Project managers in modern projects
A project manager is, by definition, someone who manages projects. But most project managers don’t manage projects, they plan them. People who plan projects often think in terms of managing budgets. They look at a project and ask how much it costs and how long it will last. They also ask how long it will take to make the project. Then they can subtract those answers to find out how much money the project will cost and how much work it will require. The problem is that those calculations don’t tell you how long the project will take. They assume that everything will go according to plan that the project will start and end on schedule. Project managers use PMS tools to simplify their work
But for complex projects, things rarely go according to plan. People get sick, unexpected problems develop, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Even when everything goes right, it can take longer than expected Project managers tend to ignore this uncertainty. They plan as if this were an ordinary business project. Instead of asking how long the various tasks will take, they predict how long they will take if everything goes according to plan.
This kind of thinking is one reason why projects take so long, and why companies lose so much money on them. If a project manager is managing the project, then, he not only has to think about money. He has to manage people as well. He has to motivate the people working on the project, educate them, and give them feedback. He has to stay in touch with the clients, respond to their requests, and explain to them why things aren’t going as fast as they had hoped. He has to keep all the moving parts moving, and make sure no one gets left out. To do all that, he needs a lot of experience and the right online project management software.
Who is a project manager?
A project manager is a person who gets paid a lot to keep other people from paying a lot. Software managers are the people other project managers go to when they aren’t sure what software to use. There are all kinds of software managers: software consultants, product managers, product managers for developers, project sponsors, and so on.
The job of the project manager is to make sure that other people spend as much money as they want, while staying within budget. Software managers are the people who make sure other people spend as much money as they want, while staying within budget.
What Does a project manager do?
Project management is the art of getting stuff done. The distinction between project management and business analysis is that business analysis is about solving business problems, and project management is about getting things done. The distinction can be important: I have a friend who was a consultant, and he says business analysis is “doing the due diligence,” and project management is “taking the actions that bring the due diligence to fruition.” The distinction between management and leadership is more subtle. As James Collins writes in Good to Great, “Leadership is about inspiring and motivating people. Management is about getting things done.”
Do you wish to become a project manager?
Project management is a noble profession. But why is it noble? Why does it deserve special respect and special treatment? One reason is that it is not an academic subject. It deals with the real world, and the real world is messy: things are complicated, people are unpredictable, and things don’t always work. If we want to do a good job of project management, we have to be able to deal with that. Another reason is that project management is demanding. The job is about getting things done, and getting things done requires hard choices. Sometimes you have to choose between doing it right and getting it done. Sometimes you have to do it twice, first a little and then a lot.
A third reason is that project management involves doing and not doing. You have to set priorities, make trade-offs, and decide what to spend your time on. You have to say no, even when you know you should say yes. And you have to persuade other people to do the things that need to be done, even when they don’t really want to.
And these are just the things you have to do in project management. You also have to deal with people. You have to deal with the people who work for you; you have to deal with the people who work for you’s boss; and you have to deal with the people who work for you’s boss’s boss. You have to know their interests and priorities, and you have to know their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Sometimes you have to make them do things they don’t want to do, and other times you have to persuade them to do things they do want to do. The more you have to do with people, the more project management is like being a project manager.