8 Myths on Project Manager vs. the “Real” Manager, Part 2

Myth

5. “Soft skills are for goofs such as the Project Manager because he doesn’t know how it all works”

It’s not smart to allow your level of technical knowledge to cloud the perception of human relationships. Understanding just technical aspects does not excuse anyone from being able to respectfully articulate to others his opinions or being able to negotiate. More than often Project Managers develop great soft skills as that is an absolute necessity in their profession. But can Functional Mangers do without soft skills? Experience shows that managers who rely solely on their technical lore very soon find themselves pondering why is that others don’t see the beauty of their ideas.

6. “Hiring a Project Manager is a big company’s luxury

Project Managers has an emphasis on delivering initiatives regardless of what department needs to be involved, while functional managers will focus on managing particular departments (marketing, procurement, finance, delivery, etc.). PM’s role is to consolidate all streams relevant to the project. In large organizations the cross-functional integration sometimes is so complicated that the integration phase can be set as a sub project. However, even small companies more than often get on board a professional PM to ensure proper conduct of the projects. The main reasons – their stakes are usually higher, so they have to succeed. They cannot mitigate by investing in multiple projects, so the existing projects are to be manage in the best way. Having said that, it is true that in small companies the Functional Manager could wear a PM’s hat, due to the scale of projects being delivered and the number of people involved being minimal.

7. “Only people who did not succeed at their profession move to Project Management position, otherwise why would they choose that? If they could, they would become a “Real” manager”

People who believe in that have a hard time accepting that PM is a profession on its own. However to become a PM requires a lot of effort in acquiring a “particular set of skills” 🙂 and knowledge in order to be able to manage projects. As I have already outlined above, Project and Functional managers have different focus in their day to day job, therefore to choose either job is a matter of personal preference. What makes someone a great PM is not the knowledge of a particular system, but the understanding of best practices in project management and the ability to apply those according to context.

8. “Project Manager does not do much as compared to the “Real” Manager.” 

As the Project Manager integrates many different streams of the process, this myth is a result of a simple fact that many people are not exposed to the full picture of the project. It is up to PM to change that by having continuous communication regarding the project with everyone involved. Often stakeholders see only the final result or are occasionally exposed to partial deliverables. The only way to cure that is to have proper communication plan that encompasses all stakeholders and outlines what, when and to whom will be communicated.

Besides, look at this small list of Knowledge Areas are under PM’s responsibility through all Phases of the project (Initiating/Planning/Executing /Monitoring and Controlling /Closing): 

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Time Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Human Resource Management
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management

Piece of cake, right? 🙂

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