An overview of project management
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Published: Mon, 06 Mar 2017
Project management is an essential component of the organizational structure and its use is built into the organization’s work flow process. An effective project management will influence the organizational outcomes. The project means a temporary effort undertaken to produce a unique product (PMI, 2004). On the project, it can be divided into several phases which include project conception and initiation, project definition and planning, project execution, project performance and control, and project close. The project usually has an objective to meet specific requirements of the organization and has a specific time to accomplish it either long time or a short time. A project is temporary which has a beginning and has the end in a specific time, and therefore defined scope and resources. According to Gaddis (1959), a project is an organization unit dedicated to the attainment of a goal. It is generally the successful completion of a developmental product at point in time, within the cost estimate, and in conformance with prearranged performance specifications. A project is fundamentally an approach of working, an approach of organizing people, and an approach to manage tasks. A project starts at a defined point of time, ends at specific in time and, is complete when the outcome is completed (Newton, 2005). Hurricanes (2002) stated that a project is an impermanent in nature that has specific start and finish. Other than that, project is a unique, one time undertaking. It can be said like that because the project cannot be done exactly in the same approach by the same project manager and within the same environment
The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques are important to project management, which enables project activities meet the project requirements. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, which enable to organize to get project results which to fulfill the business goals. The project management involves the process of directing and controlling a project from start to finish. The purpose of project management is to predict as many risks and problems as possible besides planning, organizing and controlling the activities. So, the project is completed as successfully as possible in spite of all the risks. Project Management is formal discipline that has been developed to manage projects (Newton, 2005). There are many activities that can benefit from project management like building a ship, construct a house, launching new products, information technology systems project and many more. Project Management is the process of guiding a project from its beginning through its performance to its end (Portny, 2006). There are includes three basic operations in project management, which are planning, organizing and controlling the project.
Project management knowledge draws on nine areas. Figure 1 below illustrates the project management knowledge area:
In project management, there is a key element that is included in a project management framework like project stakeholder. The stakeholders are the people who involved in the project activities. The stakeholder in project management can include the project manager, project sponsor, the project team, support staff, suppliers, opponents, client, users and many more. In this paper, the project manager roles and skills will be discussed in depth. The project manager cooperates closely with the other stakeholders. So this paper will discuss in depth the project manager roles and skills in the project management process.
Project manager (PM) is generally taken to be the person accountable for delivering a project which runs smoothly on the designated period, within the cost plan and to the preferred performance or quality standards determined by the client (Sommerville, Craig & Hendry, 2010). Project Manager is one of the stakeholders in any project management in the organization. Project Manager is responsible for delivering all the components of the project. Project Manager can be full time or the role of project manager given by the condition. Steyn (2008) stated that the project manager is the bonding medium holding the project together. The project manager’s influence the achievement the project, either success or fail. Project Manager should cooperate closely with the stakeholders, especially the sponsor and project team to meet the expectation of the project. The Project manager is the person ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project (Heerkens, 2002). The project manager can be called as team leader in a group. Project managers often are considered the direct leadership component essential to project success. The project manager is the element of project success in the company or organization. The project manager is responsible for managing the project’s scope, project schedule, and project cost to support the client or customer expectations for the successful completion of the project.
The success or failure of a project is influenced by the project manager’s appointment. Petty (2009) indicates the project’s manager’s has the capability to connect between the organization which able to perform and serve the project. It is a critical factor of project success in the organization. The work of project manager does vary from project to project. The Project manager is responsible for scoping out the work, planning it and determining what resources are required, getting the resources allocated, and then managing the completion of the task required and ensuring any problems that may cause the completion of the tasks to be delayed. A project manager works according to project management approach. A project manager is the person responsible for leading a project from its initiation to complete. This includes planning, execution and managing the people, resources and goals of the project.
Project Management, it is important to have project manager which is acting as manager. 97% of successful projects was led by qualified project managers which is who can often help to affect success factors (Schwalbe, 2006). As project manager, they can have many job description based on the organization and also based on the project. Although it is based on the organization and the project, there are similar tasks that project manager perform. There are several job categories for project manager which includes:
- Project Manager for a Consulting firm
Project Manager should plans, schedule, and controls activities to fulfill the objectives of the project by applying technical, theoretical and managerial skills. Those skills are to meet the project requirements. Apart from that, the project manager should coordinate and integrates team and build a good relationship with the clients and associates to make sure the project is successful.
- Information Technology Project Manager for a financial services firm
Project Manager should manage, prioritizes, develops, and implement information technology solutions to meet business needs. For example, project manager prepares and executes project plans using project management software in accordance with the standards. It is vital to have plans which are built a Gantt chart in order to make sure the project could finish at the specific time.
- Information technology project Manager for a nonprofit consulting firm.
The project manager responsibilities include business analysis, project requirement gathering and project planning, budget estimating, project development, project testing, project implementation, and many more. For nonprofit consulting firm, project manager should work with various resource providers to ensure the development or project completed on specific times, high quality and cost effective for the project.
Project Manager Roles are very important and more challenging other than the typical functional manager. Project Manager. The project manager roles are a success factor for project management in organizing. Project Manager is an individual that in charge of developing, in conjunction with the Project Sponsor. The Project Manager then makes sure that the project is delivered on time, within the budget and to the specific quality standard. Project Manager also ensures that the project is effectively resourced and manages relationships with a wide range of groups including all the project stakeholders. The Project Manager is also responsible for managing the work of consultants, allocate and utilize all the project resources in a professional manner and maintaining a cooperative, motivated and successful team. Project managers are professed to be leading a various set of people with direct control over the team members (Baker, Murphy & Fisher, 2008). A number of roles are identified for the project manager such as planned all the activities, tasks, schedules and budgets. Other than that, he or she is organizing, selecting and placing the project team. The project manager is leading the project team and control all the activities and schedules. Besides that, the project manager also is able to select and develop a project team and give a motivation to the team members. Apart from that, the project manager also should always communicate with the project team and all stakeholders. The project manager also is the person who able to solve the problem, make a decision. A project manager’s responsibilities include overall management The project manager plays their role from the beginning of the project until the end of the project. Below is the roles should be required of a project manager.
- Project Manager must oversee and manages the work and the employees
- Project Manager must ensure that all resources are available when it’s needed as well can solve any problems.
- Project Manager must effectively communicate with top management, customer, project team, and the other stakeholders. The project manager must frequently communicate with the stakeholders in order to manage the works and all the work can be done by all the participants in the project.
- Project Manager must act as a politician, which is able to influence the people and able to make a decision. Project Manager should know how to get things done, how to operate with the system, how to get people to collaborate and how to influence the people
- Project Manager must act as negotiator which able negotiates with the stakeholders. The Negotiator is the skilled at getting what is needed for the project to be successful. For example, a Project Manager negotiates with senior management for more resources, negotiate with functional managers to get a particular project team member or to use a functional resource, negotiate with vendors for shorter lead time, negotiate with clients about project goal changes and others.
Project Manager also has responsibility in project management as follows:
- Defining the scope
- Planning the scope
- Activity and resource planning
- Developing schedules and timescales
- Cost estimating
- Completing documentation
- Risk analysis
- Risk management
- Progress monitoring
- Team Management
- Business Partnering
- Scalability and portability analysis
- Quality control
To be a good project manager, it is important to possess several skills in order to manage the project in the organization. Project managers need to have a wide variety of skills which can help them to do the best in project management. All the skills that possess by the project manager is determinant of the success of the project in project management. It is to fulfill the responsibilities as the project manager. There are several major knowledge and skill categories for project manager. Skills requirement of the project manager divided into four categories (Heerkens, 2002). Below are the four major knowledge and skills categories of the project manager.
- Project management process skills
Project Management process skills are the knowledge and skills related to the mechanism of project management. The project manager should be knowledgeable about tools, techniques and process technology in project management as well able to apply them in real situations. For instance, the project manager should know how to develop a complete customer document, build a network diagram, and build a work breakdown structure. With all these skills, the project manager will able to facilitate and organize the project plan. Project Manager also can encounter all the problems during the project management activities and will get respect from all the team members and other stakeholder.
- Interpersonal and behavioral skills
Interpersonal skills are the tools of people used to interact and communicate with other people in the organization. Interpersonal communication skills has seven main areas that required by the project manager, including verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, listening skills, negotiation skills, problem solving skills, decision making skills and assertiveness. Project Manger skills in dealing with the people are immeasurable valued. Besides the interpersonal skills, project manager also needs to have behavioral skills like personal conduct, style and approach.
- Technology management skills
As we know, most of the project is surrounded with the technology. It is referring to the process areas at the core of the project that used information technology infrastructure. The technology skills required might include software and hardware in order to do the task. The ability of the project manager to coordinate the application of technology is the key success as project manager. It is important to project manager to have adequate knowledge and skills that embedded with the technology. There are several technology management required by project manager such as proficiency in project core technology, proficiency in the supporting technology area, industry knowledge, patent knowledge, design skills, and many more. The project manager should familiar with the technology applied in the project. The project manager must able effective in the use of technology.
- Desired personal traits
To be a successful project manager, a personal trait is most important. Personal traits means is the action, attitudes and behavior should project manager have. Possessing personal traits will become a good project manager and be able to performing the duties as a project manager. The desirable traits should possess by project manager such as honesty and has integrity. Other than that, project manager should thinks like a generalist, has high tolerance with other people, and process-oriented, self-aware, open and accessible, politically, and decisive.
The manager’s leadership role is of great importance in motivating people and creating an effective working environment in order for the project team to encounter greater challenges in today’s environment. The characteristics of a project manager to indicate the type of leader and leadership style that the project manager applies during the management of projects. All project managers need to demonstrate leadership skills and managerial skills. Leadership and management are terms often used in managing the organization or company. The project manager must be a leader and manager. A leader focuses on long term objectives and give inspiration to people to achieve the project management the goals in the organization (Schwalbe, 2011). Meanwhile, a manager deals with day-to-day project activities in order to achieve the goals. The leadership skills of project manager are very important to lead the project to success. Leadership can be defined as a style of behavior designed to integrate both the organizational requirements and personal interests in the pursuit of some objectives. Managers hold a leadership responsibility. Project managers are often selected or not selected because of their leadership styles (Kerzner, 2001). The leadership role is crucial to facilitating various project success factors that contribute to project execution. According to Anantatmula (2010), the project manager’s leadership roles and responsibilities influence the project deliverables and the project performance. Besides that People skills are essential when a project manager become. People skills are leadership circles of leaders that are encouraged to share the vision and team members are encouraged to be service oriented. The leader also has good relationships with customers or vendors. Barnard (1938) suggested the functions of a leader are needed to have both managerial and emotional functions. Managerial and emotional functions are called as cognitive and cathectic. Cognitive functions are managerial functions which involve directing, guiding the people, and constraining choices and actions, meanwhile cathectic functions are emotional functions which include motivational as well emotional aspects towards the objectives of the project and increasing trust and commitment to a larger moral purpose. Leadership and People skills are very important for a project manager to manage the project in the organization from the beginning until the end. All the skills are crucial in order to facilitate the project and make sure the project run smoothly within the time, scope and the cost.
The project manager that is trusted by the team and gets the team to work together will communicate successfully. Project team members need to collaborate, share, collaborate and integrate information and knowledge to meet project objectives. A project manager does not communicate with language only, but also with character, which includes attitude, behavior and personality. Project manager with characteristics will allow team members to take responsibility for their work, developing trust, collaboration and teamwork; and sharing the vision will apply during the execution of a project. Besides acting as manager, project manager also act as a facilitator and also as a communicator. He or she must ensure that all resources and work are available when needed and that any problems are resolved. The project manager also must effectively communicate with top management, customer, project team, and other participants in project management. Other than that, the project manager should act as a politician and also negotiator. When they act as a politician, the project manager able to influence the others and have a great influence in decision making. It is important for a project manager to be a negotiator because they need to negotiate with all the stakeholders in managing all the process in the project management activities.
The factor which may cause the project management to fail is by assigning the wrong person as project manager. Responsibilities of a Project Manager are to ensure successful completion of a project within a specific time and within the budget allocation. However, it involves many other stages in project management. Project manager plays a key role in helping projects and organization success. The project manager must perform a variety of job duties and have many skills. It is to develop skills in project management, general management, and also their application area such as in the information technology area. To be a successful project manager, they must care about everything and responsible in broad areas including for a project, company, project team members and also the project manager itself. To be a successful project manager, it should be somebody who consistently completes the project and meet the organization goals and also project management goals. The project must getting deliverables completed and handed over. When the project is completed, it can see the business profit increasing and leaves the customer with smiles on their faces. In the nutshell, it can be said that project manager gives big influence to the project management which involve in all the activities of the project management.
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