What’s a project manager?
Simply put, project managers play a focal role in determining and administering the many activities required to ensure a project is conceived, executed and completed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
It’s an increasingly visible job title in the past few decades.
Back in the early days of modern civil engineering projects, the architects and/or engineers typically took care of project management duties, but beginning in the 1950s, having a separate person whose exclusive role was running the project became an evolving trend. The discipline originally evolved from several fields of application including civil construction, engineering, and heavy defense activity.
Today, however, project managers exist in every industry. They may be responsible for constructing a new building, launching new software products, initiating internal security—practically anything.
Project Managers Are the Ultimate Collaborators
Project managers have training and experience in a broad range of applications, all of which thread together to weave a successful project. Their ultimate value is in serving as an objective central organizer, delegator, communicator and checker-upper. Their bottom-line goal: to drive the success of the project. While they are seldom in the upper echelons of authority in the organization, they are crucial to orchestrating the many disparate elements on which success relies. A good project manager will bring a diverse skill set enabling them to interface successfully with all the different departments, elements and stakeholders and keep them working together in harmony.
Project Managers Depend on a Broad Range of Skills
Investing in a reliable, proven project manager is crucial to project success, because they skillfully accomplish these essential roles:
- Point of contact and communication: Project managers provide a single consistent point of contact for all participants, and take responsibility for communicating with all participants and stakeholders.
- Provide vision and direction: Project managers clarify the vision of the project, articulating its purpose and directing activities.
- Control scope: Project managers helps define the scope of the project and the associated project deliverables. Their continuous monitoring and controlling of scope keeps effort and cost in check.
- Manage costs: Project managers maintain an overview of all resources, to stay on time and within budget. These resources include internal and external expenses and labor resources.
- Manage time: Project managers track milestones, key dates and progress throughout the project lifecycle.
- Schedule the work: Project managers ensure all project team members tackle their tasks in the appropriate order. They project and review the time a task takes, and respond to any problems which may delay deadlines.
- Increase efficiency: Project managers help define the tasks which need to be undertaken, and establish the correct order for the sake of maximum efficiency.
- Deal with potential risks: Project managers identify potential risks and craft plans to avoid or manage them.
- Procurement: Project managers manage these contracts for resources sourced externally.
- Close the project: Project managers bring projects to effective closure, including documenting, reviewing and evaluation of all elements of the project.
Project Management Experience Pays Off
Having undertaken these steps and more multiple times, a skilled project manager can draw from experience and continually refine all these aspects of project execution. After several times around the dance floor with all the various partners involved in executing a project, and especially after engaging in closing evaluations repeatedly, project managers have learned volumes about how to effectively and diplomatically keep all the players engaged, committed and productive when collaborating.
Meet our Project Managers
We think the addition of a project manager to any SCS project is vital to the success of your project. With that said, meet Tom Bruns and Amy Weins, two very organized, passionate and goal-oriented people who help ensure any project we do is done successfully on-time and on budget! Here how their role has helped real SCS clients!
Being a project manager has helped me develop a stronger appreciation for the client as well as strengthen the desire to lead the project team and myself to do the best work for them. It is invigorating and momentum-building to watch the all the various different tasks your team complete culminate at the end with realized deliverable(s) that, at the beginning, were just someone’s idea for a better way of doing something.
In order for a project to be successful, the Project Manager must first have Project Sponsor and Stakeholder Management project financial and business project resource support. In the projects that I have managed, successful project outcome is derived by determining an agreed upon project scope with management, either formally or informally, and then establishment of the appropriate project organization and project schedule based on the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). By being organized in this manner, I am able to deliver projects on-time and on-budget; as well as, maintain communications with management regarding project status and guide the Project Team through a process to deliver the expected business project expectations and goals.