Project managers are assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objectives. This is a challenging, high-profile role with significant responsibility and shifting priorities. It requires flexibility, good judgment, strong leadership and negotiating skills, and a solid knowledge of project management practices. A project manager must be able to understand project detail, but manage from the overall project perspective. As the person responsible for the success of the project, a project manager is in charge of all aspects of the project including, but not limited to:
- Developing the project management plan and all related component plans,
- Keeping the project on track in terms of schedule, budget, and resources,
- Identifying, monitoring, and responding to risk, and
- Providing accurate and timely reporting of project metrics.
The project manager is the lead person responsible for communicating with all stakeholders, particularly the project sponsor, project team, and other key stakeholders. The project manager occupies the center of the interactions between stakeholders and the project itself.
The effective Project Manager demonstrates the following characteristics:
- Knowledge. This refers to what the project manager knows about project management.
- Performance. This refers to what the project manager is able to do or accomplish while applying their project management knowledge.
- Personal Effectiveness. This refers to how the project manager behaves when performing the project or related activity. Personal effectiveness encompasses attitudes, core personality characteristics and leadership — the ability to guide the project team while achieving project objectives and balancing the project constraints.
The Project Sponsor authorizes the project, provides the funding, supports the project, and promotes the project’s value throughout the management team as well as across departments and divisions.
The Project Sponsor is the person that provides the financial resources, in cash or in kind, for the project. When a project is first conceived, the Project Sponsor champions the project. This includes serving as spokesperson to higher levels of management to gather support throughout the organization and promote the benefits that the project will bring. The Project Sponsor leads the project through the engagement or selection process until formally authorized, and plays a significant role in the development of the initial scope and charter.
For issues that are beyond the control of the Project Manager, the Project Sponsor serves as an escalation path. The Project Sponsor may also be involved in other important issues such as authorizing or, often more importantly, denying changes in scope, phase-end reviews, and go/no-go decisions when risks are particularly high.
The Project Sponsor works with the Project Manager, typically assisting with matters such as project funding, clarifying scope, monitoring progress, and influencing others in order to benefit the project.
The quantified and documented needs, wants, and expectations of the Project Sponsor are included in the project requirements.
The Project Sponsor may need to approve external deliverables.
In the early stages of the project life cycle, periodic review of the business case by the Project Sponsor also helps to confirm that the project is still required.
Project Team Member
It is important to recognize that everyone has projects therefore, everyone needs to understand the fundamentals of project management methodologies. All team members should:
- Understand the project management process
- Know their role in each step of the project they are engaged with
- Have clear assignments of work — what is expected and when it is due — plus clear assignments of any reporting, meeting, or other activities required of them on the project
- Be accountable for speaking up to ensure the project team is doing the right thing
- Provide technical advice; be the technical experts
- Perform the work in the project management plan
As individual members of a larger team, each member is responsible to the overall team to ensure the project's success. Every team member must be willing to:
- Be accountable
- Take responsibility
- Tell the truth
- Ask for help
- Contribute ideas
Team members are empowered to:
- Participate in learning what needs to be done, when, and how their pieces fit into the project
- Find better ways to meet the project objectives
- Realize how their work impacts other team members and the success of the project