Harvey A. Levine, Principal
The Project Knowledge Group
Saratoga Springs, NY and San Diego, CA.
Published here July 2001

Introduction | What a Project Office Does | A Successful Projects Environment
Problems without a CPO | What Project Managers Do | The Chief Project Officer

What Project Managers Do

When we recognize the role of the Project Manager (vis--vis the Functional Manager) we can readily see why this takes a special set of skills and conditions.

Here are some of the Key "People" Things that a project manager must do:

  • Identify stakeholders and their definition of project success
  • Get all key players on the project team
  • Manage responsibility interfaces
  • Question blurry responsibilities
  • Clarify delegation levels
  • Act as a catalyst, and when necessary, be a devil's advocate
  • Manage conflicts

And here are some of the more "Traditional" Things a project manager must do

  • Promote effective communication and wide participation in decision making
  • Balance project objectives with other corporate objectives
  • Balance needs of project, client, and organization
  • Manage task interfaces
  • Clearly identify task completion
  • Communicate task completion

Obviously, we cannot take it for granted that any senior person or even any manager will have the skills and temperament for project management. Some of these skills can be learned, but many important qualifications are embedded in a person's personality. Unless we recognize that project management is a distinct discipline, requiring a special set of skills and capabilities, we cannot expect to implement a successful project management function in the enterprise. And until we recognize that these skills must be located in a structured function, with dedicated and empowered leadership, any project management skills that are available will flounder like a ship without a rudder.

Problems 
Without a CPO  Problems Without a CPO

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