Five Important, but not Obvious, Project Manager Responsibilities

A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure of a project. Understanding the key project manager duties are in relation to the functions of management framework will help you lead your projects to a successful outcome.

“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Five Important, but not Obvious, Project Manager Responsibilities":

Managing projects is a tough job. Of course you need to plan, estimate, and manage scope, risks, issues, communication, etc. It is a lot of work. In addition, consider these responsibilities that are a little less obvious.

1. Work with the Sponsor to set a project vision

Every Project Manager has to set a clear roadmap for the team. This includes a clear project plan, goals, timeframes and deliverables. The sponsor will help with the business goals and business benefits. You can then work with your team to get their buy-in on the timeframes and deliverables at a detailed level.

2. Time-box everything

You project plan will describe the general timeframes for the project, but you need to make sure that within this plan, every individual task has a clearly defined start and end date. Then make sure that resources are assigned to tasks and they know what must be complete and when. When you assign work, get your team to consider the due dates to be "time boxed". This means the dates must be met.

Similarly if you run meetings, make sure you finish on time. Make sure the action items are completed on time. If you run workshops, make sure that the actions that were generated have due dates. Anything that isn't time-boxed becomes an optional task and you have no way of knowing if it's on time or not.

3. "Blow the whistle" regularly

As a Project Manager, you need to ensure everything is completed on time - otherwise you need to blow the whistle. This is equivalent to calling a foul in basketball or soccer. Don't be afraid to be called a micromanager if you follow-up on the status of work assignments. In fact, that's actually your job. Find out the current status and how long it's going to take to finish. Compare that to what you expected in the first place. Remember - you need to control the work, not just monitor it.

4. Be strong, but supportive

It's a tough balance to strike (being strong vs. supportive), but all great leaders have found the balance and achieved the right results. If you need to have a terse word with staff, then do it personally rather than in front of the team. Speak openly and honestly, never "fluff it up". Tell them straight, but always be professional and constructive. The team will respect you for it.

5. Be a watchdog

Your job is to lead, coach, manage and review. So keep a close eye on progress and where things are. Continually monitor the work to see if you're on track and take action if you're not. Review everything - time, deliverables, quality, budget, etc. You're the watchdog who makes sure that it's all done according to plan.

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