A project manager is the person responsible for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint for projects, which are cost, time, and scope.
A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.
The term and title ‘project manager’ has come to be used generically to describe anyone given responsibility to complete a project. However, it is more properly used to describe a person with full responsibility and the same level of authority required to complete a project. If a person does not have high levels of both responsibility and authority then they are better described as a project administrator, coordinator, facilitator or expeditor.
The Project Manager’s Skills
Today many people are referred to as project managers, and at the same time a lot of projects fail. According to Clements and Gido (2012) the project manager must have the following skills
This is getting things done through others. It involves inspiring people/project team to work as a team and achieve the project objectives. This is done via the empowerment and involvement of the project team.
General Management Skills
These include financial management, marketing management, human resources management, operations management, strategic management, contracts and commercial law, logistics, supply chain and procurement, information technology, health and safety practices. The general management skills enable a project manager to have the capacity to make prompt decisions in the interest of the project.
A project manager must be able to work with people because he/she spends a large percent of his time communicating with stakeholders. He/She therefore needs to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts and problems timeously, negotiate contracts, allocate resources, persuade people to buy into the project, influence stakeholders, motivate the team, and play an overall leadership role for the project.
A project manager must be a good communicator and be able to communicate regularly to the project team. Communication needs to be timely, honest and unambiguous.
Able To Handle Stress
A project manager must be able to handle stress effectively. Stress can arise when the project is in jeopardy of not meetings its objective due to cost overrun, a schedule delay or technical problems.
Problem Solving Skills
He/she needs to be a good problem solver by identifying the problems early. The project managers needs to encourage the team to identify problems early and solve them on their own.
Good negotiating skills are essential for project managers. The goal of negotiating is for 2 or more people to or parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement on an issue. It is a form of problem solving and required effective listening skills.
Time Management Skills
The project manager must manger his/her time well. Project require a lot of energy because of the concurrent activities and unexpected events. Project managers therefore need to have self discipline, to be able to priortise and show a willingness to delegate.
Based on the above analysis, it can be seen that a project manager is somebody who has a variety of skills and their interest is not only the project deliverables but also the people and resources under their control.
In addition to the above skills a project manager must be well versed and continuously informed about the profession and its development in the local and global context. He/She must understand international economics and their impact on the domestic markets.