Key Areas for a Project Manager

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

I was in your workshop last week. When you look at qualified candidates for a role, you say “It’s all about the work.” We are looking at a project management role. What do you consider the three most important parts of project management?

Project Management is a classic Strata II role. From a macro level, it involves the coordination of people, materials, equipment and project sequence. Three core Key Result Areas (KRAs) drive the project forward.

  1. Project Planning (creating a comprehensive project plan including milestones and accountabilities).
  2. Task Checklist (documenting and tracking all the details for completion and quality).
  3. Project Schedule (creating and monitoring the project schedule, prioritizing and sequencing time frames associated with changing elements of a project).

The value adds for Project Management are project control, accuracy to project specifications, timeliness and completeness.

Other KRAs would include –

  • Pre-con Hand-off Meeting (critical meeting where pre-construction hands the project over to project management).
  • Punch List (audit of the project checklist, when everyone else thinks the project is complete).
  • Buy Out (assembling the list of material suppliers and subcontractors, with competitive cost information).
  • Customer Relations (creating the necessary customer relationship that addresses project discrepancies, project change orders and avoids litigation)

All of these would make the basis for a comprehensive role description for your Project Manager. -Tom

2 thoughts on “Key Areas for a Project Manager

  1. Bernard Paul-Hus

    I would add that a Project Manager must also be held accountable to the project budget. A high degree of Financial Acumen separates good Project Managers from GREAT Project Managers.

    Developing high financial acumen = Good to Great.

    1. Establish a budget
    2. Buy and perform to budget or better
    3. Create contingencies through whatever savings are created on each line item
    4. Constantly (at least bi-weekly) review and re-forecast costs to complete to identify potential problems early enough to mitigate or correct any out of budget tasks.

    A Project Manager who does not have a budget or access to all controllable costs is managing in the dark.

  2. Rief Kanan

    I agree with the budget bullet. I would add one more bullet to Tom’s list: Communication and Clarity with the project team. What is the plan for meetings, updates and status reports?


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