Understanding Your Role as a Project Manager in Each Phase

May 13, 2020


The success of any project lies in the ability of the project manager to inspire team collaboration. This implies the process of allocating skills, knowledge, money, and time in the various activities to achieve a common goal. The key deliverables in any project management task are cost reduction, timely delivery, and quality. Hence, as a project manager, your role is combining the available resources to deliver these deliverables with time, cost, and quality in mind.

To better understand your role, let’s look at each of the phases of project management as determined by the Institute of Project Management (IPM).

Project initiation

This is the first step in any project management activity. The goal of this stage is to define the project on paper. Thus, all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, government, and the community must be brought on board to give their ideas and expectations. The critical project deliverables must be discussed during the project initiation stage. Some critical questions to answer during the project initiation stage include:

  • What are we delivering?
  • What are the criteria for success?
  • What is the project cost?
  • When is the project dateline?
  • Who is doing what?
  • Who are the clients?

As a project manager, your role goes beyond outlining these questions, but to visualize every deliverable and how to achieve it. Some projects require a feasibility study, while others don't. Also, the source of funding should be clearly defined during this stage.

Project planning

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail; hence planning is a crucial step in project management. During this stage, the aim is to design a roadmap to follow in achieving project deliverables. Goal setting is a critical component of project planning; hence you must set goals that are SMART and CLEAR.





T-time bound

Alongside goal setting, you must design a project plan which details everything about the project, including:

  • Scope statement which describes the project deliverables, objectives of the projects, the key milestones, and the potential benefits of the project.
  • Work break down schedule which is a visual representation of the project detailing the role of each team member in attaining project goal
  • Gaant chart which shows essential project milestones and their timelines. With this chart, you can easily keep track of the project to know if you can complete it on time or ahead of time.
  • The communication plan details the proper communication channel to be followed by the entire team. The communication plan should provide details regarding when to communicate at every project milestone.
  • Risk management plan-As a manager, you must foresee all the potential risks in a project and make a plan to overcome the dangers like budget cuts, change in deliverables, catastrophic events, and change in government policy.

Project execution

This stage is the backbone of every project management. During execution, the plan on paper is converted to actual tasks that can be measured. The deliverables must be completed during this stage while adhering to the project plan. Your role during this stage is allocating the tasks to the team and keeping the team on toes through status meetings, reports, and schedule reports. Some functions that happen during this phase include:

  • Executing tasks assignments
  • Establishment of human resource needs
  • Assigning resources
  • Procurement of required material
  • Setting up tracking systems
  • Modifying project needs

The success of any project depends on the project execution stage. Teamwork, collaboration, and effective communication are vital in accomplishing the tasks in this stage. Your role during execution goes beyond directing; you must motivate, lead, and support your team to achieve the tasks.

Monitoring and evaluation

Part of being a manager is learning the art of foresight, being able to foresee things in advance. In project management, you must monitor and evaluate the project to identify areas where you are on schedule and what needs to be changed to meet the original objectives. Here, you must locate the KPI (key performance indicators) and determine if you are on point. Some of the common KPI'S include:

  • Cost: Account for every dollar to see if the project budget is attainable. Make appropriate adjustments if the expenditure is above the project budget.
  • Quality determines if the required standards are being adhered to by your team members.
  • Objectives establish if the project is on track in meeting the stakeholders' objectives. Remember, you can change your plan, but the goals remain constant, and everything you do should be focused on accomplishing the project objectives.
  • Time: what is the expected project completion date? Are you on track to complete the project on the due date? If not, adjust to working overtime or subcontracting some tasks to finish on the agreed completion date

Project closure

Three things mark the completion of a project: delivering the project to the customers, communicating with all the stakeholders, and handing over all the project documents to the appropriate stakeholder. As a project manager, you must communicate with your team regarding the successes and failures during the project life. If possible, hold a status meeting with the team and recognize the exceptional efforts of each member in accomplishing the deliverables. Also, communicate with stakeholders regarding incomplete tasks that require extra time and budget and plan on working on them. Terminating contracts and releasing teams is also necessary during this stage.

Any project starts and ends with quality, time, and budget as the primary deliverables. As a manager, strive to deliver a quality project within the required time and cost. Thus, efficiency is a critical skill in any project management; the ability to make maximize the utility of any resource is what can make you an outstanding project manager.

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