Дата публикации: 07.05.2021
Master's degree, 2nd year of study
University of International Business, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Resume. A project manager is a person who is responsible for managing a project. In other words, project managers are project leaders. They guarantee that the project will be completed on time and delivered to the client without any drawbacks. The manager deals with all aspects of the project from the project initiation to its implementation. The purpose of the study was to determine the role of the manager in project management. During the writing of the article, a survey was conducted, and the main problems faced by the project manager were identified. Within the framework of writing the article, methods of systematization and comparison of information, questionnaires were used. As part of the study, a survey was conducted of 25 participants from the organization of projects "ААА"LLP. The respondents believe that the training of employees involved in project management is not carried out. The company's employees don’t have the systematic knowledge in the field of project stakeholder management. The company needs to improve overall project management through staff training, as well as strengthening the role of a leader in project teams. The novelty of the research lies in the formation of our own questionnaire to determine the effectiveness of project work in the company. The practical consequences of the study are expressed in the formation of an improved project process in the analyzed company. The scientific implications of the study are presented by the theoretical definition about the elements of project management.
Keywords: project, management, manager, leadership, team, communication.
A project is a task that needs to be completed and the achievement of a certain goal. In the project management lifecycle aspect, it consist of many people and groups who are involved in the design, development, and implementation of the goals.
The purpose of the study is to determine the role of the manager in project management.
The project manager provides the project vision to the members of his team. This is the person who responsible for the execution of the project. The project manager is responsible for the project results. The problem of the role of the manager in the project implementation is not sufficiently studied, so the research topic is very relevant and significant.
A project team is a group of people united together. Their goal is to achieve a specific business task or goal. Project teams can be created on a temporary basis or for a very long period of time. The duration can vary from a week to several years. These qualified people can either be from different functional areas, or from the same one. In addition, the company can create a team of existing employees or hire new people to manage the project. The project manager is also an integral part of the project team. The team and the manager contribute to the success of the project together (Prosvetov, 2019).
The responsibilities of a project manager may vary from organization to organization. Sometimes, they can even be changed according to the needs of the project. But in different companies, there are some basic responsibilities that most project managers deal with:
- project planning. As already mentioned, the whole purpose of the project is to achieve a certain goal. Therefore, planning is an important task for project managers. In addition, the plan is what determines whether or not to get approval for the project. At this stage, the project manager determines the scope of the project and develops the project plan and schedule accordingly. He or she develops effective procedures and policies to ensure that the project is delivered to the requester. This is done taking into account the specified time and the specified budget. In addition, planning involves determining the available resources (human, financial, etc.). The project manager also takes into account the time required to complete the project. Planning doesn't just happen at the beginning of a project. Planning is what happens throughout the project. In fact, a good project manager is someone who is dynamic enough to change the plan according to changing circumstances.;
- organization of the project. As soon as the project manager receives the project implementation plan, he starts to carry it out. First, it is a key responsibility of the organization. It's about giving the project team a certain structure. At the same time, the project manager takes into account the existing structure that the organization adheres to. Organization is the distribution of roles among team members and the setting of deadlines for achieving goals. This step also includes the instructing of participants about the tools they can use. Supposably, a project involves outsourcing some requirements. The project manager then determines the services to be provided, the company that provides these services, and so on (Gontareva, 2019).
Leadership is the broad role that can accommodate all the other roles of a project manager. Therefore, this can be considered the most important responsibility of project managers. The project manager should take the lead from the start, coordinating with different people to ensure that the project goes as planned. The manager should regularly monitor the development of the project. Managers ensure that project team members meet deadlines and follow guidelines, meet regularly, and ensure that team members follow up (Nizhegorodtsev, 2019).
To lead is also to make decisions at each stage of the project development. The project manager is responsible for thinking about such broad issues and making decisions. In addition, the project manager should build their knowledge of the technical issues related to the project.
In addition to the technical aspects, leadership also includes interpersonal skills. Project managers should demand excellence from their team members and help them in their personal development. The project manager is expected to motivate team members during the downturn phase and keep their morale high. In essence, a project manager is a leader that the team members look up to. Therefore, people management becomes a key element of project management (Mullali, 2004).
Projects are executed in teams, that is why project managers must integrate different disciplines and different skills to successfully achieve project goals. And in today's increasingly project-oriented business environment, working in a project team is an unavoidable feature of the professional experience of a modern employee. Projects are managed by teams for two reasons: first, each project is unique; second, the conditions for selecting and motivating teams are often far from ideal. In addition to being unique and complex, projects are often described as unusual and often involve organizational changes. Successful achievement of project goals and objectives is often determined by the vision of the project manager and his ability to cope with changes (Martin, 2004).
The specific role of the leader in the project team and also how this can lead to the success of the project is an area that requires further study.
The success or failure of a project is the result of how the project participants are managed. Since leadership is considered a critical success factor for projects, there is a greater need for leadership rather than management. The size of the project determines the importance of leadership: the larger the project, the greater its importance and style (Kotler, 1990).
The discussion of the differences between management and leadership is relevant in this context. The difference between management and leadership is that management usually focuses on classical functions, such as planning, organizing, and controlling. The manager is also involved in making decisions on projects related to processes and functions. On the other hand, leadership is more about motivating and guiding people to realize their potential and achieve complex organizational goals. Among the different leadership styles, it is situational leaders who focus on different tasks and behaviors in relationships. Transformational leaders, on the other hand, can inspire followers, meet their development needs, and encourage new approaches and additional efforts to solve problems.
Project managers must not only work in different functional and organizational environments, but also perform other tasks, such as leading without documented formal authority and working in matrix organizations where unity of command is a problem. Thus, project managers are individuals who lead different groups of people, but do not have direct control (King, 2002).
Although projects are complex and require interdisciplinary teams, not all project teams are the same: each has different implications for the behavior and effectiveness of the leader. In addition, the management style, the integration of management tools with the team, and the project management process significantly affect the effectiveness of the project. To achieve a successful outcome, project managers must manage different types of work related to different types of products in different ways. The theory, practice, and tools of project management can be transferred between different types of projects. But the specifics of their application in the context of each project are different. Thus, the situational leadership style for adopting the project environment is very important. It is interesting to note that a number of studies have defined transformational leadership as being related to the success of a project.
Transformational leadership should be evident in successful projects because projects are transformations, and because the vision is an idealization of that transformation. The transformational leadership style of the project manager has a positive impact on the actual effectiveness of the project (Keller, 1995).
Transformational leadership provides a higher quality of projects in research projects, but one of the problems of the project manager is his limited role as a transformational leader: while an integral part of transformational leadership helps subordinates fully develop their potential, projects offer limited opportunities to achieve this in relation to the traditional hierarchy of functional organizations. This limited role is attributed to both project formation and organizational structure: they differ from those used in traditional organizations, including time-limited participation of people in multiple projects, reporting to different project managers.
The general methodological basis of the research is the dialectical method of cognition. The developing specific problems, economic and statistical methods of collecting and processing information were used in the study: comparison, content analysis, observation, etc. methods. Modern computer technologies and software packages are used for the accumulation, storage, processing of information and presentation of research results.
As part of the study, a survey was conducted with 25 participants in the organization of projects "ААА"LLP. The number of employees is 50 people in the company where the respondents worked. The respondents ' work experience is from 5 to more than 10 years. The interviewees participate in projects in the role of heads of a functional unit – 6 people, a project manager, a project administrator, a performer (a member of the project team). The company uses project management methodologies such as PMBOK(PMI), a mixed approach, and a special approach (Labotsky, 2019).
Respondents were asked to choose a number that was more likely to agree with the above statements (Figure 1). The survey estimated the statements on a scale from -3 to +3 points, where "-3 points" is very bad, "+3 points" is very good.
Figure 1- Respondent’s opinion on project stakeholder management, points
From the figure, it can be concluded that the company does not have templates for documents on managing project stakeholders. But all companies have a project management system, a methodology for managing stakeholders. All companies understand that it is necessary to have a system for managing project stakeholders.
The respondents believe that the planning and collection of actual information about the implementation of projects is characterized by the fact that:
- the detailed project planning is being carried out. Basic (target) plans are created for the cost, timing, resources and risks, the planned indicators are compared with the actual ones, and rescheduling is performed. Performance data is collected, but there are no formalized procedures and templates (2 times mentioned);
- all necessary project plans are not only documented, but also actively used by the project team. Up-to-date factual information is collected regularly in accordance with standard procedures and using standardized templates;
- developed templates and standard fragments of plans. The project management information system allows automated collection of data on actual performance. Not only the initial planning of projects is carefully carried out, but also their re-planning taking into account changes (2 times mentioned) (Zarenkov, 2019).
The respondents noted that the training of employees involved in project management is not carried out, but some employees are independently interested in the discipline "project management" (three times noted).
One respondent noted that there was one-time training in the basics of project management, based on a single program for all system participants in the company, another respondent noted that training is conducted on a regular basis, taking into account the roles of participants.
It can be seen that the company does not have regular project management training. Respondents rated their level of awareness of the value of project stakeholder management. It is noted that the respondents read an article or book on this topic, and they also had to participate in the discussion of this topic with their direct colleagues or other representatives of the professional community. It means that there is no systematic knowledge in the field of project stakeholder management.
Respondents expressed their opinion on the impact of project management on the indicators (Figure 2).
Figure 2 - The impact of the project management system on various factors, points
The figure shows that project management has the greatest impact on the company's image, the professionalism of employees, the coherence of project teams, and the improvement of stakeholder interaction. The interviewees also indicated that they would like to master the RMVoC concept and the use of the Stakeholder Wheel tool.
Respondents noted that the need to manage the interaction of project stakeholders: discussed, but in the circle of colleagues, project managers, and this issue was repeatedly raised, including by senior management, but in practice no action was taken. All respondents are positive about the use of project stakeholder management and noting the necessity of using new technologies (Ilina, 2019).
Respondents indicated the tools and methods of project management used in the company. The least used are: the personnel development plan; the critical chain method; PERT analysis (planning with an optimistic, most likely and pessimistic assessment of the duration). planning for iterations(sprints); matrix of the probability of occurrence and impact of risks; analysis of deviations (decomposition of the total deviation into components - Variation Analysis); RMVoK; wheel of stakeholders.
Project managers should constantly ensure that the project is implemented according to the outlined plan. This means that they will have to ensure that resources are used efficiently. In addition, they must ensure that the project is completed on time. To do this, many project managers use the following three-step management process
- strictly monitor the progress of the project;
- determination of the root causes of deviations;
- making appropriate corrections to resolve the rejection issue.
Monitoring in this sense does not have the traditional meaning of imposing decisions from above. Projects are now implemented through collaboration between the project manager and team members. Thus, instead of dictating what needs to be done, monitoring is carried out at the expense of the input of the project team members.
It is impossible to sufficiently emphasize the importance of communication for the success of the project. This is so important that many surveys show that project managers spend 90 percent of their time communicating. How well the project manager performs all these roles depends on his ability to communicate. This distinguishes a successful project manager from the average employee (Kemp, 2019).
When we talk about communication, it's not just about the team members. The project manager also needs to interact with different people. This includes project sponsors, customers, external suppliers, and other important stakeholders. During the implementation of the project, a lot of decisions are made. And all this requires the project participant to communicate with key people higher up the chain of command.
But most of the communication usually takes place between the project manager and the team members, who shares the vision and goals of the project with the team members. Project managers also give and receive regular updates from team members and hold status meetings, etc. The project manager should assume the role of an authorized member of their team to share or exchange the information.
Risk is an unavoidable part of the project. Managing these uncertain conditions, which can have a negative impact on the project, is the most important role of the project manager. This is so important that the Project Management Institute's PMBOK lists risk management as one of the key areas of expertise. This means that the project manager must show competence in this area in order to receive the certificate.
Risk management involves identifying potential threats or positive changes. Risks can be in the form of the possibility of dismissal of a key team member or sudden leaving of the sponsor in the project. The next task is to develop an action plan in case the risk is not justified. It includes various responses, such as finding alternatives, estimating the cost of other solutions, and so on.
Risk management also involves communication. The project manager should inform the team members and other stakeholders about the risks, assign the tasks of handling a specific risk to a specific team member. If the manager does not optimize the risks, the responsibility for this will assigned to the project manager. Finally, the role of the project manager is to ensure that the risks response is carried out as intended.
Members of the project management team also have certain responsibilities. The priority is to perform the tasks assigned to them by the project manager. In addition, participants should inform the project manager about the progress of the task. In case of any changes/problems, they should immediately inform their leader. For example, if a team member has been accepted as an "expert" in a particular field, they should take the initiative and not wait for the project manager to direct them to even small tasks. If the team members do not get along with each other, this can lead to delays and, in the worst case, to the failure of the entire project. Therefore, they should work with other team members and treat them with respect. If this is a large project, then some participants act as team leaders and provide assistance to team members. This would improve coordination between team members. In addition, the project can be provided to the client on time without any delay.
A survey of 25 participants of the projects’ organization "ААА" LLP was conducted. The company does not have templates for project stakeholder management documents. The respondents believe that the company is making detailed project planning. Basic (target) plans are created for the cost, timing, resources and risks, the planned indicators are compared with the actual ones, and rescheduling is performed. The respondents noted that the training of employees who involved in project management is not carried out, but some employees are independently interested in the discipline "project management". Respondents rated their level of awareness of the value of project stakeholder management. That is why there is no systematic knowledge in the field of project stakeholder management. Therefore, the company needs to improve overall project management through staff training, as well as strengthening the role of the leader in project teams.
We believe that the material and conclusions of the article can be useful to "ААА" LLP for the formation of a project management system that will help to increase the profit from implemented projects. In addition, it is allowed to use the materials of the article in the activities of project companies in the field of creating effective project teams.
Limitations / Further research.
This research can be useful for companies, as well as for managers themselves, to understand how the effectiveness of the project manager's activities can be improved today. At the same time, the results of the work can be used in practice in large corporations, when forming project teams.
There are some limitations of the study that are worth mentioning: the results may not represent the overall state of project management in Kazakhstani companies, and the results should be carefully interpreted and used.
For a project to be successful, it requires complete teamwork. The roles and responsibilities assigned to team members may be small or significant. But, in the end, every role and responsibility matters, because it is a collective team effort. Exactly this effort pushes the project on the path of success. The project manager and the project management team are like two sides of a coin. Therefore, for a project to be successful, both the project manager and the team must work as an effective team.
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