Page 1

IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Table of Content

Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 6 1.0 Knowledge, Skills and Qualities ................................................................................ 8 2.0 Roles and Responsibilities .......................................................................................... 9 3.0 Project Management as a Career ............................................................................ 11 4.0 Challenges Faced by the Project Manager ............................................................. 12 5.0 Overcoming of Challenges ....................................................................................... 14 6.0 Rewards for Project Managers ............................................................................... 16 7.0 Advise for Novice ...................................................................................................... 17 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 18 Reference .......................................................................................................................... 19

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 5


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Introduction Assignment Objectives 

Conduct an Interview with a Project Manager.

 Collect Information and perspectives from the Project Manager regarding the project management job role under given areas.  Collect relevant Literature from journals and articles.  Present a Summary under given topics with the support of literature. Context of the Assignment “…In many organizations the concept of formal project management is an essential component of the organizational structure and its use is built into the organization’s work flow process…”

(Kloppenborg et al., 2007)

Therefore, the Project Manager’s role has become a very crucial and competitive in today’s context. This report addresses number of key areas related to project management and project managers’ job roles. Knowledge, Skills and Qualities, Work Does as a Project Manager, Project Management Career, Challenges Faced, Overcoming of Challenges, Rewards, Advice to a Novice are the main focuses of this documentation.

Methodology The information has been collected mainly through an interview with a project manager which conducted by the authors. Web Sites, Published Journals and Other documents are used as secondary materials in order to support / justify the arguments presented more strongly.  Venue: At Interviewee’s home  Start Time: 9.20pm  Duration: 40 Minutes  Interviewee: MsTamara Jayaratnam [Refer - Profile]

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 6


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Profile of the Project Manager

Name Age Gender

Qualifications

Tamara Sureshmi Martina Jayaratnam 30-35

Female

Academic

MBA, University of Houston Texas BSc, Eastern Connecticut University Professional

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Total Experience PM Experience

Industries Worked in Total No of Projects

12 Years 10 Years

IT Industry(6 Years) , Apparel Industry (6 yrs) 08 Projects Employer

01

Duration Position

Work Experience

Employer

02

Duration Position Employer

03

Duration Position Employer

04

Duration Position Employer

05

Duration Position

PPMG 160

Millennium Information Technologies, Sri Lanka 2009 – Present

Project Manager

MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka. June 2003 - 2009 Project Manager

Millennium Information Technologies, Sri Lanka February 2003 – June 2003 Project manager

emPriseIT (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka and Australia May 2001 – January 2003

Project Manager / Business Consultant

eRunway (Pvt) Ltd, Sri-Lanka February 1998 – April 2001

Team Lead/ Project Manager /Deputy Unit Manager

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 7


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

1

Knowledge, Skills and Qualities It is important to have certain amount of knowledge, skills and qualities to become a project manager despite of the industry he/she involved in. At the same time, all three elements need to have in same capacity. Having lot of industry specific knowledge without having required skill and qualities would not help to carry out the project management work. 1.1

Knowledge

Knowledge is usually gathered through formal education and experience. Relating to the selected project manager, she has completed her first degree in computer science and later completed her master’s degree in business administration field. She also has lot of experience in Project management since her graduation. Currently, she is having six yrs working experience both in Apparel industry and IT industry. According to Ms. Tamara Jayaratnam, Working experience matters a lot in project management and it also sharpen the knowledge gathered during academic studies. 1.2

Skills

There are some common skills that a project manager needs to have; beside from the domain he/she is working (Leong & Kelley, 2003). However, there are another essential set of skills which are related to each industry as well. (Strang, 2007) Common skills that required for a Project Manager are Leadership, Team Building, Problem Solving, Analytical, Communication, Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, Planning and Organizing, People Management, Time Management and Scheduling. 1.3

Qualities

Qualities are very much important to be an effective leader as well as Project Manager. According to Ms. Tamara Jayaratnam, the success of the entire project mainly relies on the Project Manager. Project Manager should have the capability to get the work done from the team. Every person observes other peoples’ qualities and make conclusion of their personality. The entire interaction between each individual and the Project Manager depend on that perception. (Leong & Kelley, 2003) That is why it is important to have good qualities to become a Project Manager. Otherwise entire project can be lead to a PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 8


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

disaster. The essential qualities are (Barry, 2009) Be Ethical, Inspire a Vision, Patient, Caring, Trustworthy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, Competence, Cool under Pressure, Self Motivate. (Song & Gale, 2007) 2

Roles and Responsibilities Most of the project managers involve in same kind of roles and responsibilities despite of their field or industry. In general, roles and responsibilities are varying from small and medium to large projects. However, most of the common responsibilities related to the project management job role are also carried out by the selected project manager, Ms Tamara Jayaratnam as well. However, each industry has its own way of playing the role. (Strang, 2007) ď ś Monitoring Performance: Evaluate the progress of the project in order to make sure that the deliverables can be met on time within the budget and the required quality (Laszlo, 1999). Evaluate the performance of the team members in order to give rewards, assign work as well as to recommend for training and promotion. ď ś Meet Project Deliverables: Negotiate and signoff with the customer regarding the deliverables and complete the legal process of undertaking the project. Make sure all the dead line are achieved on time and do necessary action if project is falling behind. (Smith, 1999)

Scope

Time

Organization

Quality

Cost Figure 1: Main Focuses on Project Management [Source: (Leong & Kelley, 2003)]

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 9


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

 Tasks on Project Life Cycle: Take care of all the phases, start to end. In Software development projects, this includes responsibilities across Initiation/Feasibility, Requirement Analysis and Design, Implementation, Testing and Maintenance.  Guiding and Motivating: Team members are the most valuable factor in a project. Keep up the momentum by motivating them. Assigning them the work by identifying their capabilities and guide them till they finish the work. (Muller & Turner, 2008)  Risk Management: Evaluate, identify, analyse, prioritize and risk response planning.  Communication Management: Verbal and written communication with all relevant parties. (Spinks & Wells, 1995)  Stakeholder Management: Managing, coordinating, negotiation with clients, team members, different department in the organization, top management and other stakeholders related to different aspects such as financial, duration, resources, technical etc. (Malach-Pines et al., 2009)

Figure 2: Responsibilities across the Project Life Cycle [Source: (msacademy, 2009)]

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 10


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

3

Project Management as a Career Project Management is an exciting and dynamic career which enables one to gain knowledge and experience in diverse areas. It is different to an operational job because it involves working in different business contexts with different teams to achieve different business objectives. Thus, it is not a monotonous job. Though, this job encompasses the constraints such as time and resource and also the several challenges in different dimensions. Ms. Jayaratnam explained that many professionals who are in diverse fields such as civil engineering, computer engineering, information technology, management enter in to the project management field and excel their career as Project Managers regardless of the previous background they posses. This is mainly due to the fact that the field of Project Management highly requires soft skills more than the technical skills. She further shared her observations and wealth of experience explaining that, project management is a career where there are only a few effective project managers around the world .This is mainly due to inability to handle multiple skills. Further, the disciplines of Project Management are universally accepted and can be applied in any sphere. The demands for Project Managers are immensely growing in contemporarily business world due to the company’s focus on accomplishing the work through projects by utilizing resources and time effectively and efficiently. Therefore, this accentuates that future for Project Management professionals have to focus more on these attributes.

Figure 3: Demand for Project Managers [Source: (IT jobs Watch, 2010)]

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 11


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

4

Challenges Faced By the Project Manager The life of a Project Manager (PM) is to deal with different kinds of challenges on day to day basis. (Paton et al., 2010) Project Managers comes across many challenges while pursuing to accomplish a specific task with the limited time line by utilizing the available resources. Following were pointed out by Ms. Jayaratnam as key challenges that she has been facing during her tenure as a Project Manager. 4.1

Meeting the Project Deliverables

Key project deliverables that Project Manager has to meet are project dead line, schedule, cost and quality. The one of the biggest challenges for Ms. Jayaratnam is the inability to meet the deliverable due to Scope change and Poor cost estimations and discrepancies in the risk analysis. Requirements of the project keep changing due to various reasons such as external and internal factors during the project development and execution stages 4.2

Manage Customer Expectations “…How to understand customer requirements correctly and in detail, translate them in to your language and deliver what exactly customer requires. These are of paramount important. But at the moment it has become a huge challenge because we also end up with IT solutions that are rejected by the customer…”

Ms. Jayaratnam further pointed out. She further pointed out that the communication defects/gaps have largely contributed in delivering the wrong projects to the customer. 4.3

People / Team Management

Ms. Jayaratnam further explained out that managing team with different skill levels is also a huge challenge in project management, which is also mentioned in (Thamhain, 2004) “…Best example for that is IT industry because the developers are from different background of professionals to manage .Each individual has a different personality so that when you want to work together one team ,you should manage all of them individually while get them to work together. Some are moody, slow, fast, easy to communicate and etc…”

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 12


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

4.4

People Motivation

Motivation factors are different form individual to individual. Motivating team members are paramount important in creating team spirit and retaining employees. Ms. Jayaratnam’s perspective is that, this is a challenging task that Project Managers’ are facing due to the difficulty of understanding the exact expectations of each individual and obtaining approval from the senior manager and the finance manager. 4.5

Insufficient Team Skills and Technical Issues

According to Ms. Jayaratnam, this is a critical issue in a project environment. Basically, human resources are very difficult to obtain at a middle stage of a project. It is hard to predict the insufficiencies at the start of project. This is same as technical issues. Both types of issues can dramatically affect to the project deliverables in term of time cost and quality.(Malach-Pines et al., 2009) 4.6

Conflicting Goals

Project Managers’ faces a huge problem of making tradeoffs between achieving customer requirements and management requirements. Always there is disparity between these two according to them. “…Customer wants the project completed quickly with lower price. Management puts tremendous pressure on cost reduction…” 4.7

Gender Related Issues

Like in the other careers, ‘Glass ceiling’ is a common phenomenon can be seen under the Project Management profession. Glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that separate women and minorities from top management positions. (Draft, 2009) Women can glace through the ceiling to see the top management, but prevailing attitudes and stereotypes can be obstacles to the advancement. Tamara is also in the agreement with the view point. “…Even though women work hard equally or sometimes better than men, there are some instances that feminine will be an obstacle to the career progress. This I have experienced so many times in my career when it comes to promotion, salary increment and etc. On the other hand management also likes to recruit male Project Managers due to their flexibility of working under any time , location and task…” PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 13


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

5

Overcoming of Challenges No project is perfect. There can be so many unexpected circumstances, causing projects to lag behind the schedule, timing and budgetary constraints. Though so much of personal and professional attention is paid for the project by carefully and methodically analyzing all possible dimensions for failures and measures to overcome them with a meticulous plan, failures and delays can happen. Each of the challenge mentioned in the above section can be overcome as depicted below. 5.1

Overcoming Project Deliverables

Ms. Jayaratnam explained that several proactive measures should be taken in order to accomplish project deliverables. They are; •

Pre agree on realistic targets taking the delay factors in to consideration.

Pre-alert clients about the possible delays and have backup plans to minimize the effects

Consistent resource allocation and exploring the possibility of obtaining additional resources at critical situations.

• 5.2

Planning project well in term of methodologically and technically. Manage Customer Expectations

The following solutions will help to manage customer expectations accurately. •

Project team requires spending more time on the planning stage to analyze the customer requirements properly.

Project Manager is also required to carefully asses the requirements and provides the most viable solution to the customers with the capabilities of the company.

Project Management team should also exercise the Project selection techniques such as scoring method… to filter out the viable projects.

Communication defects can be reduced by selecting a right communication channel, obtaining feedbacks, simplifying the technical term, developing a communication checklist etc…

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 14


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

5.3

People / Team Management “…We encourage an open culture where the team members are given the opportunities to share their views and ideas in a team based environment. Empowerment can play a big role here. We normally organize a team gathering before the project commencement so that team members can get to know each other in an informal way…”

This is also a common practice in most of the project management environments all over the world. (Nauman et al., 2010) 5.4

People Motivation

Project Manager can motivate team members through non financial rewards such recognition, appreciation, gifts, acknowledgement letters etc. at the same time managers can closely monitor each member’s behaviour individually to understand the mode of motivation. 5.5

Insufficient Team Skills and Technical Issues

To overcome the problem, the first solution would be to assess the current skill levels of the team members individually and set the expected skill level. The skill gap can be filled with the Training, cross-training, additional resources and external advisors. Technical issues can be handles by having backup plans to do certain critical activities using other techniques, equipment, and technical resources etc. (Malach-Pines et al., 2009) 5.6

Conflicting Goals

To avoid the conflicting situation all the parties should be aligned to one goal. Negotiation and communication skills of the project manager matters a lot in order to solve the conflicts. Most of the time solution would satisfy all the stakeholders up to a certain level and compromise the rest. 5.7

Gender Related Issues “…My recommendations to female PM and ladies who are hoping to become PM are to develop a strong personality to deal the problems professionally, acquire the technical and project knowledge very quickly, avoid being selective for the work and maintain a professional but friendly relationships with everyone in the organization…”

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 15


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

6

Rewards for Project Managers Reward indicates people that their behaviours are appreciated and motivate them to continue such behaviours further. Rewards for a Project Manager as in all other careers come in two forms namely financial rewards and non-financial rewards. Ms. Jayaratnam was interviewed to examine both aspects. (Project Management Institute, 2008) 6.1

Financial Rewards

Project Managers are generally paid higher than functional managers, due to the complexity of managing activities in a project such as risk management, decision making, resource management and people management. Further, depending on the success of a project, better bonus allocations, higher increments are made. Ms. Jayaratnam stated that she is satisfied with how the company fulfil his financial requirements. She further pointed out that the completion of a project before the deadline which results in significant cost saving are always rewarded with higher increments, bonus etc. 6.2

Non Financial Rewards

Sense of achievement, recognition, diverse experience, training and development, and marketability are some of the salient non-financial rewards that Project Managers stand to gain. Ms. Jayaratnam explained the values non-financial rewards and she believes through her experience, offering non financial rewards are more effective to motivate people. “…There is a person in my group who always delayed the project deadline and had a habit of taking many leaves. It took me to understand few months that his dissatisfaction due to not receiving the overseas exposure has caused for his behaviours. So finally after giving that experience has solved the entire problem. So it triggered me to come to a conclusion that understanding the type of the reward that people desire is vital important factor in order to motivate the team and which in turn to accomplish project objectives…”

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 16


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

7

Advise for Novice Ms. Jayaratnam stated that a person who is aspired to be a successful project manager, should be excelled in all key skills mentioned in the section 1 and out of them Leadership, People Management and Team Building skills are Critical Success Factors (CSF) skills that determine her/his career prospect. However, she believes that project managers develop these skills and knowledge with time and through experience. Apart from the skills, it is extremely important to be knowledgeable in the specific industry domain and industry specific technical knowledge. She also emphasized the importance of obtaining formal education in project management through a degree or professional qualifications. When discussing about the possible paths to Project Management in IT, She stated “…It’s better to first get into the field of a software application consultancy or similar, since then you gain exposure to both, business requirements and the software capabilities. Most of successful Project Managers I have come across are not from a technical background, but from the field of consultancy and few from others…” Ms. Jayaratnam stated that Project Managers are not necessarily specialists in all spheres involved in projects. The skills of a Project Manager lie mostly in his/her ability to get the work done through a set of specialist team members and she emphasized the importance of having ‘Common Sense’. Finally, you should be able to bear the blame and share the credit with the members as a real leader. (Smith, 1999) “…The person who is pursuing to be a project manager should keep in mind that project management is a career that involves common sense and he is a person who is capable of using common sense at the right time for the right purpose…”

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 17


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Conclusion

Both academic and work experiences are important to a Project Manager. The experience gains through working always sharpen the knowledge gathered during the academic studies. At the same time, working on totally different industries also really helps to get a unique experience that take your knowledge and skills in to a next level. According to Ms. Tamara Jayaratnam, overseas assignments as a project manager have made a different in her life. Quickly adopting to a foreign culture and perform in a usual manner is a very challenging experience that everyone would face. Project management is all about people management and solving the problem using common sense. If anyone is not ready to work with people and if like to work on a desk all the time, project management is not a job for them. Understand people are the most important and the most difficult task because each person has a unique set of knowledge, skills, qualities and expectations. As project managers, people should be able to get the things done while maintaining a very good relationship with the team members. A person has to understand the nature of the project management before he/she get in to the career in project management. Every day there may be number of unique problems waiting for Project Manager to be solved. It will never end. At the same time, lot of pressure will be there throughout the project from various parties such as clients, top management and the departments in the organization where interact with. However, project managers should be able to bear all the pressure and lead the team towards the goals. Even though Project Managers would receive very high remuneration package, satisfaction would be the most important factor that may help to explore the project management career. Finally, Project Manager should be able to bear the blame and share the credit with the members as a real leader in order to success in project management in long term.

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 18


IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Reference Barry, T.R., 2009. Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager. Review. Project Smart. IT jobs Watch, 2010. IT jobs Watch. [Online] Available at: http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/jobs/uk/project%20manager.do [Accessed 12 May 2010]. Kloppenborg, T.J., Tesch, D. & Stubblebine, P.C., 2007. Title: Project manager vs. executive perceptions of sponsor behaviors. Management Research News, 30(11), pp.803 - 815. Laszlo, G.P., 1999. Project management: a quality management approach. The TQM Magazine, 11(3), p.157–160. Leong, K. & Kelley, L.L., 2003. Turner’s five-functions of project-based management and situational leadership in IT services projects. International Journal of Project Management, 21, p.583–591. Malach-Pines, A., Dvir, D. & Sadeh, A., 2009. Project manager-project (PMP). International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 29(3), pp.268-91. msacademy, 2009. msacademy. [Online] Available at: http://msacademy.in/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2010/04/Project-management-software.jpg [Accessed 12 May 2010]. Muller, R. & Turner, R., 2008. Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type. International Journal of Project Management, 25, p.21–32. Nauman, S., Khan, A.M. & Ehsan, N., 2010. Patterns of empowerment and leadership style in project environment. International Journal of Project Management. Paton, S., Hodgson, D. & Cicmil, S., 2010. Who am I and what am I doing. Journal of Management Development, 29(2), pp.157-66. Project Management Institute, 2008. Recognition and Rewards. In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. 4th ed. PA: Project Management Institute. p.234. Smith, G.R., 1999. Project leadership: Why project management alone doesn't work. Hospital Materiel Management Quarterly, 21(1), pp.88-93. Song, S.-R. & Gale, A., 2007. The work values of Chinese project managers. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 14(3), pp.217-28. Spinks, N. & Wells, B., 1995. Quality communication:a key to quality leadership. Training for Quality, 3(2), p.14–19. Strang, K.D., 2007. Examining effective technology project leadership traits and behaviors. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, p.424–462. Thamhain, H.J., 2004. Linkages of project environment to performance: lessons for team leadership. International Journal of Project Management, 22, p.533–544.

PPMG 160

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Page | 19

Project Management  

Project Documentation

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you