For any project to be completed successfully and with the least bottlenecks, a project manager is required. The project manager is the person given the responsibility of ensuring that the set number of activities are successfully completed to the required standards, within the projected time, and within the allocated budget. The project management process can hence be defined as the coordination of the project from the start to the end using project management and general management techniques.
Therefore, it is impossible to separate team management from the project life cycle. This is simply because the team management activity influences the outcome of the various stages in the development life cycle. Success or failure in all the stages will be determined by how the project manager leads the team. It is crucial that the project manager possesses project management skills. To clearly comprehend the phenomenon, it is important to understand that a project team comprises of the people who report directly or indirectly to the project manager. The success of the project depends on the team members selected. The team comprises individuals with differing skills. It is important that the project manager should choose a balanced team that should take each team member and skill and compensates somewhere for the weakness.
In order for the team to perform optimally, it is important that there is communication and all team members should be are aware of their purpose and role. The team members should also strive to be creative and collaborative in order to have synergy. It is also important that there is trust, commitment, a supportive atmosphere, and an urge to meet the set targets. Independence between team members should also be exercised. Team members should be aware of the framework or mechanism for conflict resolution. Also, the team members should be receptive to change. For all these factors or requirements to be achieved, the input of the project manager, in form of conflict resolution, control, and planning, is inevitable.
In assigning tasks, it is critical that the experience be taken into account. Different projects will have different team members. On average, projects will have specialized staff, user representatives, and human resource development and training specialist.
Project stakeholders are individuals or organizations who are involved or may be affected by the project activities. The project sponsor is the person accountable for resources invested into the project and for the achievement of the project business activities. This could be the owner, financier, or client. The project support team are people who do not report directly to the project manager but have been assigned duties (drivers, messengers). Users are individuals or groups that will benefit or utilize the system. The risk manager is the person who controls the process of identifying, classifying, and quantifying the risks associated with a project. The quality assurance manager develops a quality plan and quality control procedures.
Therefore, a project manager is responsible to both the management and the project team. His duties are to ensure that resources are used efficiently, to update the management on a regular basis on the progress of the project, and to be able to maintain the satisfaction of the stakeholders. The project manager has to manage the project to the best of their ability. Also, they have to take the necessary measures to keep the project on time and on target, while ensuring that all resources required by the team are available as and when required. Also, they have to ensure that there is continuity in cases of departure and to give new members orientation.
It is apparent that any grouping of people with varying backgrounds is bound to have some conflicts. This could have a negative or positive impact on the project. Hence the skills of a project manager should be able to bring about reconciliation between the different team members. Positive effects of conflicts are they cause team members to search for new approaches, they trigger well-thought ideas, they cause tension that stimulates creativity and challenges. Moreover, conflicts make people clarify their opinions.
When tackling conflicts, the project manager should remain non-partisan by adopting negotiation techniques which can be governed by focusing on the actual problem, defining the problem carefully, developing all possible solutions to the problem, selecting the most appropriate one resulting in mutual gain, and establishing a compromise that will bring about satisfaction to all parties. All these endeavors require mediation, arbitration, partnering, and negotiation.
Therefore, it comes naturally that the management of this team is critical to the success of the project. It may also be critical to view it from the aspect of project management. Firstly, project management can be defined as the utilization of the available systems, techniques, and people by ensuring that there is proper control, monitoring, and evaluation of the various aspects to conform to the quality, cost, time, and available resources within the lifetime of the project. The intricate thing about projects is the massive investment that calls for proper balancing of the four parameters that are always in conflict with one another. These parameters are Resources, Cost, Time, and Quality. A project is said to be successful if it is completed in the set time, to the specified quality standards, within the allocated budget, and to the customer satisfaction.
There are actually quite a number of challenges to project management. First, there has to be the proper balancing of the social affairs of the entire team because of the varying backgrounds and proper planning has to be done well in advance in order to overcome any unexpected problems. Moreover, there has to be a mechanism in place to deal with unexpected problems or conflicts that arise. Also, various skills will be required at different stages of the project and there have to be proper structures for communication to be effective.
The project manager will then perform the following duties which are critical to the success of the project as well as tied to all the stages. The first activity will be to ensure there is quality control. Further, he will have to solve any conflict that may arise within the lifetime of the project. The project manager will also have to monitor and control any deviation from the set time and cost and take corrective measures. Again, they will have to coordinate the various stages, team players, and external entities. They will also have to establish a communication framework in all the ranks of the project and motivate or provide team spirit to all the team. The project manager will also be required to provide better planning as regards work schedule, resources required, and finances needed. He/she will also ensure that there is harmony in the flow of all the relevant activities of the project.
In conclusion, all these activities and duties can be directly linked to team management. As illustrated, they are also critical to the success of an entire project. They also relate directly to all the stages in the project life cycle.