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A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers can have the responsibility of the planning, execution and closing of any project, typically relating to construction industry, architecture, aerospace and defense, computer networking, telecommunications or software development.
Many other fields in the production, design and service industries also have project managers.
A project manager is the person responsible for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the constraints of the project management triangle, which are cost, time, scope, and quality.
A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. A project manager is the bridging gap between the production team and client. So he/she must have a fair knowledge of the industry they are in so that they are capable of understanding and discussing the problems with either party. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.
The term and title 'project manager' has come to be used generically to describe anyone given responsibility to complete a project. However, it is more properly used to describe a person with full responsibility and the same level of authority required to complete a project. If a person does not have high levels of both responsibility and authority then they are better described as a project administrator, coordinator, facilitator or expeditor.
Construction project managers in the past were individuals, who worked in construction or supporting industries and were promoted to foreman. It was not until the late 20th century that construction and Construction management became distinct fields.
Until recently, the American construction industry lacked any level of standardization, with individual States determining the eligibility requirements within their jurisdiction. However, several Trade associations based in the United States have made strides in creating a commonly accepted set of qualifications and tests to determine a project manager's competency.
The profession has recently grown to accommodate several dozen Construction Management Bachelor of Science programs. Many universities have also begun offering a Master's Degree in Project Management. These programs generally are tailored to working professionals who have project management experience or project related experience; they provide a more intense and in depth education surrounding the knowledge areas within the project management body of knowledge.
The United States Navy construction battalions, nicknamed the SeaBees, puts their command through strenuous training and certifications at every level. To become a Chief Petty Officer in the SeaBees is equivalent to a BS in Construction Management with the added benefit of several years of experience to their credit. See ACE accreditation.
Architectural project manager are project managers in the field of architecture. They have many of the same skills as their counterpart in the construction industry. An architect will often work closely with the construction project manager in the office of the General contractor (GC), and at the same time, coordinate the work of the design team and numerous consultants who contribute to a construction project, and manage communication with the client. The issues of budget, scheduling, and quality-control are the responsibility of the Project Manager in an architect's office.
In the insurance industry project managers often oversee and manage the restoration of a clients home/office after a fire, flood. Covering the fields from electronics through to the demolition and constructions contractors.
In Engineering project management is the term used to describe the task of seeing a product/device through the stages of R&D/design to manufacturing stages. Working with various professionals in different fields of engineering and manufacturing to go from concept to finished product. Optionally, this can include different versions and standards as required by different countries. Requiring knowledge of laws, requirements and infrastructure. Things like electrical voltages often change from country to country.
A Software Project Manager has many of the same skills as their counterparts in other industries. Beyond the skills normally associated with traditional project management in industries such as construction and manufacturing, a software project manager will typically have an extensive background in software development. Many software project managers hold a degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Management of Information Systems or another related field.
In traditional project management a heavyweight, predictive methodology such as the waterfall model is often employed, but software project managers must also be skilled in more lightweight, adaptive methodologies such as DSDM, Scrum and XP. These project management methodologies are based on the uncertainty of developing a new software system and advocate smaller, incremental development cycles. These incremental or iterative cycles are time boxed (constrained to a known period of time, typically from one to four weeks) and produce a working subset of the entire system deliverable at the end of each iteration. The increasing adoption of lightweight approaches is due largely to the fact that software requirements are very susceptible to change, and it is extremely difficult to illuminate all the potential requirements in a single project phase before the software development commences.
The software project manager is also expected to be familiar with the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). This may require in depth knowledge of requirements solicitation, application development, logical and physical database design and networking. This knowledge is typically the result of the aforementioned education and experience. There is not a widely accepted certification for software project managers, but many will hold the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation offered by the Project Management Institute, PRINCE2 or an advanced degree in project management, such as a MSPM or other graduate degree in technology management.
The project manager is accountable for ensuring that everyone on the team knows and executes his or her role, feels empowered and supported in the role, knows the roles of the other team members and acts upon the belief that those roles will be performed. The specific responsibilities of the Project Manager may vary depending on the industry, the company size, the company maturity, and the company culture. However, there are some responsibilities that are common to all Project Managers, noting:
Individuals wishing to obtain professional certifications may take one or more of the offerings available from a variety of organizations:
Other institutions and organizations:
There are other graduate degrees in project and technology management, such as an MSPM. However, the majority of all project management skills may be developed through the completion of a Ph.D, D.Phil or other similar higher Doctorate.
The International Project Management Association (IPMA) is an international network of national project management societies such as Association for Project Management in the UK. IPMA serves as an umbrella organisation representing national societies which offer their certifications.
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