Who is PM and what is it eaten with (for the little ones)
My name is Oleksandr, and I have been working as a project manager for a little over 4 years. At the dawn of my so far mini-career, I had a desire to talk about my profession and its nuances based on my experience. And now the desire has already been formed.
I will tell you a few situations from my experience, about successful decisions and about the bumps I hit on the road, and in general I will share my thoughts and considerations on the topic of management. Let’s talk about the base and subtle matter, as possible.
So sit down, dear reader, I will tell you about interesting and not so much) If you like it – write and praise it, but if you don’t like it – also write, I will learn from my mistakes.
I am a supporter of the views that everyone in the team should understand who is needed and why, what benefit everyone brings to the common cause.
The purpose of this article is to help developers, testers, analysts, everyone, and even managers understand why a PM is needed in a team.
So, let’s start as usual – from the base. Who is a project manager?
Who is a project manager?
First you need to clarify – below we are talking about IT Project Managers (hereinafter PM). There are a lot of managers in the world – there are construction project managers, procurement managers, etc. These are separate professions and they have their own specifics, which, unfortunately, I do not know, and therefore I will not talk about them.
There are many definitions of the role of an IT project manager, but the closest thing to me is someone who makes sure that the project is completed on time, under budget, and of the right quality. Both functional specialists from outsourcing and narrow-profile specialists from the product sector would clearly argue with me, saying that the definition is too imprecise, but it seems to me to be a generalization of what is needed in most average companies.
In general, this profession, like many others, I think, can be divided into 2 parts.
“Core”, that is. the main functions of PM, which are needed in most cases:
Control over compliance with terms and deadlines
Control over compliance with the budget
Project risk management
Increasing team productivity
Maintaining a healthy atmosphere in the team
Management of client expectations
Control over the maintenance of project documentation
Preparation of reports on the project
Holding a demo
In different companies, the functions of other areas may be added to these functions (product management, account management, game design, etc.), but it’s like everywhere else – a person who is a Swiss army knife is often needed, and not a narrow-profile manager who meticulously plans Gantt and makes perfect plans, but can’t/doesn’t know anything else.
The set of functions required of a PM directly depends on why the company and the team need it. And here we came to the question – why is this manager necessary at all?
And why is he needed, this manager?
It will sound trite, but the main task of a project manager is to build a work process so that the project is not just completed as a result, but completed with quality and on time. The PM remembers (or rather – somewhere in the records) a huge amount of information about what is happening on the project, starting from the work plan and the sequence of tasks, to the necessary materials that need to be found and given to the developer Kolya so that he can complete the feature.
Based on my experience, I can say that in outsourcing and startups, the manager is more of an assistant to his team – he helps developers not lose focus on the goals of the version/sprint/project, thinks over features and options for their implementation together with the team, helps in the search for documentation and materials, monitors compliance with deadlines, etc.
I have heard the opinion that a PM is not always needed on a project, and I partially agree with this opinion – if the project is not large, the team itself perfectly keeps the context, monitors its deadlines and progress, and in general all its members are motivated – then the manager can be superfluous here .
I believe that the need for a manager in a team should be determined both by the team itself and by the business based on whether the team copes independently with the tasks and goals.
A little attempt to classify the unclassifiable
We talked about who a project manager is and why he is needed, it remains to understand how managers and their approach to work differ.
Personally, I am a fan of the breakdown that I heard from someone a long time ago – managers can be roughly divided into 3 categories based on their management style:
Manager of startups and lamp teams. Friends and comrades of everyone and everyone in the team. They delve into every situation and project task in detail, often understanding (or trying to understand) the technical details of the project, not just the business part.
Medium business manager. These managers often delve less into the technical part of tasks, work with slightly higher-level tasks, devoting more time to planning and setting up processes. Often, this is where the full-fledged delegation of tasks from the manager to colleagues begins.
Corporate sharks. These are the gods of strategic and tactical planning, they operate tasks almost abstractly and are maximally focused on management in its reference form. From the one with whom I had the experience of communication – such managers are already much simpler and more strict with team jambs, especially without delving into the human causes of these jambs.
This whole classification is very exemplary and rough, and is more of a set of stereotypes, but it allows you to at least roughly understand what styles are found.
Which option to be closer to, each manager decides for himself, based on his comfort, goals, life position, etc., the main thing is to faithfully fulfill his duties and lead his projects and team to a bright future;)