There are a lot of jokes about Project Managers. A project manager is a person who believes that nine women can deliver a baby in one month. Want to live forever? Hire a project manager to plan your death …you get the picture.
It’s a little like that old slur that, “those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach”. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, make a living telling those who can what to do and by when.
A good project manager will stack the odds in your favour; helping you to manage the uncertainty, enabling you to produce a reliable roadmap to successful delivery, happy customers and a contented team.
It seems to be a career that is not generally held in very high esteem. What is a project manager anyway? What do they do?
Part of the problem is that there isn’t a simple way of explaining the job beyond saying that “it’s someone who manages projects”, which isn’t terribly helpful.
One common definition is that “Project Management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve a specific project objective according to project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget”.
Yeah. It doesn’t really trip off the tongue, does it?
Why would you pay someone to do this when you could ask someone else to just pick up the work (whatever it is) alongside everything else that they’re doing?
Sounds easy, right?
Delivering a project to time, to budget and to the expected quality is definitely not an easy thing to do. Most people will know this from their own experience, whether in a work environment or simply getting some work done on their house or garden. If it was easy to pin down costs, timescales and expectations, then nobody would ever be disappointed by what they got, what they paid for it or how long it took to build. Having someone specifically responsible for those things does not guarantee that you will get things right, but it surely makes it more likely, no?
In a work context, it just makes more sense to have someone specifically responsible for making sure that all the ducks are lined up, that expectations are defined and that costs and deliverables are managed carefully.
Now, acknowledging this and appointing a project manager doesn’t mean that any of these things are guaranteed. I’m sure there are bad project managers who constantly foul things up and get in the way of successful project delivery…. but projects can be complicated, people are unpredictable and life is uncertain. You cannot guarantee a successful project delivery.
You can take steps to stack the odds in your favour; to give yourself the best possible chance of managing the uncertainty and to produce a reliable roadmap to successful delivery, happy customers and a contented, fulfilled team.
How? Find someone who can manage all the variables and uncertainties that life can throw at you…. Find a decent project manager to help maximise your chances of success.
At Housing Online we were lucky to find that project manager last year, and we were exceedingly proud when a few weeks ago this was recognised and he was awarded with his PRINCE2 Practitioner Project Management certification.