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.
Note: This is a draft of the second version of P3.express. Comments are welcome!
At this time, the sponsor discusses the project with potential project managers, and agrees with one of them. 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 comes from the business/management side of the company 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 coordination system. In this way, the technical experts will not be distracted by management responsibilities and can be focused on the technical aspects of the project.
Consider the following to avoid some of the most common problems in this area:
- 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 in this role. Becoming a project manager is not a promotion for an engineer, but a change in career.
- Project managers shouldn’t consider themselves as team members' boss, but as their supporter, coordinator, and problem solver.
- Project managers shouldn’t get themselves involved in the technical aspects of the project because it’s distracting, and there are technical experts for that purpose.
- Project managers and sponsors should not be micro-managers.
The following principles have a significant role in this management activity: