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Lars Linnekogel
Lars
Linnekogel

MAKE YOUR PROJECT A SUCCESS: FIVE KEY ROLES OF THE PROJECT MANAGER

11.02.2017
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Will you be managing a project in the future? Maybe for the first time? Or maybe you still need some support in project management? In that case, let us introduce you below to the five key roles of a project manager that we have seen time and again in practice. The goal and the core tasks of the role in each case will serve as a guideline to help you implement your project successfully.

Please bear in mind that your precise role description will always depend on the different circumstances of each project. It is never just one role that applies. They move on a multidimensional level that involves all the key roles below – sometimes to a greater and sometimes a lesser extent. The main focus depends specifically on your team since, as project manager, you will need to fill in any gaps that come up.

  1. The project manager as planner and helmsman 
    You lay the foundations for your project on the basis of a goal-driven structure and a project plan. The following core tasks must be taken into account:
  • Clarifying the project mission with the customer
  • Drawing up a goal-targeted, modular project structure
  • Drawing up a project plan
  • Making continuous, proactive adjustments between the plan, the actual progress of the project and achievement of the goal
  • Identifying and implementing adjustments

 

  1. The projector manager as leader

This role is particularly important if you have a project team to lead – both internally and externally. The goal is to guide and motivate your team and to retain control. This is the only way to sustainably achieve the best possible results. Without management skills you are less a project manager than a project expert. To prevent this, take account of the following points:

  • Identifying the right project personnel
  • Putting together a project team (deliberate selection)
  • Delegating tasks and setting targets
  • Motivating team members to give their best on the basis of their backgrounds, capabilities, goals and personalities
  • Monitoring results, feedback and continuing development of the team
  • Resolving conflicts if necessary

 

  1. The project manager as communicator and representative

As project manager, you are the face of the project, its representative, and at the same time you act as the place to go for an exchange of information and for your stakeholders to clarify any concerns.

Your core tasks are:

  • Being the person identified with the project: the point of contact for all the stakeholders’ concerns
  • Creating and giving presentations on results and status, handing over documentation
  • Preparing and running project meetings within the team and with stakeholders
  • Conducting negotiations with project stakeholders

 

  1. The project manager as visionary

Do you manage to provide content-related stimuli as well as coordination? Then you are a really good project manager and visionary. Identifying new potential solutions and actively changing your team’s perspectives, and those of your customers/stakeholders so that, in this way, you can demonstrate new approaches to resolving problems by means of continually questioning – that is the goal. You can achieve it with these core tasks:

  • Setting active, content-related stimuli
  • Anticipating potential environmental or stakeholder influences
  • Questioning operational results with constructive criticism
  • Introducing new ways of looking at things, by calling in experts if necessary

 

  1. The project manager as salesperson

This role presents two important components: you have to sell both yourself and the relevance of the project so as to obtain the resources you need and support from the company. But the final project results also have to be “sold” well so that the project can be successfully completed. Concrete tasks in this context are:

  • Finding supporters among the stakeholders
  • Using convincing arguments to acquire the resources required, e.g. by means of a business case
  • Highlighting the advantages of the project results in the case of politically problematic topics to achieve sustainable implementation


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