meetings with the team members to keep everyone apprised of each person’s progress and make sure that all their concerns are adequately addressed. It is expected that there will be differing opinions in a group and it is the task of project managers to mediate and get everyone to work together.
There will inevitably be materials, supplies and equipment that will be needed for the undertaking. Project managers are also responsible for meeting with suppliers and contractors and trying to get the best deal for materials and services. They see to it that these are delivered on time so that the work will proceed on schedule. As the project progresses, they regularly check and confer with everyone involved to ascertain if previously established milestones are being met. They also do regular inspections to ensure that the quality of the work is not compromised.
Any project will always have its own share of risks. Project managers have the ability to determine what these risks are and more importantly, they have a plan to deal with them in case they arise. Knowing how to manage these risks is extremely important so that delays and excessive spending are averted. During times of difficulties, project managers know how to keep their head above the situation and rally the team members so that the work gets done in spite of the challenges.
Project managers have to keep company management apprised of how the project is doing. They regularly report to them about what stage the project is already in and whether it is proceeding as planned. If there are problems encountered during the undertaking, they also make their bosses aware of it so that expectations and outcomes are managed.
If senior leaders hear of issues about the project or have concerns about how it is being carried out, they talk to the project manager who will be responsible for informing other members of the team about it. They will then lead the team in a brainstorming session to determine ways to address these issues.