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If something involves a schedule, a series of tasks, and a team of resources focused on meeting a common objective, it could be considered a project. The more complex these factors become, the more important it is to have a skilled project manager at the helm. Common settings for project managers include the construction industry, health care, retail, technology and manufacturing. Wherever they work, PMs must enable team chemistry while balancing project expectations and keeping customers satisfied.
An important goal for every PM involves mitigating risk. Each project has its own set of risks. The PM must work diligently to capture every key risk, based on each stakeholder's viewpoint and the project setting. Risks in health care settings can include impacts to patient well-being. Risks in manufacturing can include stopping production. Once the risks are identified, the PM's next goal is to determine how to control the resources, costs and project schedule effectively to make sure potential problems don't happen.
Another key goal for PMs is to satisfy their customers. To meet this goal, PMs focus on completing projects on time and on budget. They must also keep customers informed. By communicating frequently about project status, customers are aware of milestone achievements or problems that might require decisions before moving forward. Awareness fosters trust, which could help enable customer satisfaction even if some time or cost slippage occurs.
Creating a positive team experience represents an important goal for the PM. A happy and engaged team is central to achieving the project’s objectives. A PM can start by clearly defining roles and responsibilities and scheduling tasks and milestones that are realistic based on available resources and the capabilities and competencies of team members. The next step is to celebrate team member accomplishments. PMs should also take advantage of opportunities to introduce team members to learning and developmental opportunities that can promote career growth.
Project teams spend a lot of time in meetings. Every PM should strive to make the time spent in meetings value-adding. To meet this goal, the PM should facilitate focused discussions that are designed to achieve results. The meeting setting should promote collaboration with tools in place to include flip charts, white boards and presentation equipment. The PM must also ensure meeting rooms can support the number of attendees required and can accommodate the work that will be performed, whether it is for a general status update or a complex planning workshop.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.