Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

When is a Project Manager not a Project Manager

~ By Anthony Sherick

Silhouettes of people from different professions

It seems that these days everyone claims to be a project manager. Glancing through the jobs pages of newspapers, you'll see a wide variety of companies crying out for the skills of experienced project managers. Account managers are being renamed project managers; in fact anyone who can be classed as managing a project is now called a PM. But are these 'true' project management roles? We take a look at some of the project management jobs that don't require the skills of a true project manager.

The Vanity Project Manager

This is the person in the sales team responsible for keeping the client happy. Called a 'project manager' because it makes the client think that this is someone on their side managing processes, but their real job is to manage client expectations.

The 'Fingers in All the Pies' Project Manager

This sort of project manager flits around the organisation, poking into every project and attending every meeting going. They take meeting notes, and might even chase you on your action points. But that's as involved as they get in the project.

The Buffer Zone PM

This species of project manager is just an extra layer between the staff doing the work, and those doing the management. They act as a liaison, transferring messages from one side to the other. And that's it.

The 'We Couldn't Think of Another Job Title' Project Manager

This is the glorified account manager who has been given the title of project manager to encompass all possible tasks that their manager chooses to throw at them. And throw they do.

The Subject Matter Expert PM

This sort of project manager quickly becomes the 'extra pair of hands' available to fill in when a member of staff is ill, or deadlines have been missed. Of course, it is handy to be able to get your hands dirty when the going gets tough: there's nothing more frustrating than watching your team toil away, while you make a Gantt chart.

However, in my mind, project managers add value by pre-empting the problems which could send the project whizzing off in the wrong direction. Not being a subject expert has its advantages, as the PM doesn't get drawn into delivery when deadlines are tight. Once the project manager starts to become absorbed in the task, he forgets to look over the horizon and doesn't see the enormous iceberg looming down over the project team.

The project manager doesn't have to be a subject matter expert, but they do have to have some knowledge of the challenges that the team faces in the delivery of the work.

Managing a project is more than taking notes in a meeting, it is a challenging and demanding role that requires specific qualifications. Setting objectives, managing budgets, enforcing timescales and handling multiple stakeholders are tasks that need to be simultaneously managed, and knowledge of solid procedures is going to be key in keeping all these balls in the air. The role of the project manager is a juggler and a negotiator, a salesman and a buyer. A project manager wears a lot of hats, and takes on several guises throughout the working day.

I believe that the best way to identify a true project management professional is one who is meticulous in assessing the success of a project after the event and who learns from the experience. They are interested in how the project developed, and not just the end result. True project management is not just about the finished product, it is the journey.


By Anthony Sherick of Project Manager Jobs www.projectmanagerjobs.co.uk the dedicated website for jobs in project management.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Is it true or false that purple is a number?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management

Three red dice reading: Manage your risk

The benefits of risk management in projects are huge. You can gain a lot of money if you deal with uncertain project events in a proactive manner.

The Art of Project Scheduling

Project plan and schedule

The art of project scheduling is based on experience and the more experience you have, the more accurate your schedule will be.

Is Project Management Certification Worth It?

University students in a classroom watching a presentation

Do recognised professional credentials increase your worth in the jobs market? Will the effort of studying to pass the exam improve your career prospects?

A Brief History of SMART Goals

Set your goals written on blue paper

In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it, what the critics say and why it has become popular.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Leanore Medrano commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Sat 21 October 6:17pm

Keith Rickman commented on…
Reasons Why Projects Fail
- Tue 17 October 8:47pm

Shertina Jones commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Sun 15 October 5:35pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Tracking Multiple Projects - Best Methods? https://t.co/tSBlMWo1rt #projectsmart #pmot about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Re: Online PM Tools https://t.co/0KnjXkO7mT #projectsmart #pmot about 3 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Online PM Tools https://t.co/xyiNZm8hzV #projectsmart #pmot about 3 days ago