Why do you need a Project Manager?

Why do you need a Project Manager? – this question is often asked by project participants on the part of the Customer, when considering the details of the project cost estimate, often the Contractor has to exclude the Project Manager from the estimate in order for the project to take place.

Why such an attitude towards the Project Manager? Maybe because this role is considered formal and there is little benefit from it?

We propose to deal with who the Project Manager is, why he is needed on the project and what is his use.

Why am I interested in this topic? Because for more than 15 years I have been managing projects in various areas, mainly in the development and implementation of electronic document management systems, I would like to share my observations. I started my path in Information Technology from my student days, working as a system administrator for the financial management of a budgetary organization engaged in the construction and maintenance of roads in the Russian Federation, I found this job through an ad in a newspaper (the Internet was not yet developed either in our country or in the world). Then I tried many other specialties: programmer, implementation engineer, test specialist, user training specialist, system analyst, consultant. Gradually, the goal was formed – to become a Project Manager. Working as a system analyst on a project to implement an EDMS for a construction organization, I was put in such conditions that I worked not only as a system analyst, but also as a business analyst, implementation engineer, testing specialist, training specialist, as it turned out often it happens with executing organizations that save money, you pay a salary to one, and he does the work for several, conveniently and profitably. In general, I will not go into the details of this most difficult project for me, I will note that my Project Manager was the Head of the Department and rarely came to the automation object, rarely dealt with project issues, answered questions to help that I would figure it out myself, and as a result I was very upset, when the project was successfully completed without his participation. After this success, I was invited to the position of Project Manager. The goal has been achieved.

In my experience, Implementing Organizations fall into two categories with regard to what is expected of the Project Manager (PM):

  1. The first category: the RP should develop and monitor the execution of the work plan, evaluate the project, determine the roles on the project, present a report on the progress of the project, coordinate work within the Executing Team and the Customer Team, organize events for the delivery of the system and the completion of the project.

  2. The second category: do everything that is indicated in the first category, plus perform analytics, system setup, training and much more to make the project successful: complete the amount of work determined at the start for a certain period.

I managed to work both in the first category and in the second. I can say that on projects (if this is not a standard solution, that is, you do not need to develop additionally, you just installed the system and its manual, set it up according to the instructions, trained users and that’s it) it is unrealistic to complete the task in the second category, unless you devote all the time to your work, you need to forget about weekends and holidays, process every day, forget about family, relatives, relatives, friends, forget about rest, hobbies, essentially become a biorobot. Who would want to work like this? For me, no one.

Working in the first category, over time you realize what it means to be a Project Manager:

  • negotiate with the client,

  • defend your position with reason and listen to the opinions of others,

  • be able to negotiate

  • make decisions and be responsible for the consequences,

  • to share experience,

  • manage the situation on the project in terms of compliance with the initial requirements, fixed agreements,

  • draw up detailed work plans and organize marks for the completion of tasks,

  • instruct analysts on how to identify the needs of the Customer,

  • prioritize tasks for developers,

  • organize presentations of completed work,

  • prepare certificates, reports, presentations on the progress of the project,

  • identify bottlenecks and smooth out conflicts, help project participants understand each other,

  • suggest how not to overwork, in order to maintain mental stability and health, so that there is time for personal life, while at the same time, so that the project does not suffer,

  • help young professionals learn a new profession,

  • apply for bonuses and pay increases for outstanding specialists.

Some of us work to live, others live to work. The choice is ours.

I can say with confidence that as soon as employees begin to process, everyone’s health deteriorates, that is, at the physical level, the body signals that I don’t like it. Nervous breakdowns are an indicator of the so-called burnout at work. It is especially sad if the Project Manager descends to shouting and insults. There is only one advice for Project Managers – take a break for a vacation for at least a month to recover and think about next steps, or leave the project, or maybe leave the profession, otherwise you will get nothing but serious problems with the nervous system, and even spoil the impression of others about yourself and about the project, they simply won’t want to work with you.

Let’s answer the question “Why do we need a Project Manager?”: A project manager is a specialist who motivates the team to work, makes responsible decisions, creates a comfortable environment for the project, keeps a cool head and does not succumb to provocations, does not descend to an emotional response to the problem, which will inevitably arise on the project, even if you have planned everything correctly, life does not send us trials by chance, gaining experience, we begin to understand who we are and why we live. In order for the nervous system to be in order, you need to do it, a good way out is daily physical activity, someone does jogging, someone does yoga, someone martial arts, it’s enough for someone to take a walk on the street for one hour a day and that’s it, the person is restored and is in harmony with yourself and the world around you. To support team spirit, it is important to conduct so-called “team-buildings”, informal communication helps project participants to look at each other differently, to see in a colleague not only a specialist, but also a person who, in addition to work, has other interests, has a family, children . A good tradition in the team is the release of a monthly informational newspaper in which employees talk about themselves, share events on projects in which they participate; Collecting material for such a newspaper can be done by HR specialists, who, most of all in the organization, should understand and help each employee feel needed and important for the whole team in general and for their project team in particular.

The people around us react differently to all events and all the challenges of fate, our opinions do not always coincide, the project team is united by one thing – the goal is to complete the project with high quality and on time, so that later the product developed by us receives positive feedback from users, this is important, when you see the result of your efforts and understand that you did not work in vain, that you benefited.

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