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Project Management

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LESSON 07
THE PROJECT MANAGER (CONTD.)
Broad Contents
Successful Project Manager
Role of Project Manager
Project Champions
Project Manager's Power/ Authority
Functional and Project Organizations
7.1
Successful Project Manager:
A good project management methodology provides a framework with repeatable processes,
guidelines, and techniques to greatly increase the odds of success, and therefore, provides value
to the project and the Project Manager. However, it should be understood up front that project
management is not totally a science, and there is never a guarantee of success. Just the fact that
a Project Manager is using a methodology increases the odds of project success. Successful
project management is strongly dependent on:
A good daily working relationship between the Project Manager and those line managers
who directly assign resources to projects.
The ability of functional employees to report vertically to their line manager at the same
time that they report horizontally to one or more Project Managers.
These two items become critical. In the first item, functional employees who are assigned to a
Project Manager still take technical direction from their line managers. Second, employees who
report to multiple managers will always favor the managers who control their purse strings.
Thus, most Project Managers appear always to be at the mercy of the line managers.
Classical management has often been defined as a process in which the manager does not
necessarily perform things for himself, but accomplishes objectives through others in a group
situation. This basic definition also applies to the Project Manager. In addition, a Project
Manager must help himself. There is nobody else to help him.
If we take a close look at project management, we will see that the Project Manager actually
works for the line managers, not vice versa. Many executives do not realize this. They have a
tendency to put a halo around the head of the Project Manager and give him a bonus at project
termination, when, in fact, the credit should really go to the line managers, who are continually
pressured to make better use of their resources. The Project Manager is simply the agent
through whom this is accomplished. So why do some companies glorify the project
management position?
7.2
Role of the Project Manager:
A Project Manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning
and execution of a project. This title is used in the construction industry, architecture,
information technology and many different occupations that are based on production of a
product or service.
The Project Manager must possess a combination of skills including an ability to ask
penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve interpersonal conflicts as well as
more systematic management skills.
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Key amongst his/her duties is the recognition that risk directly impacts the likelihood of success
and that this risk must be both formally and informally measured throughout the lifetime of the
project.
Risk arises primarily from uncertainty and the successful Project Manager is the one who
focuses upon this as the main concern. Most of the issues that impact a project arise in one way
or another from risk. A good Project Manager can reduce risk significantly, often by adhering to
a policy of open communication, ensuring that every significant participant has an opportunity
to express opinions and concerns.
It follows from the above that a Project Manager is one who is responsible for making decisions
both large and small, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimized. Every
decision taken by the Project Manager should be taken in such a way that it directly benefits the
project.
Project Managers use project management software, such as Microsoft Project, to organize their
tasks and workforce. These software packages allow Project Managers to produce reports and
charts in a few minutes, compared to the several hours it can take if they do not use a software
package.
7.3
Roles and Responsibilities of Project Manager:
The role of the Project Manager encompasses many activities including:
Planning and defining scope
Activity planning and sequencing
Resource planning
Developing schedules
Time estimating
Cost estimating
Developing a budget
Controlling quality
Managing risks and issues
Creating charts and schedules
Risk analysis
Benefits realization
Scalability, interoperability and portability analysis
Documentation
Team leadership
Strategic influencing
Customer liaison
To illustrate the role of the Project Manager, consider the time, cost, and performance
constraints shown in the Figure 7.1 below. Many functional managers, if left alone, would
recognize only the performance constraint: "Just give me another $50,000 and two more
months, and I will give you the ideal technology."
The Project Manager, as part of these communicating, coordinating, and integrating
responsibilities, reminds the line managers that there are also time and cost constraints on the
project. This is the starting point for better resource control.
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Figure 7.1: Overview of Project Management
Success in project management is like a three-legged stool. The first leg is the Project Manager,
the second leg is the line manager, and the third leg is senior management. If any of the three
legs fail, then even delicate balancing may not prevent the stool from toppling down.
The critical node in project management is the Project Manager­Line Manager interface. At this
interface, the project and line managers must view each other as equals and be willing to share
authority, responsibility, and accountability. In excellently managed companies, Project
Managers do not negotiate for resources but simply ask for the line manager's commitment to
executing his portion of the work within time, cost, and performance. Therefore, in excellent
companies, it should not matter who the line manager assigns as long as the line manager lives
up to his commitments.
Since the project and line managers are "equals," senior management involvement is necessary
to provide advice and guidance to the Project Manager, as well as to provide encouragement to
the line managers to keep their promises. When executives act in this capacity, they assume the
role of project sponsors, as shown in Figure 7.2 below, which also shows that sponsorship need
not always be at the executive levels. The exact person appointed as the project sponsor is based
on the dollar value of the project, the priority of the project, and who the customer is.
Figure 7.2: The project sponsor interface
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The ultimate objective of the project sponsor is to provide behind-the-scenes assistance to
project personnel for projects both "internal" to the company, as well as "external," as shown in
Figure 7.2 above.
Projects can still be successful without this commitment and support, as long as all work flows
smoothly. But in time of crisis, having a ''big brother" available as a possible sounding board
will surely help.
When an executive is required to act as a project sponsor, then the executive has the
responsibility to make effective and timely project decisions. To accomplish this, the executive
needs timely, accurate, and complete data for such decisions. The Project Manager must be
made to realize that keeping management informed serves this purpose, and that the all-too-
common practice of "stonewalling" will prevent an executive from making effective decisions
related to the project.
The line manager has to cope with:
Unlimited work requests (especially during competitive bidding)
Predetermined deadlines
All requests having a high priority
Limited number of resources
Limited availability of resources
Unscheduled changes in the project plan
Unpredicted lack of progress
Unplanned absence of resources
Unplanned breakdown of resources
Unplanned loss of resources
Unplanned turnover of personnel
Figure 7.3: Negotiating activities of System Management
The difficulty in staffing, especially for Project Managers or Assistant Project Managers, is in
determining what questions to ask during an interview to see if an individual has the necessary
or desired characteristics. There are numerous situations in which individuals are qualified to be
promoted vertically but not horizontally. An individual with poor communication skills and
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interpersonal skills can be promoted to a line management slot because of his technical
expertise, but this same individual is not qualified for project management promotion.
Figure 7.4: Managing the Project
Most executives have found that the best way to interview is by reading each element of the job
description to the potential candidate. Many individuals want a career path in project
management but are totally unaware of what the Project Manager's duties are.
So far we have discussed the personal characteristics of the Project Manager. There are also job
related questions to consider, such as:
Are feasibility and economic analyses necessary?
Is complex technical expertise required? If so, is it within the individual's capabilities?
If the individual is lacking expertise, will there be sufficient backup strength in the line
organizations?
Is this the company's or the individual's first exposure to this type of project and/or client? If
so, what are the risks to be considered?
What is the priority for this project, and what are the risks?
With whom must the Project Manager interface, both inside and outside the organization?
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Figure 7.5: Project management responsibilities
Most good Project Managers generally know how to perform feasibility studies and cost-benefit
analyses. Sometimes this capability can create organizational conflict. A major utility company
begins each computer project with a feasibility study in which a cost-benefit analysis is
performed.
The Project Managers, all of whom report to a project management division, perform the study
themselves without any direct functional support. The functional managers argue that the results
are grossly inaccurate because the functional experts are not involved. The Project Manager, on
the other hand, argues that they never have sufficient time or money to perform a complete
analysis.
There are also good reasons for recruiting from outside the company. A new Project Manager
hired from the outside would be less likely to have strong informal ties to any one line
organization and thus, could show impartiality on the project. Some companies further require
that the individual spend an apprenticeship period of twelve to eighteen months in a line
organization to find out how the company functions, to become acquainted with some of the
people, and to understand the company's policies and procedures.
One of the most important but often least understood characteristics of good Project Managers is their
ability to understand and know both themselves and their employees in terms of strengths and
weaknesses.
7.4
Project Champions:
Corporations encourage employees to think up new ideas that, if approved by the corporation,
will generate monetary and non-monetary rewards for the idea generator. One such reward is to
identify the individual as a "Project Champion". Unfortunately, all too often the Project
Champion becomes the Project Manager, and, although the idea was technically sounds, the
project fails.
Table 7.1: Project Managers versus Project Champions
7.5
Power and Authority of Project Manager:
One form of the Project Manager's authority can be defined as the legal or rightful power to
command, act, or direct the activities of others. The breakdown of the Project Manager's
authority is shown in Figure 7.6 below. Authority can be delegated from one's superiors. Power,
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on the other hand, is granted to an individual by his subordinates and is a measure of their
respect for him. A manager's authority is a combination of his power and influence such that
subordinates, peers, and associates willingly accept his judgment.
In the traditional structure, the power spectrum is realized through the hierarchy, whereas in the
project structure, power comes from credibility, expertise, or being a sound decision-maker.
Authority is the key to the project management process. The Project Manager must manage
across functional and organizational lines by bringing together activities required to accomplish
the objectives of a specific project. Project authority provides the way of thinking required to
unify all organizational activities toward accomplishment of the project regardless of where
they are located.
The Project Manager who fails to build and maintain his alliances will soon find opposition or
indifference to his project requirements.
The amount of authority granted to the Project Manager varies according to project size,
management philosophy, and management interpretation of potential conflicts with functional
managers. There do exist, however, certain fundamental elements over which the Project
Manager must have authority in order to maintain effective control.
Figure 7.6: Project Authority Breakdown
Generally speaking, a project manager should have more authority than his responsibility calls
for, the exact amount of authority usually depending on the amount of risk that the Project
Manager must take. The greater the risk, the greater the amount of authority is. A good Project
Manager knows where his authority ends and does not hold an employee responsible for duties
that he (the Project Manager) does not have the authority to enforce. Some projects are directed
by Project Managers who have only monitoring authority. These Project Managers are referred
to as influence Project Managers.
Failure to establish authority relationships can result in:
Poor communication channels
Misleading information
Antagonism, especially from the informal organization
Poor working relationships with superiors, subordinates, peers, and associates
Surprises for the customer
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The following are the most common sources of power and authority problems in a project
environment:
 Poorly documented or no formal authority
 Power and authority perceived incorrectly
 Dual accountability of personnel
 Two bosses (who often disagree)
 The project organization encouraging individualism
 Subordinate relations stronger than peer or superior relationships
 Shifting of personnel loyalties from vertical to horizontal lines
 Group decision making based on the strongest group
 Ability to influence or administer rewards and punishment
 Sharing resources among several projects
The project management organizational structure is an arena of continuous conflict and
negotiation. Although there are many clearly defined authority boundaries between functional
and project management responsibilities, the fact that each project can be inherently different
from all others almost always creates new areas where authority negotiations are necessary.
Certain ground rules exist for authority control through negotiations.
Negotiations
should
take place at the lowest level of interaction.
Definition of the problem must be the first priority. This should include:
 The issue
 The impact
 The alternative
 The recommendations
Higher-level authority should be used if, and only if, agreement cannot be reached.
7.6
Functional and Project Organizations:
Functional organization is structure in which authority rests with the functional heads; the
structure is sectioned by departmental groups.
7.6.1
Advantages of Functional Structure:
Simple and clear; coordination left to top management
Reduces overhead
Provides clearly marked career paths for hiring and promotion
Employees work alongside colleagues who share similar interests
7.6.2
Disadvantages of Functional Structure:
Coordination of functional tasks is difficult; little reward for cooperation with other
groups since authority resides with functional supervisor.
Provides scope for different department heads to pass-off company project failures
as being due to the failures of other departments.
7.6.3
Matrix Organizations:
Most organizations fall somewhere between the fully functional and fully projectized
organizational structure. These are matrix organizations. Three points along the
organizational continuum have been defined.
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1.
Weak/Functional Matrix:
A Project Manager (often called a project administrator under this type of
organization) with only limited authority is assigned to oversee the cross-
functional aspects of the project. The functional managers maintain control over
their resources and project areas. The project administrator's role is to enhance
communication between functional managers and track overall project progress.
2.
Balanced/Functional Matrix:
A Project Manager is assigned to oversee the project. Power is shared equally
between the Project Manager and the functional managers. Proponents of this
structure believe it strikes the correct balance, bringing forth the best aspects of
functional and projectized organizations. However, this is the most difficult
system to maintain as the sharing of power is a very delicate proposition. This
is also the most complex organizational structure to maintain.
3.
Strong/Project Matrix:
A Project Manager is primarily responsible for the project. Functional
managers provide technical expertise and assign resources on an as-needed
basis. Because project resources are assigned as necessary, there can be
conflicts between the Project Manager and the functional manager over
resource assignment. The functional manager has to staff multiple projects with
the same experts.
4.
Soft boundaries Matrix:
A fourth organization type is the "soft boundaries matrix". In this the functional
team members provide technical expertise and assign resources on an as-needed
basis. Because project resources are assigned as necessary there is no need for
Project Managers or a functional manager over resource assignment.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Broad Contents, Functions of Management
  2. CONCEPTS, DEFINITIONS AND NATURE OF PROJECTS:Why Projects are initiated?, Project Participants
  3. CONCEPTS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT:THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, Managerial Skills
  4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES:Systems, Programs, and Projects
  5. PROJECT LIFE CYCLES:Conceptual Phase, Implementation Phase, Engineering Project
  6. THE PROJECT MANAGER:Team Building Skills, Conflict Resolution Skills, Organizing
  7. THE PROJECT MANAGER (CONTD.):Project Champions, Project Authority Breakdown
  8. PROJECT CONCEPTION AND PROJECT FEASIBILITY:Feasibility Analysis
  9. PROJECT FEASIBILITY (CONTD.):Scope of Feasibility Analysis, Project Impacts
  10. PROJECT FEASIBILITY (CONTD.):Operations and Production, Sales and Marketing
  11. PROJECT SELECTION:Modeling, The Operating Necessity, The Competitive Necessity
  12. PROJECT SELECTION (CONTD.):Payback Period, Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  13. PROJECT PROPOSAL:Preparation for Future Proposal, Proposal Effort
  14. PROJECT PROPOSAL (CONTD.):Background on the Opportunity, Costs, Resources Required
  15. PROJECT PLANNING:Planning of Execution, Operations, Installation and Use
  16. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Outside Clients, Quality Control Planning
  17. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Elements of a Project Plan, Potential Problems
  18. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Sorting Out Project, Project Mission, Categories of Planning
  19. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Identifying Strategic Project Variables, Competitive Resources
  20. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Responsibilities of Key Players, Line manager will define
  21. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):The Statement of Work (Sow)
  22. WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE:Characteristics of Work Package
  23. WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE:Why Do Plans Fail?
  24. SCHEDULES AND CHARTS:Master Production Scheduling, Program Plan
  25. TOTAL PROJECT PLANNING:Management Control, Project Fast-Tracking
  26. PROJECT SCOPE MANAGEMENT:Why is Scope Important?, Scope Management Plan
  27. PROJECT SCOPE MANAGEMENT:Project Scope Definition, Scope Change Control
  28. NETWORK SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES:Historical Evolution of Networks, Dummy Activities
  29. NETWORK SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES:Slack Time Calculation, Network Re-planning
  30. NETWORK SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES:Total PERT/CPM Planning, PERT/CPM Problem Areas
  31. PRICING AND ESTIMATION:GLOBAL PRICING STRATEGIES, TYPES OF ESTIMATES
  32. PRICING AND ESTIMATION (CONTD.):LABOR DISTRIBUTIONS, OVERHEAD RATES
  33. PRICING AND ESTIMATION (CONTD.):MATERIALS/SUPPORT COSTS, PRICING OUT THE WORK
  34. QUALITY IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Value-Based Perspective, Customer-Driven Quality
  35. QUALITY IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT (CONTD.):Total Quality Management
  36. PRINCIPLES OF TOTAL QUALITY:EMPOWERMENT, COST OF QUALITY
  37. CUSTOMER FOCUSED PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Threshold Attributes
  38. QUALITY IMPROVEMENT TOOLS:Data Tables, Identify the problem, Random method
  39. PROJECT EFFECTIVENESS THROUGH ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY:Messages of Productivity, Productivity Improvement
  40. COST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL IN PROJECTS:Project benefits, Understanding Control
  41. COST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL IN PROJECTS:Variance, Depreciation
  42. PROJECT MANAGEMENT THROUGH LEADERSHIP:The Tasks of Leadership, The Job of a Leader
  43. COMMUNICATION IN THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Cost of Correspondence, CHANNEL
  44. PROJECT RISK MANAGEMENT:Components of Risk, Categories of Risk, Risk Planning
  45. PROJECT PROCUREMENT, CONTRACT MANAGEMENT, AND ETHICS IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Procurement Cycles