A project manager is responsible for guiding a project from start to finish. A project manager’s team is made up of engineers, programmers, administrators and accountants. The team members look to the project manager to describe what they are to do, when they need it done by and what resources they have available to do it. Project management is about adapting a project to the real world. It is about satisfying requirements with an imperfect plan. It is about thinking on your feet and harmonizing goals with chaos.
Project managers initiate, plan, execute, control and close to meet specific goals and criteria. Project management is a broad discipline whose merits are being increasingly valued each year.
A systems engineer is responsible for conceptualizing a system across various disciplines and achieve the goals of maximizing profit by optimizing the quality, time and cost relationship. In this way a systems engineer and a project manager belong on either sides of the same coin. It is important for both professions to understand methods and virtues of the other in order to realize their goals in the best way.
#1 Project Management applies knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the Requirements of a project.
#2 Project Management has to deal with people. Having the savvy necessary to communicate with and coordinate people with different personalities is a challenging but necessary skill.
#3 Efficient project planning is integral to best utilize a project’s budget. In order to deal with time and costs most efficiently, you need to have an in-depth understanding of schedule optimization, and how it relates to a project’s budget.
#4 Projects involve smaller processes or tasks that need to be done in a certain order. Deriving the tasks that make up a project is important and needs to be done with the team that will be involved in the project. The project manager therefore has to be able to organize a team’s brainstorming into a logical workflow of events.
#5 Recognizing that projects will only have finite resources is key to success. Therefore, asset management is crucial to creating a sound project plan. Assets can be thought of as people, tools, facilities, or anything concrete that can only exist to a certain threshold or is confined to time and space.
#6 Allocating resources properly is important due to their inherent scarcity. A certain task needs to be assigned personnel, equipment, facilities, and/or any other assets that are required for that task to be done. Because of asset scarcity, caution must be taken as to not over allocate resources to concurrent tasks or allocating a resource to a task when it is not available.
#7 Adhering to a budget while meeting stakeholders’ requirements is the goal of good project management. Assets have associated costs that need to be understood and taken into account in order to create a good budget and to adhere to a project plan. Assets and their costs should be associated with a task to derive the cost of that task. Earned Value Management is creating scores based on ratios of project status to the project plan and then using that to determine if a project is on schedule and in budget.
#8 Projects can be effected by unknown factors. The factors will have effects that a good project manager can identify as risks. Risks are events that could force a project off schedule and budget. Understanding risk management and having mitigation plans are important for a project manager to be able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances of external stakeholders.
Whether you are an actual project manager or not, the overall goal of a project is to finish a project on time with satisfied requirements within budget. The methods and interests of a project manager therefore should be understood by efficient team members.
Topics: Systems Engineering