Project managers run the projects. Their role differs from that of technical managers, whose primary responsibility is maintaining the integrity of the systems.
How project managers learn skills
These managers have taken classes, read books, or attended seminars specifically dealing with the concepts of running a project. From this training they have learned the different parts of a project and how to put together a project plan to execute it.
They also understand tangible items such as critical paths, variances, scope creep, estimating, documentation, acquiring resources, setting up funding, budgeting, financial reporting, controlling when the project enters and ends a phase, communication plans, procurement, reporting project progress, and status.
Different Skills of Project Manager
- Unlike technical managers, who are required to bring system, resource, and company knowledge, project managers are required to have knowledge only on how to run the project.
- Each project a project manager runs will require different resources with different skills and knowledge because each project is unique. Resources are only assigned temporary to the project because they will only work on it for a short time. This means that project managers are not responsible for staff development.
- To staff a project, these managers send a resource request to the area affected by the change. Who gets assigned and when the resource is available to work on the project are controlled not by the project managers but by the managers to whom the subordinates officially report. Project managers just take the resource names given to them and assign them to a task in the project plan.
- Project managers’ responsibility to upper management is to report the project status.
- Project managers gather the status information by talking to other project team members and checking the project plan.
- From the project plan they can report the financial part of the project along with the completion percentage of the project. They also report and ask for help from upper management for any problems that are outside the control of the project. The most common issue is lack of available resources to do a project.
- Departments that own the resources might decide that currently there are more important tasks for their staff than to work a project. Upper management needs to step in and help negotiate a solution. One solution could be that the department needs to release some resources to work on the project because it is a high priority. Another option is for upper management to give project managers approval to bring in outside contractors to do the project work.