Are you clear about your project management role?

For many years our training courses have included a discussion and an activity based around project roles.  I decided to test out the role issue (among others)  by a simple tick box questionnaire.

When questioned , almost 65% of people disagreed or strongly disagreed with the question: “roles, responsibilities and levels of authority are always clear in our projects.” (From 1630 questioned)

The impact of not clearly understanding can have a really negative impact on your project. I have heard of:

·         people leaving the organisation – told to me several times
·         PM’s taking decisions they should not have done
·         no one knowing who can make what decisions
·         duplication of effort – in one case almost £350,000 spend duplicated..almost!
·         on 2 occasions working with a project team:

  • everyone said they were the PM
  • no one knew who was the PM


All of the above point to poor management and leadership. The impact to those projects and people can never really be done unless some in depth analysis is done.

However, I can tell you that many people when we are discussing project management roles feel really angry that roles are not made clear. Yes, they should ask questions about this however as one person put it: “OK, I ask what is my role? The problem is that many senior managers, including mine do not know their own role let alone mine.”

This is an organisational issue and it needs to be agreed what the key roles are in projects and who plays these roles which needs to be monitored.

A sports team knows its roles inside out and they play to them. If they do not, the coach soon jumps in and takes action. Project management needs to tighten up on the roles they have and the roles they play and of course, how they are monitored.