For those who are not project managers and who have never been project managers, the job of a project manager is quite easy. After all, all he has to do is to chat with the stakeholders, tell the team members what to do, send a few reports, and his work is done for the day. He can spend the rest of the day either socializing on the Internet, playing games, or taking a nap in his office. These people hate the project manager, and dream about having his job.
The reality is far from this perception. Project Managers work hard, and they are responsible for the project, and their job is always threatened (what if the project fail, will you, the developer, assume responsibility of that failure? Most probably you will be moved to another project, while the project manager will be fired).
Project managers have to:
- Manage stakeholders and their expectations
- Have to ensure that the project is always on schedule, on budget, and on scope
- They have to manage changes and ensure that these changes will not cause problems in the project or conflicts with other features in the project
- The have to manage the risks and issues
- They have to prepare all the documents pertaining to the project, including the project charter, the project plan, etc..
- They are typically not paid overtime
- They get calls about their project in the middle of the night or while they are on vacation
- They have to manage conflicts between the resources
- They have no authority over the resources, yet they are asked to manage them
- In non-construction projects, project managers have to beg for resources from the functional managers
- They have to keep everyone up to date
- They have to manage the communications
- They have to ensure that all the project information is always up to date
- They don't get paid a lot compared to a programmer
Looking at the above, do you still think that the job of a project manager is easy? Thought so. Most project managers believe their job is a nightmare, and they want to get out, they just don't know how.