Project manager objectives & duties
Project managers can come from a variety of backgrounds, but all will need to have the necessary skills and competencies to manage all aspects of a project from inception to occupation. This role may be fulfilled by a member of the client’s organisation or be an external appointment.
Project manager’s objectives
The project manager, both acting on behalf of, and representing the client, has the duty of ‘providing a cost-effective and independent service, selecting, correlating, integrating and managing different disciplines and expertise, to satisfy the objectives and provisions of the project brief from inception to completion. The service provided must be to the client’s satisfaction, safeguard his interests at all times, and, where possible, give consideration to the needs of the eventual user of the facility’.
The key role of the project manager is to motivate, manage, coordinate and maintain the morale of the whole project team. This leadership function is essentially about managing people and its importance cannot be overstated. A familiarity with all the other tools and techniques of project management will not compensate for shortcomings in this vital area. Further guidance on the leadership aspect of the project manager’s role has been provided in Briefing at the end of this section.In dealing with the project team, the project manager has an obligation to recognise and respect the professional codes of the other disciplines and, in particular, the responsibilities of all disciplines to society, the environment and each other. There are differences in the levels of responsibility, authority and job title of the individual responsible for the project, and the terms project manager, project coordinator and project administrator are all widely used.It is essential, in order to ensure an effective and cost-effective service, that the project should be under the direction and control of a competent practitioner with a proven project management track record developed from a construction industry related professional discipline. This person is designated the project manager and is to be appointed by the client with full responsibility for the project. Having delegated powers at inception, the project manager may exercise, in the closest association with the project team, an executive role throughout the project with appropriate input from the client.
Project manager’s duties
The duties of a project manager will vary depending on the client’s expertise and requirements, the nature of the project, the timing of the appointment and similar factors. If the client is inexperienced in construction, the project manager may be required to develop his own brief. Whatever the project manager’s specific duties in relation to the various stages of a project, there is the continuous duty of exercising control of project time, cost and performance. Such control is achieved through forward thinking and the provision of good information as the basis for decisions for both the project manager and the client. A matrix correlating suggested project management duties and client’s requirements.
An example of typical terms of engagement for a project manager is outlined in Briefing Note. It will be subject to modifications to reflect the client’s objectives, the nature of the project and contractual requirements.
The term ‘project coordinator’ is applied where the responsibility and authority embrace only part of the project, for example, pre-construction, construction and handover/migration stages. (For professional indemnity insurance purposes a distinction is made between project management and project coordination. When the project manager appoints other consultants the service is defined as project management and when the client appoints other consultants the service is defined as project coordination.)
Project manager’s appointment
It is advisable to appoint the project manager at the inception stage so that the project manager can advise and become involved in the option appraisal process. This should ensure professional, competent management coordination, monitoring and controlling of the project to its satisfactory completion, in accordance with the client’s brief. However, depending on the nature and type of the project and the client’s in-house expertise, the project manager could be appointed as late as the start of the strategy stage, but this could deprive them of important background information and is therefore not generally recommended.