What Does a Project Manager Do? Five Signs You Need a PM

Jun 01, 2017

What Does a Project Manager Do? Five Signs You Need a PM

Project managers are responsible for the success of each product and service your company delivers. They are responsible for the financial success, client satisfaction, and smooth collaboration of every task your company undertakes. But what separates a project manager from a team leader, and what are the signs you need more project managers or better ones?  We asked five experts around the globe for signs you need a new PM. Here is what they said.

1. Client communications could use some more charm 

Ashlee Brown, ContentPark

My job includes a great deal of collaboration. I coordinate client-facing communication, organize project deliverables, coordinate internal team resources, and research ways to make processes smoother for both my team and client. A great PM can work with excited clients to avoid rushing the creative process, especially if the client came to our company far too late. It’s always important to enter into a project agreement with a clearly defined scope and a timeline that plans for the inevitable — because the inevitable will almost certainly happen. That’s where charm and effective communication come into play.

A great PM can work with excited clients to avoid rushing the creative process.
Ashlee Brown

ContentPark is a copywriting firm that develops valuable, relevant, and consistent content to support the client needs of creative agencies.

2. Resources aren’t responding to change requests as fast as they could 

Pierre Tremblay, Director of Human Resources, DUPRAY Inc.

I curate probably 500 or so resumes per month, helping Dupray expand to six countries worldwide, and before transitioning into HR, I was a Project Manager. Here is what I saw: Every employee is a cog in the massive logistical operation of a company. Some cogs, like the chief executives, take much more space and move slower. There are also smaller cogs who spin very fast and work really hard, usually the entry-level employees. The point of this analogy is that if one cog stops working properly, the whole company suffers. Sometimes the consequences are small and other times they are game-changing. Essentially, a Project Manager is the person who makes sure all of these cogs are functioning in the scope of their project. PMs need to perform, push buttons, and act against cogs both up and down the chain of command. The biggest challenge is to ensure that people are responding to the changes that the project manager wants to move forward.

Dupray sells steam cleaners and steam irons in six countries.

3. Projects need to be more financially successful

Andu Potorac, Founder at Digital Agency Vuzum

Project Managers are business oriented. They ensure projects are successful from a business standpoint. This means many things, like delivering on time and avoiding spending more on resources than needed, losing the client, making no profit, and even going bankrupt. Project managers ensure projects stick to the scope and timeframe, but also to deliver on budget. To make sure a PM is always business oriented, most of the times the PM is involved in doing the estimate himself.

Vuzum works with clients of any size, including the U.S. Navy, CBS, and H&M, to bring ideas to life through beautifully crafted solutions.

4. Too many deadlines are being missed

Aazar MJ, Project Manager at Digital Agency Vuzum

One of a project manager’s nightmares is deadlines. This is basically the timeline target that has to be achieved, and achieved properly through quality work. That’s why a smart PM will always adopt a proven workflow methodology to ensure adequate and timely project execution. A successful PM will always know what has to be done and by when. It’s the difference between knowing what’s going on, allocating resources efficiently, and avoiding waste.

A smart PM always knows what’s going on and allocates resources efficiently.
Aazar MJ

Vuzum works with clients of any size, including the U.S. Navy, CBS, and H&M, to bring ideas to life through beautifully crafted solutions.

5. No one is taking responsibility for keeping the trains moving

RJ Martino, Founder at iProv

Within each project, there could be dozens of milestones and tasks. The project manager is the individual held responsible for each of these projects, milestones, and tasks. The PM organizes projects into phases and task lists. They assign tasks to people and get status reports so that everyone knows they are on-time and under budget. At our office, we call it “keeping the trains moving.” When there is a road block, it’s a project manager’s job to figure out what is delaying the project and what can be done to remove that delay. The best organizations have project managers who proactively assume responsibility for each of these tasks and sees the project through.

iProv is a Little Rock, Arkansas,-based Internet marketing and managed service provider specializing in website development, web marketing services, and IT & network support.

Have you seen these signs at your company? Let us know what you did to fix the situation in the comments section.

This article was originally published May 2016, and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. 

Enjoy what you’re seeing?Get the best from Mavenlink in a weekly digest.
Next up in Project Management