Project Manager Skills

Written by on November 12, 2012 in Project Management with 0 Comments

PlanningManaging a project is not an individual activity.  Every successful project has a team who work together to get the work done.  A key player on your project team is the Project Manager.  It is extremely important that you select a project manager who will be able to lead the team to a successful project conclusion.

Very often, the person chosen to lead the project gets picked by default or because of their position in the organization.  Think about the project managers in your organization.  Are they supervisors?  Line managers?  Experienced in area?  Or do you have a professional project management staff?

Before you assign the role of project manager for your next project consider the tasks that a project manager should perform.  The PM has a very hands-on role to play.  If you assign the task to a busy manager or supervisor, chances are that your projects will fail.  They are too busy to devote the time and attention needed to get the work done.  Let’s look at the typical tasks that a PM assumes.

1.  The PM is responsible for producing documents – lots of them!  For example, each project should have a plan of action, vision statement, goals and objectives, charter, milestones and timeline, regular status updates.  Then there are meeting minutes and agendas for every scheduled meeting.  Often, there are research and procedural documents that must be collected, shared and stored.  Some of these documents may be assigned to others, but the primary responsibility for completing the documents resides with the PM.

Consider the project managers within your organization.  Do they have the skills to create and manage the necessary documents to organize and report on the progress of the project?  Do they communicate well with the team?  If not, the supervisor or line manager may not be the right choice for PM.

2.  The project manager is also responsible for keeping track of the big picture.  This means keeping track of the various components of the project and the status of each one.  If you lose sight of the big picture, your project will easily get off track.  Deadlines will be missed.  Key activities won’t be completed.  All of which leads to delays and project failure.

3.  The project manager is responsible for motivating the project team and helping them to grow.  This means taking the time to speak with individuals on the team and working with them to develop their own skills as they work on projects.  How effective is your supervisor at mentoring and guiding those on the team?  It’s said that you can’t motivate others, but you can help each individual understand their role in completing the project successfully and encouraging them to stretch and grow.  This takes a special person to be able to be both task and people oriented.

4.  The project manager is also the lead communicator with sponsors, stakeholders, and team members.  The PM needs to be able to effectively communicate the status of the project at a high level as well as more details for others.  For example, can your PM create PowerPoint presentations that are informative and concise?  Does the PM have the time to communicate with team members to answer questions and encourage them to complete their assigned tasks on time?  Successfully communicating with all the parties involved takes time.

Have you freed-up your PM to successfully complete the project?  Chances are that you just add more work to your team members without reducing their current workload.  Managing a project takes time and the skills to effectively organize and communicate with everyone involved.  Careful selection of a project manager can mean the difference between success and failure.

By the way, if you really want to identify the problem areas small businesses face when starting new projects, check this out:  http://smallbusinessprojectmanagement.com

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