The role of the project manager

The project manager must be fully informed about the project, the stakeholders, the constraints and resources, and must be given appropriate and sufficient authority and accountability to mobilise these resources and make binding decisions regarding the project.

The project manager will carry out or direct the necessary project functions, systems and controls in order to achieve project completion, with the client formally approving the project manager’s decisions at pre-agreed stages throughout the project lifecycle.

Three major tasks require early attention by the project manager:

  • The development of a Project Execution Plan (PEP) acknowledging project objectives and constraints and indicating their prioritisation

  • The identification and appointment of a project team to carry out the plan to successful realisation

  • The development and implementation of an appropriate procurement strategy

The Project Execution Plan

The PEP has a key role as it establishes the highest level ‘map’ needed to execute, monitor and deliver a successful project outcome.

As a first stage it is advisable to identify all stakeholders (those parties with interest in the project’s outcomes), noting their particular interests in and extent of influence on the project outcomes, and what the client deems an appropriate amount of project inclusion for them.

The project execution plan will also be influenced by the project brief, including establishing:

  • Time – the required completion date, any important interim milestones when certain stages must be achieved and any flexibility between desired completion and absolute last completion date

  • Cost – the total funds at the client’s disposal and a statement on the balance needed between initial capital costs and facility-running costs

  • Quality – the required functional performance of the final product and any indications of standards of quality

  • Risks – the likely impact to the client’s organisation of risks inherent in the project processes associated with time, cost and function

A statement of the PEP will acknowledge the constraints and requirements of the project. Bearing in mind these factors and the extent of risk that the client is able to absorb enables initial consideration to be made as to which procurement strategy to adopt.

A typical example of a PEP is the Moray Council’s flood alleviation plan

Identifying the project team

Normally on larger, more complex projects, the project manager will need to be supported through the project by a team, ie a group of people with particular skills, capabilities, experience and knowledge who are specifically appointed to carry out the project plan to successful completion. This team will assist in monitoring, controlling and generally managing the project. Levels of authority and accountability for team members must be defined. At this early stage of the project it’s just an indication of the construction professionals needed to support the project manager. These appointments also come with a financial cost.

Implementing the procurement strategy

A procurement strategy outlines the key means by which the objectives of the project are to be achieved. A number of procurement strategies have been developed to deal with the need to successfully deliver building projects.

A procurement strategy must be developed, chosen and implemented to ensure appropriate procurement in light of the project execution plan and the specific project details.

Once decisions have been made about the PEP, the organisational structure of the people involved in the project as well as the procurement and contractual arrangements, the project manager is responsible for implementing the procurement process and managing the project to its successful completion.

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This article is from the free online course:

Construction Project Management: An Introduction

Coventry University