The role and responsibilities of a Project Manager

by Ravi Kant Rangaiah, Senior Vice President

The project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning and execution of a project. This title is used not only in the IT industry but also in other industries including Infrastructure and Construction, Logistics and Transportation and many different occupations that are based on production of a product or service.

The project manager must possess a combination of skills including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve interpersonal conflicts as well as more systematic management skills.

Key amongst his/her duties is the recognition that risk directly impacts the likelihood of success and that this risk must be both formally and informally measured throughout the lifetime of the project.

Risk arises primarily from uncertainty and the successful project manager is the one who focuses upon this as the main concern. Most of the issues that impact a project arise in one way or another from risk. A good project manager can reduce risk significantly, often by adhering to a policy of open communication, ensuring that every significant participant has an opportunity to express opinions and concerns.

Nowadays, Agile and Iterative development methodologies are being used as a risk reduction strategy. An agile methodology addresses risks earlier in the project, rather than later. It effectively manages user requirements and provides early value through executable software, instead of postponing the delivery of a working system until the final implementation. An agile methodology flushes out and accommodates change early in the project lifecycle and supplies an early architectural baseline. It also supports component-based systems development, facilitates team collaboration, and, most importantly, ensures quality.

It follows from the above that a project manager is one who is responsible for making decisions both large and small, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimized. Every decision taken by the project manager should be taken in such a way that it directly benefits the project.

Project managers use project management software, such as Microsoft Project, to organize their tasks and workforce. These software packages allow project managers to produce reports and charts in a few minutes, compared to the several hours it can take if they do not use a software package.

The role of the project manager encompasses many activities including:

  • Planning and Defining Scope
  • Activity Planning and Sequencing
  • Resource Planning
  • Developing Schedules
  • Time Estimating
  • Cost Estimating
  • Developing a Budget
  • Controlling Quality
  • Risk Analysis
  • Managing Risks and Issues
  • Creating Charts and Schedules
  • Benefits Realization
  • Team Leadership
  • Customer Liaison

Infogain project managers often tackle a number of challenges across the lifecyle of client projects. If you have any insight to share on the successful management of projects or specific challenges you’ve faced where you would look to your peers for their insight, please consider submitting an article or question in the Project Talk section of this newsletter. It is an ideal forum for peer-to-peer communications and information sharing.

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