What is a Project Manager Role?

When talking about Project Managers we are refering to the person who is in overall charge of the planning and execution of any particular project;  where a project is identified as a unique, transient endeavour which is being undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project managers are charged with managing such change.

Like the APM we see Project Management, as the function through which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that the agreed benefits are realised. Ultimattely “how” this achieved is open to many approaches and the Project Manager is the person who agrees to take on the responsibility for its delivery.

Project Managers may be responsible for;

  • A singular unique activity within their organisation
  • Multiple standalone projects within their organisation
  • A project which forms a part of a larger programme of work
  • A project which is part of a larger portfolio of work

Whatever the scenario it is a unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve a desired outcome rather than a business as usual (BAU) activity.

Size, complexity, budget, timescales are just a few of the variables along with the focus of the deliverable which could be an IT system, a new building or a business re-organisation.

Likewise the practitioners will also have varying degrees of:

  • Project management knowledge and experience
  • Personality / working style
  • Domain / Sector knowledge and experience
  • Project Management accreditation
  • Formal Education

The trick is to understand the project challenges and environment and then match that with the appropriate levels of knowledge and experience and formal education which is appropriate. After all you probably need a differenet skills set to deliver a £10K web project than is required to deliver a nuclear reactor!

For many the role of the project manager is still viewed as just another string to the bow of any general manager but as projects become more and more complex, there has been an increased need for experienced managers who specialise purely in projects.


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