A project manager or project leader: the most important cog in the machine

A project manager or project leader: the most important cog in the machine

| Business

Today we will introduce you to the profession of a project manager and tell you about the skills you will need to get started as well as the free courses that will help you develop them.

Including a bonus! With case studies from existing projects, you will be given options for different answers. You can practice them now right now!

Launching any project, whether a video game, a new social network or a new model of stereo speakers, requires someone who will lead you through the entire process, like an orchestra conductor. This person is called a project manager or project leader. Thanks to them, each employee clearly knows their responsibilities and area of ​​​​competence, meets deadlines, and does not miss the requirements for a technical creation. The project manager coordinates all the developments within the team and is also the link between the team and the customer (client.)

In addition, the project manager is also responsible for the success or failure of a project. Therefore, they should also be a team leader. The essential skill set for an excellent project manager should include flexible thinking, the ability to negotiate and come to a compromise, emotional intelligence, forecast skills and high adaptability.

In practice, they solve many tasks, including:

  • Monitoring the project's progress and complying with the deadlines.

  • Holding regular meetings with their team, including training, or seminars, where they can communicate vital information to their team members.

  • Selecting the most effective approach for organising work and distributing tasks based on them.

  • Maintaining feedback with the customer and monitoring the fulfilment of their requirements.

  • Monitoring and managing risks.

  • Keeping track of expenses and predicting income.

  • Improving workflow to increase team productivity.

  • Maintaining all the necessary documentation for the product and the customer.

  • Organising A/B testing at the appropriate stage and regulating feedback.

  • Evaluating the performance of employees and the results of their completed tasks.

It depends on the project manager's work, how the project is delivered, how the client wants to see it and whether they will be happy with it. Amongst other things, the project manager may also need to solve additional interpersonal tasks, for example, resolve conflicts within the team, find a compromise with the client (if there is a misunderstanding or non-compliance with requirements), supports the team with the technical side of any issues, etc. Therefore, a project manager is a cross-functional specialist with a vast array of knowledge from completely different areas, which they must be able to combine and constantly update.

A legendary project manager: how one of the world's leading skyscrapers was built

Paul Starrett was the project manager of the legendary Empire State Building, a 102-story skyscraper in the heart of New York City dating back to the 1930s. Back then, such a large-scale construction was not easy, so Paul Starrett, who became its project manager through his initiative, deservedly made US history.

The team for the construction of the project was recruited through a bidding process. Starrett volunteered first and told the project owner that he could build the Empire States building in 18 months, which was unthinkable at that time (especially since Starrett did not even have the right equipment then.) To save investors' resources, Starrett decided to sell the purchased equipment at the end of the construction project and give them credit for the difference, which in the end really turned out to be much cheaper than hiring out second-hand equipment.

As a result, Starrett's firm, with the name Starrett Brothers & Eken, won the bid for the Empire. The building was completed in just a year and was the fastest construction of a 1,454-foot skyscraper in American history. According to Starrett's notes, which he kept in his work notebook, the structure's success was achieved by bringing architects, workers, and clients together. Plus, he showed truly outstanding leadership qualities. Still, simultaneously, he kept a thorough record of all resources and tasks. Moreover, he was ever present at the construction site whilst managing the process independently.

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