Isn’t that just another position to fill, another drain on the company’s finances? You could probably do most of the work yourself. The short answer, sure, you could absolutely take on the additional responsibilities or spread those responsibilities amongst the other team members. But in the end, if there is a PM in place, it could save you time and money.
So, from start to finish, what can and should a PM be providing? Below is the list I assembled while sitting down and reviewing my own project management experience. Each of these could easily be their own separate blog topic. But, for the sake of answering your question in a timely fashion, just a brief statement will be made about each. They are listed in alphabetical order to emphasize that they are all of equal importance.
- Accountability – Whether it’s great news or dire circumstances, whether it’s their fault or the fault of some natural disaster, the one that should be accountable for all aspects of the project is the PM. A good PM has the strength of leadership to bear this mantle.
- Budget/Financial – From beginning to end, the PM’s hands need to be involved in the budget; even if there is a separate department tracking the project’s finances. Note: the PM should not be looking for areas to save costs here. That should be done in Task and Milestone Tracking. If the PM is engaged in the project, it is in the budget where they look to see how their effective management of the project has saved money.
- Communication – Other than regular reporting, a project manager should be the one you go to when you want answers. From top to bottom, the PM should be communicating with everyone. It is through communication that they steer the project through to its completion.
- Coordination – The PM should always be the bridge between any two individuals, groups, and or departments. They act as liaison for the project at all times as they are the ambassador of the project, not just the representative. Through their example, the rest of the team can then become representatives.
- Familiarity – A PM does not necessarily have to have intimate knowledge of the project type though it helps a great deal. What they should be familiar with is the effective use of leadership qualities to complete the projects set of goal oriented steps efficiently through engagement.
- Foresight – A good PM will anticipate and while there is no crystal ball to show the bumps ahead, they should have in-place adequate measures to ensure that when those bumps do come, there is no delay in the project, only response.
- Listening – The PM is going to be doing a lot of talking but at their core, they should have great listening skills. For it is only after listening will they be able to communicate from a position of knowledge and strength.
- Managing the Project Team – This aligns with the ability to delegate and it’s not always available, but if the project manager has the time and the resources it’s good if they can pick their own team. This ties the PM more to the accountability of the project.
- Organization – This is another way for the PM to communicate. At any given moment they should be aware of where the project was, where it is, and where it’s going. Their organization will lead to an organized team.
- Perspective – When a PM enters the project they should be bringing their own perspective. As the project progresses, they will be garnering perspective and when the project is finished, they should be reflecting to bring perspective to the next project. The goal here is that they have the ability to see things others don’t. To see past the immediate situation in front of them and understand what possible solutions might bring after any given hurdle is past. A good project manager will have eyes and ears on to macro while understanding the micro.
You’re not just hiring or putting into place a project manager, you’re hiring an engaged leader who through the effective use of these qualities will efficiently navigate project’s goal oriented steps. Steps required for a successful and timely completion of your project. So, think about whether or not you need a project manager, they should bring to the table a lot more than you realize.
Check out my previous blog post: Engage in Project Management to be an Effective Leader and Do You Need a Project Management Office (PMO)? They both makes good connecting points.