“If I become a project manager, then I am responsible for the success of the project, but I am only one person and there is a lot of things to do.”
When I was younger I never said, I want to be a project manager. I doubt very many teachers hear a child mention “project management.” There are the unique few that make the declaration and seek out a career in project management, but that is only after some research or encountering a PM professional.
Most of us are accidental project managers. We were successful engineers, technicians, and salespeople who got asked to head/lead/or manage a project. We, therefore, do not come into it knowing that being a project manager means that you sometimes have lots of responsibility without much authority, or that you should quickly build a significant tolerance for interoffice politics. So, it is also not surprising that some new-comers walk into the position with the idea that everything depends on them.
The project manager is responsible for the success of the project, so as the PM, you are the person who can do the best job of planning and controlling the project. The project manager conducts the planning effort and then delegates tasks to the team members. You then need to closely monitor that everyone is completing their tasks on time, as well as solve any issue that come up.
Running a project where you are the sole planner and director, means that you can be creating longer phases (you’re only one person), a confused project team (no hyperlink to your brain), and little genuine team ownership or commitment to the project. No one ever really tells you that managing a project doesn't have to be that hard.
A project manager can be the facilitator rather than the director of the project management process. We usher the team through the different steps, and together we monitor the progress of the project as the work is completed. We plan and make decisions as a team.
With this management style, I am creating an environment of trust and creativity. More ideas and solutions are generated. I want my team to have a deep understanding of the project as well as their place in the project, because that creates ownership which strengthens commitment and accountability. Who doesn't want higher morale, less rework, and increased project performance?
At pmNERDS, we understand this distinction and take it a step further with a holistic approach to project management that we call Integrated Project Management. This brings together all project management practices to form one holistic management process. We are PMs, project, product, program, and portfolio managers. We recognize the interconnections and correlations between those roles. We bring them together to create real solutions to the problem with systems thinking using the Scientific Method, Management Science, and Operations Research. Be sure to check out the Planning Essentials Course if you want more information!
Even an accidental project manager can become a great project leader. You need to just accept that sometimes, it takes a village to come up with a truly innovative product or process. Don’t just be the project director, be the project facilitator, or better yet be the pmNERD, because you could be leveraging all the tools and the diversity of talent available to you to be innovative and be that much better at project management.