Why Do We Need Project Managers?

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Project management is something that is a very tricky cat and mouse-type game with people from across, or even outside of an organization. Their goals are focused around expediency, cost, coordination, and due diligence across every aspect of the project, and so, it is not difficult to understand why, sometimes things can get a bit interesting when managing a team of creative talent.

One thing I have learned about working in multidisciplinary teams of people who are enthusiastic about their jobs, is that ideas quickly grow out of hand. Conversations are struck about families and friends, and meetings can quickly go awry. There is nothing inherently wrong with conversations of this kind, but when there is a goal to be achieved during the meeting, long delays can equate to everyone wasting their time. Project managers keep a handle on meetings to ensure that goals are accomplished in a timely manner, and keep everyone on track.

In addition, while juggling so many types of people from so many disciplines, behavioral trends begin to appear. If someone isn’t prepared for a meeting (perhaps some deliverable was not done on time, or something was forgotten), individuals tend to become quieter so as to not draw unnecessary attention to themselves. Alternatively, some become very outspoken and try to hide the fact that they’re not ready by overpowering you with other things to think about. Project managers begin to notice these trends, and are must be vigilant in ensuring that each piece of the project goes according to plan. One delay from one department can mean a three week delay in deployment.

Also, when working on a project, there are always problems to be encountered. The project manager is the go-to point for any conflict to be resolved. If one department isn’t producing what is required, the PM is on the case to make sure it gets done. Again, orchestration of time-tables is the key to getting a project done on time.

Finally, for this post at least, The project manager is the buffer between the customer and the internal departments. When new features are added, it must go through the project manager to determine whether it fits within the plan or not. Also, what kind of time schedule is required for their implementation? Can it be finished within budget? Finally, do the new hopes mesh with the product. All departments have some say in this, generally, but the project manager is the one who finally says, “Let’s do it,” or “no, we can’t.”

I’m sure I missed some, can you help me find some more? Let’s discuss in the comments!