The project manager is responsible for the operational planning and control of the project . Depending on the type of project, he is responsible for the achievement of factual, deadline, cost or training goals within the project. In the area of planning, he defines goals and the resources required to achieve them.
Range of the competence of a project manager
The scope of the skills of a project manager depends primarily on the management structure of project groups . A distinction is made between two types:
- In non-hierarchical project groups, all group members have equal rights; they are jointly responsible for the project result . This applies, for example, to the didactically oriented projects . The project manager has the role of a moderator , often also that of the initiator .
- In hierarchical project groups, a member is given special competence and responsibility. The scope of the competence largely depends on the form of the project organization and ranges from the right to information and applications to unrestricted management competence within the project. It can change in the course of the project implementation. In each project, its members have different roles . Sometimes they are set in advance, but often they only form during the group formation phases .
Tasks of the project manager
In the context of project planning, the main tasks of the project manager are resource and budget planning as well as defining the goals of the project.
- Project definition
He formulates realistic project goals as precisely as possible, which describe the target state that should prevail at the end of the project; Measures to achieve the target state are not part of the target formulation. If no specific project goals have yet been negotiated with the client, it is the central task of the manager to coordinate these with the client. This also includes the documentation of the project order in order to secure the approval of the project by the steering committee .
- Project organization
For the project organization primarily include role definition, the integration of the project into the existing corporate structure and the establishment of project-based team and communication structures . When it comes to the composition of the project teams, the quality and number of members must be taken into account. On the one hand, all important interest groups should be represented, on the other hand, a certain size of the team should not be exceeded, since only groups of up to eight people can really work efficiently.
The project management should also use a well thought-out organization to set structures that avoid chaos and limit uncertainties (structuring in project stages or project phases).
- Project planning
The project manager is responsible for planning, coordinating and managing the project efficiently. Traditional instruments such as network planning , project cost planning and resource planning help him in this . The newer planning instruments also include project definition , analysis of the project environment , project structure planning and phase-related workshops (project start, milestone, project completion workshop ).
The above-mentioned instruments help to view projects in their entirety, to illustrate dependencies and to facilitate internal project communication.
- Planning of suitable communication structures
- Motivation of the members for intensive communication
- Forwarding required information
In operational practice, incorrect information may be passed on or there is little or no information exchange. This can lead to demotivation of those involved in the project and, as a result, to inefficient work. The project manager should therefore ensure that the content, time and type of communication are coordinated with one another in order to ensure a smooth exchange of information within the group.
- Environment management
The members of project teams are often grouped together from different departments, whereby department-related interests arise. For better understanding: In a product development project, for example, the technical department primarily strives for a technological solution, whereas the sales department in turn wants a competitive product. It is the task of the project manager to take on a so-called integration function:
- Balance different interests
- Bridging cultural differences
- Formation of a team that pulls together.
- Project controlling
In connection with project controlling, the project manager monitors project performance, deadlines and costs as well as their compliance with defined project goals. The transfer of this activity to a team member is common in practice (project controller).
- Project documentation
The project manager is responsible for ensuring that department heads affected by the project are regularly informed and that the project results are jointly coordinated at agreed times or if necessary (e.g. in the advisory committee).
The project manager often leads employees without being their direct superior . Even without this direct power , the project manager wants his project to be motivated and reliable - in practice, this is often difficult to achieve and can only be achieved through a high level of motivation on the part of the project manager. The management of employees depends heavily on the respective management structure. The manager has the following tasks and competencies:
- Assigning appropriate project subtasks to group employees
- Participation in vacation and absence planning for members
- Education and training of the group with regard to project results and their achievement
- Resolves conflicts within the group, as these can make internal cooperation more difficult.
- Strengthening the team spirit and motivating the group
- Creation of a creative working environment (avoidance of resistance to new solutions).
In practice, people affected by the organizational problem are often employed as project managers in order to prevent organizational or IT matters from outweighing the interests of those affected.
Requirement for a project manager
A project manager should have the following qualifications and skills:
- Mastery of project management tools and their application
- Experience in project work
- The view for the "big picture" (since the project manager has to coordinate all work within a project)
- Social qualifications, especially the ability to lead the project group (ability to delegate, role model function)
- Resilience and adaptability: time pressure, dealing with resistance
- Communication skills: coordination tasks, sociability, persuasiveness, assertiveness, toughness and negotiation skills
The German Society for Project Management e. V. (GPM) formulates it according to leadership skills:
In summary, it can be stated that the project manager is responsible in hierarchically structured project groups for the complete completion of the order and for compliance with the objectives. In this context, he ensures that the quality criteria are not disregarded. He is also responsible for planning and controlling the project and takes on project-related personnel management. In non-hierarchically structured project forms such as didactic projects, the entire project group is responsible for achieving the set project goal. The project manager has the function of moderator. All project participants are enabled to do this in a progressive learning process.
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- Schulte-Zurhausen: Organization p. 399.
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- Silke Traub: Design project work successfully. Via individualized, cooperative learning to self-directed small group projects . UTB. Bad Heilbrunn 2012