The project manager is your friend

If you’re the developer, you are doubting my words. Most developers think the project manager is the enemy. If you’re a project stakeholder, you are doubting my words. Most stakeholders think the project manager is ineffective and can’t bring the project in on time. If you’re the project manager, you are definitely doubting my words. Everyone runs and hides when you come to see them, right?Maybe I should change the title. Maybe the title should be – “The project manager should be your friend”. Why is this such a difficult position? Why do project managers seem so ineffective? Let’s look at a few ways to make this position less disliked and more effective in your organization.

Don’t put your weakest person in the job. The project manager needs to be strong. He needs to be competent and he needs to understand what the developer is saying. Translating between development and business stakeholders is not a task for the weak or technically challenged.

Don’t put your most abrasive person in the job. This job requires tact. It requires facilitation, mediation and patience. A PM must work with people of varying backgrounds and personalities. To be effective, he needs to get along.

Make your project manager more than a schedule tracker. The project manager needs to have decision making authority. He needs to be able to adjust functionality requirements if warranted. The stakeholder must allow him some autonomy in this regard. If checking on schedule slippages and task completion percentages without regard for the task at hand is your PM’s sole function, he’ll be disliked and ineffective.

Don’t give the PM an impossible task. Successful projects are hard. Completing them on time and on budget is even harder. Setting unrealistic goals gets the team off on the wrong foot and makes the PM a target from the start.

Listen to your PM. That’s why you hired him. That’s why you put him in this position. He’s in the trenches every day. He’s in tune with his project, so listen to him.

Choosing the right person to be your PM can be one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever have. The right balance of technical ability, communication skills and business acumen is a tough combination. Finding the right person with just the right skills can make all the difference in your project’s success and will provide a significant ROI for this and future projects. So – use our hints and your best judgment and take the time to find the right candidate.

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