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What Are the Real Goals of a Project Manager?

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 11/15/2010

When you think of a project manager what goals to you envision they most possess? If you are a manager, do you understand the real goals of a project manager? Often, manager duties may be clearly defined but how do duties and goals differ? Jean Scheid takes a look.

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    Project Manager Duties Versus Goals

    Cerebral Lobes Wikimedia Commons The duties of a good project manager is the ability to take an assigned project and utilized learned management techniques and methodologies to bring the project to a successful completion. Duties include choosing a methodology, assigning teams, overseeing, and monitoring the project along with reporting to stakeholders. In fact, when I assign a project to one of my managers, I want to choose the manager that fits the project based on how well I think they will be able to perform the assigned tasks within the project.

    It doesn’t take one long to find out there is a fine line between a project manager’s duties versus their goals. Duties are different with every project, but the goal of an effective project manager is to the ability to use a constant of set goal guidelines and incorporate them into duties or projects assigned.

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    Defining the Goals of Managers

    A project manager’s goals can often be deciphered by analyzing their project manager traits and personality – not their skill level, per se, but their manager abilities. Important project manager goals to obtain include:

    • Team and Individual Interaction – If a manager promotes confidence, strength, and is able to dictate direction while still being admired or thought o as the go to person, that’s a goal well achieved. Teams and individuals within teams who feel comfortable around the leader shows the manager has mastered the goal of interpersonal skills and leadership.
    • Project Analysis – If anyone could take a project and run with it, there would be no need for project managers. When a manager can take any assigned project and analyze and implement what needs to be done, that’s a goal of adept planning.
    • Project Goals – Every project is different. Managers who can quickly determine the project goal and convert those goals into a smooth production have mastered goal of understanding how any given project must flow.
    • Project Timelines – Each project will have a different timeline based on the size of the project and stakeholder requirements. If a manager consistently finishes projects on time, the goal of measuring needed tasks within the project are always reached.
    • Project Budgets – Not every project has the same budget. Effective managers will know ahead of time from analyzing a project whether a project will exceed the budget or if the budget is feasible. Budgeting goals include good risk management and control management skills.
    • Communication Goals – No matter what type of project a manager is handed, they must ensure they will be able to communicate with both stakeholders and teams. Success is achieved when those communication skills include good listening skills along with the ability to learn from teams and ideas offered.

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    Master the Goals First

    Some confuse the duties with goals of a project manager. New managers should seek the help of more training and project management certifications or the advice of mentors to learn the difference between the two.

    The “way” you manage a project is your goal in project management. The “how” you run a project is more duty related. Consider your type of management style and set some goals on what is important to you as far as projects flow. Identify your goal structures and implement them into every project.

    When asking what are the real goals of a project manager, think of yourself first and what you expect in every project; what items need to remain constant no matter what the methodology used? Then take the techniques and skills you’ve learned and turn those into planning, assigning tasks, monitoring, and controlling the project. That’s what makes the difference between a prepared manager and one who is constantly under the gun or with projects that are always in disarray.