Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Executing Projects/Introduction To Project Management/Determining the project manager

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Determining the project manager

Required characteristics of the project manager[edit]

A basic competence is required in all the 9 topic areas of project management knowledge.

The best project managers are:

  • Good motivators and leaders, coaching, and teaching others on the team.
  • “Big picture-oriented.”
  • Effective communicators.
  • Good organizers.
  • Goal-oriented.
  • Knowledgeable about and committed to the use of project management procedures.


A fundamental of project management is that :

  • a good deal of managerial autonomy (from institutional superiors) is given to the project manager to lead the project team to implement the Project Plan Document, in order to deliver the project results according the methodology indicated in the plan and within the cost and time limits previously defined;
  • the project manager and the project team have no authority to change project scope and methodology, nor to increase budget and time allocations and that for whatever modification to the project plan they have to get the approval of the other stakeholders through a previously defined change process that will lead to formally agreed.

Responsibilities of the project manager[edit]

In particular, the project manager is responsible for seeing that the project management process, is effectively executed.

The project manager should be officially announced in writing, with a complete description of the particular role and responsibilities involved. For instance, the announcement from senior management should indicate whether or not the project manager has the authority to make decisions if there is a dispute between team members, or to declare a “breakdown” that invokes assistance from others with authority.

Main tasks:

  • Ensure the project team is well-organised, adequately staffed, and working well together, i.e. that team members understand and accept their responsibilities.
  • Keeps team resources focused on developing and executing the plan.
  • Is responsible for the control over the project and makes timely adjustments to the plan.
  • Report meaningful metrics for cost, schedule, quality, and risk;
  • Conduct regular status and design reviews;
  • Ensure the adequacy of project documentation and testing;
  • Maintain meaningful communications among project stakeholders;
  • Manage the project to attain the project goals and achieve stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Arbitrates and resolves conflicts in the team.
  • Reports project performance


See also[edit]

Issues icon.jpgHow to design and manage successful cooperation programmes?

In other sections of this handbook
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg What is a programme
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg The 3 level hierarchy of programme objectives
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg Project Managers and programme Managers
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg Leading and Managing