As a Project Manager I am always thinking of the best way to manager and deliver my projects. There is the PMBOK and a host of other books, training courses and networking opportunities out there to better yourself at project management. In spite of the knowledge you bring to the table there is a question almost every project manager has to answer – do I really need a Project Manager?
As a practicing project manager my answer to such a question is always a resounding YES. But of course a simple YES is just not going to cut it.
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I have asked my clients why they think they need a project manager and here is what some have told me:
– – “My staff is lazy.” I experience this often, I hired a project manager so they can chase the “lazy” employee around and make sure they do their job. A really bad justification for needing a project manager but a justification nonetheless.
– – “There are too many things in the pipeline.” Another one I come across where the pipeline for an employee has absolutely no bandwidth, but we tend to push 1-2 projects through it anyway. The employee is burdened and someone needs to start prioritizing or in this case start shouting for the attention to be directed towards those 1-2 projects. The direct side-effects of this method is the project gets the attention it needs, but all other projects in the employees pipeline are going to get a hit. This is just an inherent flaw in the process. Once the process is fixed, the bandwidth issue is resolved. Again, not a good reason to have a project manager if all they are doing is shouting for attention to their project.
This is a sample of all the negative reasons for needing a project manager within your organization. Here are some real and positive reasons for needing that project manager:
– Communication: The PMBOK says that about 80% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating. This is communication internal to their organization as well as external to clients and projects they might be managing. You need that conduit of information to be able to bridge the silos that are formed when teams are engrossed on their projects.
– Ask the difficult questions: You need that person that has the ability to ask questions that are in the best interest of the project and many-a-times these questions will irk the people around you. I find that asking the question starting with “WHY” really sets off people, as most people are used to saying/doing things a certain way without any resistance. The project manager asking the WHY question is going to instantly irk them but this almost sets off a debate which in turn sets off a brainstorming session; hopefully ending in a solution.
– Identify and manage risk: I think this task goes hand-in-glove with asking the difficult questions. No one wants to hear about risk until it happens and now it’s an issue. Can we plan for training so when we go live our employees know what to do? Not providing training is a major risk but no one really talks about it until the day after they have gone live. No one from the team will leave the project, but half way done and you’ve lost a developer; another risk that no one thinks will happen to their project (so no one talk about it.) Planning for contingency takes effort and time that we do not plan for on a project and this in and of itself is the biggest risk to my projects.
So next time you embark on something major remember that you’ll need that Project Manager. Don’t skip out on an important step!
Want to know more about Project Management, the importance of a project manager, or how KTL has implemented their project management roles, ask Amit at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301.360.0001.
AMIT TRASI | Project Manager
Amit is responsible for institutionalizing project management governance at KTL to streamline ERP implementations. With over 15 years of technology experience as a software developer, project manager, and program manager, Amit has managed end-to-end ERP implementations with Dynamics NAV and GP as well as POS implementation with e-Commerce front end. He holds extensive experience deploying POS and ERP applications at non-profits, theme parks, and museums across the United States. Amit joined KTL in October of 2013 and holds an MBA in Information Systems as well as holding a Project Management Professional certificate.