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Roles of a Project Manager

by Mira Vlach on September 27, 2007:

Summary: The Project Managers' roles overview brings a useful insight into their daily duties and activities.

Project manager is a person responsible for managing a project. As such, he is responsible for successful duration and completion of the project. While in charge, he has many various roles to keep the project on track. Though it is common to delegate his tasks, he still remains accountable for the results in the eyes of a project sponsor (the client). The impact that these roles have on the final result and the difficulty to perform them will differ project to project. Still, the simple list of these roles illustrates the daily life of a project manager.

Why the roles overview?

The overview of the roles of a project manager may be a good tool when you'd like to:

Overview of the roles of a project manager

Representative of project sponsor – has the authority and responsibility to manage the project, so credibility and reliability are required. May be also accountable for the health and safety issues as well as for compliance with laws and other regulations.

Visionary and planner – starts up the project together with the project sponsor: helps to specify the mission and goals of the project, to create the feasibility study. Is in charge of the conception, planning and dividing the project into phases.

Team leader – creates and manages the project team, delegates work, motivates and support them, gives them inspiration. Pulls and pushes the project to the end if necessary.

Organiser and coordinator – oversees the correct sequence of activities and effective use of all resources.

Secretary – guarantees satisfactory project documentation and document administration.

Watchman of change and risks – guards and mitigates project risks. Ensures that no changes to original specifications are made without analysing the impact they may have on the whole project. Registers changes and accordingly updates the documentation.

Book-keeper – plans and monitors the budget, provides financial reports to the sponsor.

Buyer – may have to procure the resources he needs for the project completion – choose suppliers etc.

Negotiator and crisis manager – deals with the conflicts and problems during the project. Helps to balance the interests of all stakeholders.

Quality inspector and a guarantee – holds the quality checks and produces project results according to specification.

Liaison officer (Mr. Know-It-All) – project manager often informs and is being consulted by all the stakeholders. Produces and disseminate reports to increase awareness and minimise misunderstanding.

Team helper – when the project is not big enough to need a full-time project manager, then, next to the managing work, he often helps the team with the production of the project outcome.

Recommendation for Beginners

Managing a project is a demanding work. Though some of the roles overlap, it is not easy to fulfil them all in a satisfactory way. At least for you first bigger projects, try to arrange help from an experienced project manager or delegate some work to reliable co-workers or team members.


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