A02 - Appoint the project manager
This management activity belongs to the Project Initiation group. This group of activities are run at the beginning to prepare us for the project.
At this time, the sponsor discusses the project with potential project managers, and comes to an agreement. It’s important to have a project manager who believes in the objectives and targets of the project.
In the case of internal projects (those without external customers), the project manager should come from the business/management side of the organization rather than the technical side. Managers from the technical side are team leaders in P3.express.
Besides realizing the project goals and meeting the targets, the project manager is also responsible for the health and safety of the project team, and for creating a pleasant working environment in which team members can advance in their careers.
While it’s possible for small teams to have a distributed project management system, it’s more practical and productive for most projects to have centralized coordination, and the project manager is the head of this centralized coordination system. In this way, the technical experts will not be distracted by management responsibilities and can stay focused on the technical aspects of the project.
Consider the following to avoid some of the commonest problems in this area:
- Project managers shouldn’t consider themselves as team members' boss, but as their supporter, facilitator, coordinator, and problem solver.
- Project managers and sponsors should not be micro-managers.
- It’s common to appoint the most senior technical expert as the project manager, which is not a good idea. Project management is a management position, and not a technical one; therefore, you need a person with managerial capability and knowledge to fill this role. Becoming a project manager is not a promotion for a technical expert, but rather a change in career.
- Project managers shouldn’t become involved in the technical aspects of the project because it’s distracting for them, and there are already technical experts to manage the technical aspects.
The following principles play a significant role in this management activity: