by: Linda Hollingsworth
What value does an effective Project Manager bring to a project?
Suffice it to say that there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” upgrade or implementation. Every project is unique because every client is unique in business, systems, structure, etc. The role of the client is to communicate their uniqueness. The role of the Consultant is to interpret that uniqueness into recommended system design. The role of a Project Manager is to manage the resulting project scope, cost/resources, and time in accordance with the client expectations and agreement(s).
A key value that a Project Manager brings to a project is the responsibility to advocate for the project scope. As the layers of the proverbial onion are peeled back during the course of the project, the unexpected almost inevitably occurs. Generally, the client project team members and/or Consultant are the first to identify this system anomaly or unexpected design need. Without the benefit of a Project Manager, project teams generally delve head long into adjusting the scope to accommodate the need without consideration of time or cost. This either leads to scope “creep,” where the project is extended in time and/or cost without prior management approval, or to scope “seep,” where the team resources exhaust themselves with “pro-bono” work using their own personal time to effect the change in scope. Neither is acceptable in a well-run project.
The ideal project leverages the role of Project Manager to advocate for scope, while the project team and Consultant necessarily advocate to adjust the client’s system design. Together, the three parties collaboratively work to ensure that overall quality is maintained within the constraints of business resources/cost and time. Make sure someone is advocating for scope, or your project may end up “creeping” or “seeping” off of your systems budget page.