Project Manager

The project manager is the person who coordinates the project and bears overall responsibility for it. It must be stressed that the project manager should not be the 'boss' of other team members, and, as we have seen, the team should be self-directed. However, every project does need someone who is able to take a broader view of the project as a whole, and who can coordinate the efforts of other team members (otherwise, there is the danger of developers adding functionality to show off their favorite coding techniques, rather than concentrating on meeting the critical goals of the client.)

The project manager is also likely to be the project team's link to senior management. The project team may look as follows:

Logistics

Project Manager

Logistics

User Eduction

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Product

Component

- Developers

Management

Management

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The primary task of the project manager is to coordinate the component managers of each individual team. For example, each component manager will draw up a schedule for the team, and the project manager will compile from these a master schedule for the whole project. In this sense, the project manager acts like a higher-level component manager, and in a small project this role and that of the component manager will probably be merged. However, when a project is large enough to incorporate many teams, it will be necessary to include a project manager who can take an overview of the entire project.

While the project manager does drive the development process, he or she is not the 'boss'. The project manager will, though, have final authority on disputes within the team.

Envisionment Phase

During this phase, the project manager will take an active part in identifying the more general, top-level goals of the project (the component managers will be more heavily involved in identifying the lower-level, more specific goals). The project manager will also be involved in identifying risks which apply to the entire project (for example, the failure of a piece of key software to work as planned) and managing such risks (in this case, by contacting Customer Support of the software vendors). Another task will be to incorporate the schedules of the individual development teams into a master schedule for the whole project.

Design, Development and Deployment Phases

The chief function of the project manager in these phases will be to manage resources (of time, money and personnel) for the project. Individual component managers will juggle resources within the development teams, but the project manager will have to arrange cover if resources are inadequate within a team. For example, if an unexpected technical issue arises (for example, if changes to the product are required due to feedback from alpha testers), it may be necessary to put together a team of developers at short notice to examine the issue. Since no existing team may have the time to devote to this task, it will be the responsibility of the project manager to assign developers to a new team, created solely for this purpose.

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