A deputy project manager is usually second in charge of a project under the project manager. The deputy's job will vary depending on the size of the business or corporation and the scope of the project, but generally speaking, the deputy is required to assist the project manager to get the project done within budget and on deadline.
Education and Qualifications
Deputy project managers must have at least a high school diploma, and a number of years of relevant work experience of project management. They should also be in possession of, or be in the process of studying for, a project management qualification from the Project Management Institute, such as the Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) or the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate. The deputy project manager should ideally have a college degree in an area related to the project.
A deputy project manager should be able to work with the project manager closely to ensure the smooth running of the project. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to: Scheduling; assigning staff; allocating resources; assessing risk and its management; coordinating the various components which contribute to the project as a whole to ensure they are being delivered on time; ensuring that deadlines are met; and updating staff and keeping all interested parties in the project informed of progress and any issues which may arise.
To be a deputy project manager, the person must possess planning and problem solving skills, and be able to set clear, measurable goals. They must emphasize good time management without sacrificing quality, and be able to negotiate well and handle any issues with diplomacy and tact. The larger the team, the more they need to be aware of group dynamics and relationship management.
They need to possess a good eye for detail and be able to analyze data, and should have enough professional skills within the field of the project to be able to act as a mentor and contribute as needed to keep the project on schedule. A deputy project manager needs to represent the project to a wider audience as needed and so should possess a high level of oral and written communication skills. They need to be organized, efficient and able to prioritize.
A deputy project manager should be able to use the Microsoft Office suite of programs, in particular Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, and Access if the project requires a large database. In addition, they should know Microsoft Project or similar project-tracking software. They should be able to use scheduling software to keep track of the key dates involved in the project, such as meetings, deadlines, milestones and so on.
Budgeting software is another key tool they should be able to use and produce reports from regularly. Other useful programs include: Risk impact/probability charting software to plot foreseeable risks, the likelihood of them occurring, and their impact if they did, in order to come up with contingency plans. They should be able to create simple Gantt charts to keep track of all the components of the project, and have a working knowledge of critical path analysis (CPA) to show how all the components are linked. They should be able create a program evaluation and review technique (PERT) chart to calculate the amount of time each component will take to be sure that all deadlines are met.
Characteristics and Management Abilities
A deputy project manager must be willing to follow instructions and take a personal interest and pride in making sure the project is running smoothly at all times. They will also need to balance the administrative side of project management with getting results and keeping the team on track. They should be comfortable working in a pressured environment and have a good command of the subject of the project. They should enjoy working as part of a team and must take a leadership role as needed. They should be able to multi-task, prioritize and meet tight deadlines. They should get along well with others, and be a good listener. They should be punctual, reliable, and follow up on all action items.