A Short Introduction to the Role of the Project Manager and Its Importance For Business Management
For those eager to study degree-level business management or to enter into the world of business even sooner, project management is becoming an increasingly important specialist skill, and a subject of study in its own right. So what is the role of the project manager in the 21st Century business place?
Today any large or mid-sized business will likely have one or a number of project managers (pm) working full time to plan and organize workloads against resources, staff and time. Typically, the primary aim of the project manager is to meet the necessary project goals within the confines of certain limitations such as cost and time – being sure to allocate work sensibly and efficiently, and with consideration of the staff around them.
There are numerous approaches to project management which vary in degrees of complexity. Perhaps the most simple (sometimes known as traditional) approach by which a pm will take would involve five stages of development, including: initiation, planning and design, execution/production, monitoring or controlling, and completion. In recent years, other well known project management methods have arisen in order to adapt to developments in business. PRINCE2 is one such method, and has a defined framework with close controls in place as well as back-up plans if the project needs to be amended during its lifetime.
It is project control which is perhaps the most important purpose for a pm to understand and take charge of. Once any project is underway it is a given that it needs to be kept on track, on time and within budget and the pm will be accountable if the project strays in any way. At the outset, the project manager will need to ascertain how much control is needed over certain aspects – a challenge which is something of a balancing act as any control which is over-zealous may take too much time while little control may be a major risk to its development.
Aside from the project manager’s role within their respective company, they will often be seen as the face of the business in regards to dealing with external clients. This role calls for significant communication skills alongside time management and development control. At its heart, project management seeks to keep clients satisfied – and this means being upfront and transparent in the face of adversity.