“Project Management Tips: 5 Steps Toward Being a Better Project Manager” on Business News Daily, July 3, 2019.
What is a project manager?
…If this sounds to you like a regular old boss, note that while a boss has hiring, firing and mentoring capacities, a project manager has no such authority. The key difference, however, is that a project manager is only short term.
“The relationship is temporary because the project, by definition, ends,” said Alan Zucker, founding principal of Project Management Essentials. While ordinary bosses oversee ongoing operations or manufacturing, a project manager’s task is finite.
Look for domain experience.
When considering a freelance project manager, don’t expect a specialist in your field.
“Project managers are generalists; they often do not have detailed technical skills,” Zucker said. Instead, the project manager’s job is to draw upon and coordinate with the specialists.
What employers can do is consider project managers not for their expertise, but for their domain experience. “Domain” refers to the areas they’ve managed, whether it’s search engine optimization or skyscraper construction. The project manager may still not hold the answers – for that, you’ll have to hire a consultant – but they will know the steps in the process.
“Good project managers know the limitations of their technical knowledge and how to ask the right questions,” Zucker said. “The more domain experience the project manager has, the better they are able to know which questions to ask.”
Create a project charter.
Hopefully, you already know why you’re undertaking a project. Still, it’s good to lay out your goals in coordination with the project manager. This is often referred to as the project charter.
A charter may not always be formally written up, Zucker said, but clients and project managers should at least answer the following questions:
- Why are we executing this?
- What are our goals?
- What are our high-level objectives?
- What is our definition of “done”?
There are two advantages to including the project manager in this process. For one thing, they’ll have a better idea of what kind of expectations are realistic.
More importantly, however, both parties have the same definition of success.