Do You Know What a Project Manager Does?

PM-what-I-really-do

Greetings Leaders!

A lot of people ask me what does a Project Manager do? If you think most of those asking the question are unfamiliar with project management, you’d be wrong! I’ve had C-Suite execs, middle managers and those thinking about entering the profession ask me that question. While most of you PMI trained PMs think the answer is pretty straight-foward, the truth is a lot more complicated. Do you think you know the answer?

As a consultant I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of clients. As I walk into their office for the first time I always have one thing on my mind. Finding out what they think a PM does. Over the years I’ve come to find that there are some common themes:

  1. Taskmaster/Scheduler
  2. Bean Counter
  3. Supervisor/Manager
  4. Thought partner/Strategic Leader
  5. Driver
  6. Project Management Professional

If you don’t understand what they think a PM does, you are setting yourself up for failure. You should always be asking yourself the following question:

What Are They Expecting of Me?

Understanding what their expectations are will help you succeed in your journey as a PM. For example, if you’ve got 10 years of formal project management experience, and they’re expecting you to be Taskmaster, you may not want the job. Anyone can be a Taskmaster.

If you have a few years of informal project management experience, you might want to avoid working for someone who wants a Project Management Professional. You may be able to get things done, but you’ll fail in producing all the project artifacts like the Charter, Requirements or Risk Management Plans.

Understanding what they want from you, and more importantly, knowing you can meet those expectations is a recipe for success.

Give it some thought.

All the best,
All the time,
JT

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