The start of a project is a critical time; a lot of focus is put on budgets, scheduling and risk. One often overlooked aspect of project is the role the project manager plays. There are many tools that can help in predicting costs, timing and potential risks of the project. However, there are few tools to help decide on the project manager other than a ‘gut feel’, or stating ‘I have my best man on the job’. The way the project manager, manages the project can have a huge impact on the success of the project. A project manager needs to be able to clearly define milestones and convey these milestones to the project team. A project schedule and budget often relies on the belief that the team will be efficient throughout the project. A team without clearly defined goals or confusion within the team will not work to their full efficiency. In my own experience weeks have been “lost” during a project due to team members working on the wrong tasks or working on tasks that do not help the project move forward efficiently. Without definition and effective communication all the tools and analysis may not ensure sure the project is a success.
Another important aspect to a successful project is the ability to be able to adjust plans in an effective and timely fashion. This responsibility of decision making often falls onto the project manager. A project manager that gets bogged down in making decisions can affect the entire project. The time that it takes to make a decision can affect the schedule; also an improper decision can affect the possibility for a successful project. Also, during a project a project manager needs to be aware of any changes from the original plan to help the project move quickly and efficiently. Therefore a project manager that can make critical decisions in a timely fashion increases the chance of a successful project, and can assure the team that the project is well managed and help the project move forward. A British study estimated that for approximately every 1.5 billion dollars spent on projects, approximately 235 million dollars were at risk due to inadequate project management.
I have seen many instances in my career where the project manager and not the project nature, schedule or budget have had the largest impact on a project. Many times how the project is conducted and the communication in the project that is most beneficial and often this can be seen by number of successful projects a certain project manager has managed. These management styles are very hard to be measured often times it is overlooked and not addressed.
How important do you feel the actual project manager has in the overall success in the project?