Determining the Role of the Project Manager

The project manager' s role will likely change depending on the size of the project. Small projects (such as the installation of an antivirus product on an e-mail server, for example) probably don ' t require the full bore of project management planning, staffing, and techniques. On the other hand, implementing a systems management software package throughout an enterprise will very definitely require a more formal approach.

The larger the project, the more formalized the role of the project manager. In all but the smallest of projects, the scope document needs to reflect just what kinds of duties and powers the PM has. Following are some things to consider when describing the PM' s role:

Responsibilities and accountabilities What are the specific responsibilities that the PM will be required to maintain? Who will the PM be accountable to?

Authority status What kind of authority will the project manager have? This question has great importance. If the PM doesn ' t have formal authority— meaning that what he says goes with regard to the project— there may be many "mutinies" throughout the project ' s life cycle, the project' s scope may suffer, and the project may even suffer from a quality problem. A formal authority is much more desirable on larger projects, whereas more informal authority may be fine for smaller ones.

Available time What percentage of time will the PM be available for the project? Will she be dedicated to the project full-time, or will she need to spend a portion of her time on one project and the remainder on others? The larger the project' s scope, the more obvious it will be that the project requires a full-time manager. The problem lies in mid-size projects that may not merit a full-time PM; these can get bogged down by being given to someone who needs to dedicate much more time to other duties and looks at the project as an ancillary task.

Performance appraisal concerns Who will provide the project manager' s performance appraisal, and what items will compose the detail of the appraisal? It' s probably wise to sit down with the reporting authority and hammer out an evaluation system prior to starting the project.

Development of a communication plan This is something you ' l l be questioned on when you take the test—it is so important to the success of the project. The project manager develops a communication plan that details the method (written, electronic, personal), purpose, recipients, and frequency of communications. Project sponsors cannot read minds, so it' s important that PMs make sure they extensively communicate the status of the project.

Tip An intranet site is a great way to introduce communications that can be available on a nearly real-time status.

So far, we have defined the role of the customer; identified all of the key skills required of the team; and established the functions of the project manager. Why don' t we pause now and take a look at how our sample project, Prestige Hotels, is shaping up?

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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