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The project manager leads the project team. They orchestrate the project activities to achieve the project goal. This requires the application of leadership skills, technical knowledge or project management skills, and business and strategic skills.
The project manager leads the project team. An effective leader has project management skills, interpersonal skills and business/industry acumen.
When to use
Every project needs to have someone in charge. When a project is initiated one of the first steps the stakeholders and sponsor should take is to appoint a project manager. Throughout the lifecycle of the project, the manager leads the project team.
Project Manager: “The person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives.” PMBOK® Guide
A project manager is the primary person responsible for ensuring the project management processes are followed. They need to orchestrate the activities of the other project team members. The project manager does not need to be the expert in everything that is done on the project. However, they should be the be the expert on project management activities and they should be knowledgeable about the roles and responsibilities of their team members.
Project Manager Competencies
According to the PMBOK® Guide, project managers should be competent in three areas. These are referred to as the project management talent triangle:
- "Technical project management – knowledge, skills and behavior related to specific domains or project, program and portfolio management. The technical aspects of performing one’s role.
- Leadership – knowledge, skills and behavior needed to guide, motivate and direct a team, to help an organization achieve its business goals.
- Strategic and business management – the knowledge and expertise in the industry and organization that enhanced performance and better delivers business outcomes."
Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017, Figure 3-2, Page 57, page 56 and Glossary definition, Page 716.
The project manager role is more than just applying technical project management knowledge and skills to project activities, it includes a strong dose or leadership. On many (most?) projects the project manager is not the direct supervisor of all project team members. They cannot direct someone to do a project task and fire them if they don’t. Instead the project leader must build the trust and confidence of project team members and the stakeholders. This requires the ability to apply inter-personal skills effectively.
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PMI, PMP, CAPM and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.