The roles and missions of the project manager
The project manager has multiple hats, which he puts on depending on the progress of the project and the needs.
The project manager is a bit like “the chameleon”: he adopts such and such a hat, and passes from one to another with disconcerting ease.
1 ) Conductor
The project manager is a real conductor, he sets the “the” of the project. He gives the direction, he makes the action of all the project actors coherent, he brings them together under a single banner: the project team. Just like an orchestra conductor, a project manager ensures the quality of the service, one being committed to respecting the work, the other being committed to respecting the project and its objectives.
2 ) Architect
The project manager builds the project: he helps define the objectives, he digs deep to unearth the constraints of the project and the underlying needs that were not necessarily expressed clearly at the start, he lays the foundations of the project. .He will also draw the general strategy to adopt and the detailed action plan.Without a plan, in general things go wrong…
3 ) Planner
The project manager is an extreme planner: he juggles tasks, understands their relationships (which task must be done before which other) and he knows who in his project team is best placed to handle this task. He plans , sets slots in the schedules, and negotiates with the teams and line managers the availability of resources.
4 ) Coordinator
He is also a great coordinator.
To achieve the objective of a project, it is necessary to act as a team, and not each in his corner. The project manager is there to make sure. He coordinates all these beautiful people, makes sure that everything is done at the right time, according to the sacrosanct schedule, and makes sure that all the project actors communicate between them: super important, especially when Jean-Mi’s tasks impact those of Bob.
5 ) Liaison officer
The project manager spends most of his time communicating, to:
But where we see the importance of this role is when it is necessary to make business users talk to purely technical players: they absolutely do not speak the same language, they do not understand each other, none of them effort and everyone is fighting around the table. In those moments, we have a good time… And we understand that the project manager has a real role of liaison agent: he plays the role of translator between 2 groups who are unable to speak the same language and to understand each other.
6 ) Animator
The project manager also has a facilitator role.
Not like those in summer camps. Whatever …. Sometimes we get close anyway. 😉 He leads all the project meetings, he is the one who speaks, he who exposes the facts, he who summarizes and then writes the report.
7 ) Facilitator
He is also a facilitator: he is there to help the project actors to do their job and to do it well. Not to put a spoke in their wheels. He cannot constantly be on the backs of his teams even if he must check that the tasks have been carried out to avoid having bad surprises behind. He must constantly ask the question : “How can I help you? How can I make your life easier?”
8 ) Leader
The project manager must show leadership: he is a leader of the troops. He has no hierarchical link with the project team, so pure authority does not work at all. And the project members may have other priorities, other projects to work on. Priorities that have been set by their own line managers, and which sometimes contradict the project that the project manager must carry out. He has to earn the trust of the team, he has to motivate the players, and he can only do that by showing his leadership.
9 ) Solution finder
Finally, a project manager must demonstrate creativity, responsiveness and initiative. No matter the strategy chosen, no matter how much time is spent preparing the project, there will be unforeseen events along the way.
This is the essence of any project. The role of the project manager is not to cry “wolf” (not only, in any case), but also to find a way to trap the wolf so that he stops piss off anyone who crosses the forest. A project manager is a problem solver. A solution finder. And according to the sales reps who sold the project to the client, it’s a miracle worker. 🙂