The job of project manager

Project managers are catalysers. They see projects through to successful completion and coordinate all the players concerned by a project, for both its implementation and its deliverable. They manage project impacts while the work is under way and after completion.

THE NOTION OF “PROJECT”

A project is a temporary company that creates a unique product or service. In a company, projects are the opposite of operations, which are recurrent.

A project can be defined by

  • its unique character: a project delivers something new, with the result specific to each context;
  • how it is defined in time: a project always has a beginning and an end.

Civil engineering, for example, has always worked in project mode; each building constructed is an experiment, with the job depending on its environment.

A project requires many types of resources: financial, human, material and software. Large-scale projects are directed by a project team associated with work teams.

ROLE OF PROJECT MANAGERS

Project managers are catalysers. They see projects through to successful completion and coordinate all the players concerned by a project, for both its implementation and its deliverables. They manage project impacts while the work is under way and after completion.

“I would compare project managers to conductors,” explains Hélène Bénéteau de Laprairie, project manager at Keyrus Canada and Vice-President of PMI-Montreal. “They guide the various players in order to deliver the symphony on time. Conductors don’t necessarily have to be good pianists; they are not required to specialize in a particular instrument, but must know the music and how to coordinate the whole thing.”

DUTIES

There are two main categories of activity in project management:

  • Communicating:
    • Informing all players
    • Maintain the link between all players
    • Seeking out information
  • Managing risk:
    • Planning and preventing change
    • Confronting contingencies (e.g. budget, players, needs)
    • Adapting in order to remain on course

PROJECT MANAGEMENT HIRING OUTLOOK

Project management is a growing market and will remain so in the coming years, because projects are becoming increasingly central for companies. Generally speaking, project demand follows market trends:

  • Economically dynamic countries and provinces are the most buoyant. Alberta is currently recruiting many project managers.
  • Legislative changes are also leading to an upsurge in projects, particularly in financial services and banking.
  • As supports for any major change, information technology projects regularly have significant needs.
  • Construction and civil engineering are also experiencing high demand.
  • On the public sector side, the looming retirement of large numbers of baby boomers will engender large reorganization projects for planning for tomorrow’s labour requirements.
  • Conversely, manufacturing sectors are tending to relocate their projects to Asia.

POSSIBLE TITLES

Project manager – Project leader – Project director – Project coordinator – Project administrator – Project head

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