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Project Manager

What is a project manager?

Project Manager Definition -  A project manager is responsible for the execution of a project from start to finish. Whereby the objectives have already been rendered, monitoring processes, administering all logistical tasks and successfully finishing a project are responsibilities a project manager must commit to.

What is a project?

A project has a clear start to finish line with a unique, particular outcome. It can be an activity in addition to or outside of the scope of a product.

It is short-term in nature, usually has a fixed budget and a scheduled timeline.

The active contributors consist of a project team and a project manager.

Examples of project management method

Project management as a concept with specific modeling layers has a few originators that have had great influence on nowadays planning phases for software development.

In the context of project management an often heard name is Henry Gantt, creator of the Gantt-Chart. This approach visualizes a project schedule by illustrating every activity as a horizontal bar with its width depicting an estimated duration.

They become a sequence of dependent tasks, similar to the waterfall approach.

While linear task dependency and critical path management can be helpful to accomplish clear predefined goals, it lacks in its flexibility and room for later adjustment. 

Similar looking as the Gantt-Chart yet purposely following a different course of action are roadmaps.

The difference from a roadmap to a Gantt-Chart is, in opposite to a linear fashion of work that needs to be completed, it is a tool that contributes to an agile development process.

While it entails objectives, timeline, deliverables and dependencies, it isn’t fixed. More detailed tasks are documented in a project plan, while the roadmap gives an abstract and strategic overview of the project.

It helps communicate updates with the team, stakeholders and eventually customers and serves as a reference in high-level decision-making.

With agile frameworks it is possible to respond to change and to adapt to new circumstances much faster and without much trouble.

fAgile as a label was introduced by the authors of the Agile Manifesto in 2001. Now agile as an adjective can represent a general mindset, in the Agile Manifesto its value is explained as follows:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

- individuals and interactions over processes and tools

- working software over comprehensive documentation

- customer collaboration over contract negotiation

- responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

What do project managers do?

The five processes a project manager must pay attention to are:

Initiating

After a project has decided to be feasible the project manager may create a project initiation document (PID) possibly outlining a business case, its purpose and requirements.

Planning

During the planning phase, determined factors such as identifying the cost and available sources as well as creating a timeline and project plan will come into play.

Executing

Usually a kick-off meeting initiates the start of the project execution phase. It entails communicating the project goal, roles and responsibilities, and the development of deliverables. 

The performing team is now committed to execute tasks in order to achieve the objectives.

Monitoring

The monitoring phase occurs simultaneously to the executing phase. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help the project manager to assert the performance and progression of a project in alignment to the project plan. 

Closing

The completed project must be delivered and be handed over.

The project manager may hold a post-mortem meeting to evaluate the project phases and demonstrate improvements.

It will eventually be transferred to another team or person that is obligated to maintain and manage it from now on.

While managing all phases of a project, project managers also provide leadership to their project teams.

They take full responsibility for success or failure of a project and need to offer great support along the way.

Effective communication and open dialogue are crucial to bring out the best in one’s team to ultimately get the best possible results.

Q&A

Question: How much does a project manager make?
Answer: A project manager’s salary varies across different industries, experience and the level of accreditation. However, Glassdor.com estimates the average project manager’s salary to be $88,699 a year in the US.
Question: What does a construction project manager do?
Answer: A construction project manager, among other tasks, is in charge of planning, time management, risk management, budget allocations, staff management, and keeping the investors informed regarding the construction process and status.
Question: What is an IT project manager?
Answer: An IT project manager’s job is complex and it usually overlaps across multiple teams and technologies. In essence, the IT project manager is in charge of communicating job expectations, planning, monitoring, keeping track of technologies used is the bridge between the technical team and the CEO/Product Manager/Product Owner. The IT project manager often works closely in evaluating the team’s performance and provide coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees.

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