Responsibilities of the Project Manager PM

Clearly, the Project Manager (PM) has responsibility for the overall project, in all its dimensions. At the top level, this focuses on the schedule, cost, and technical performance of the system. An estimate of the time that a PM might spend on each of these features might be 20% schedule, 30% cost, and 50% performance, assuming that one could divide all job-related activities into these three categories. If one includes purely administrative activities as a fourth category, the percentages might be 15% schedule, 25% cost, 35% performance, and 25% administrative. The last item would include such matters as interviewing personnel, preparing their evaluations, and similar duties.

The classical responsibilities of a PM are usually described in terms of four activities: (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) directing, and (4) monitoring. Some people use the word ''controlling'' in place of this alternative of ''monitoring,'' for which all control is subsumed within the ''directing'' activity.

The planning activity is dominant in the early stages of a project, especially with respect to the coherent preparation of a project plan. Steady-state planning involves updating this plan and thinking about and planning how to handle special problems and contingencies.

The organizing responsibility involves deciding how to organize the project itself (e.g., the chart of Figure 1.2), and reorganizing when and where necessary. It also means the allocation of resources to the various tasks of the project. This shows up as the preparation of initial tasking, work breakdown structures, responsibility matrices for the project, and the like.

The directing activity is the formal and informal day-to-day running of the project and its various meetings as well as the delineation of assignments when changes or fine-tuning is required to solve problems.

The monitoring duty involves the continuous reading of the status of all aspects of the project in relation to the system requirements and the project plan. If monitoring results in the discovery of problems, remedial action is taken under the directing activity.

An often frustrating factor comes into play when the PM's responsibilities and authority are not congruent. Because the PM usually has full responsibility for the success or failure of the project, it can be extremely difficult if this person cannot, for example, hire or fire, negotiate with outside vendors and subcontractors, and make final arrangements with a counterpart customer. Incommensurate authority is one of the ''red flags'' of most PMs. A summary list of the various responsibilities and duties of a Project Manager is provided in Exhibit 1.2.

Exhibit 1.2: Selected Duties and Responsibilities of a PM

Cost/Budget

• Confirming that the project can be completed within budget

• Reviewing periodic (e.g., monthly) cost reports

• Obtaining valid cost-to-complete estimates

• Assessing and mitigating project cost risks

• Assuring the validity of system life-cycle costs Schedule

• Establishing an up-to-date master schedule

• Assuring that all interim milestones are met

• Determining ways to make up time when slippage occurs

• Obtaining valid time-to-complete estimates

• Scheduling internal and customer status reviews Technical Performance

• Assuring that the system satisfies all technical requirements

• Confirming the validity of the technical approach

• Continuous tracking of technical performance status

• Installing systems and software engineering methods/practices

• Obtaining computer tools for systems and software engineering Administrative

• Personnel interviewing, hiring, and evaluation

• Interfacing with corporate management

• Interfacing with internal project support groups

• Coaching and team building

• Assuring the availability of required facilities

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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