Project Manager vs. the “Real” Manager

Project Manager

Project Manager vs. the “Real” Manager?

One can ask: what do I mean by this title? Is there even a distinction? Are Project Managers not considered “Real” Managers?

Well, theoretically, there supposed to be a perfect synergy between the Project Manager and the different Functional Managers in the organization. FM’s manage the organization and PM’s manage the projects inside the organization. The problem is that as Project Manager usually comes from outside the organization, he’s naturally treated as outsider and could be even perceived as a threat to “local” managers. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are significant differences in the skill sets of PM’s and FM’s, so they are not always speaking the same language about similar subjects. This lack of communication and trust between the two critical Management branches of the organization can seriously disrupt the working process, so I find it advisable to mitigate the conflict in order to reduce possible losses.

Trust is best built by understanding the other side, so in my next post I’ll try to reverse some existing myths about Project Manager not being a “Real” Manager.

4 thoughts on “Project Manager vs. the “Real” Manager

  1. I agree with you partially. PM is totally concerns to his(r) project while FM can have holistic view for same, which may lead to different views (goal/result/expected output) for same project. This should be believed from Organization point of view if they clearly defined boundaries’ for FM and PM. Also I do not agree that PM treated as outsider.

  2. Totally agree! As an engineer, I had many cases, where I felt as if two managers are fighting to define my priorities, while sometimes none of them is my direct boss 🙂

  3. Peeyush, thank you for your comment! Goals of PM and FM should be aligned, as you have rightly noted that is not always the case. Companies have different levels of matrix structure; while in some PMs have to overcome a lot of barriers to move the project forward, especially in projects that bring innovation. Let’s see if next posts in this series address your concerns.

  4. Thank you so much for your comment Ophir! That is the mere reason for this series. The goal is to make “fighting” more productive and easier, by bringing clarity (and perhaps some sanity 🙂 ) into interactions.

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