What is a project manager?
It might sound like a simple question, but it can actually be hard to define the role they play in a company. In fact, rather than asking “what does a project manager do?”, we should ask, “what DON’T they do?”
Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that the success or failure of a project depends on the project manager’s ability to be a leader, to anticipate issues, and to understand the timelines. Whether you own a start-up or a well-established organization, having a project manager can help you gain a competitive advantage.
So whether you are looking to hire a project manager, or you’re still indecisive about it, we’re here to help you take the leap that will potentially make your business reach the success you’ve been aiming for.
You can also listen to this and other podcast episodes dedicated to business owners just like you right here —-> https://systematicexcellenceconsulting.com/podcast/
What is a project manager? What are their responsibilities?
Project managers are a crucial part of a business when it comes to bringing all the pieces of a project together. They are the person that really brings it all together, puts the plan together, and also makes sure that everyone else is doing their part. The projects vary: it can be an internal project for the company or an external project for a customer.
Project managers’ responsibilities are understanding the resources, the budget, timelines, and due dates, and then putting all those things together into a plan. They also delegate those tasks to the right people: the copywriter, designer, tech person, whoever it is. Another one of their responsibilities is making sure that everyone is getting their tasks done on time and within the budget. A good project manager is a leader.
Setting your expectations
When you are working with a project manager, you need to describe the outcome you want very clearly and have both the project manager and all the team members involved understand what the endpoint is. If you’re spending a lot of time managing or interacting with your project manager, then you haven’t given them everything they need to succeed and do the project efficiently.
So for example, if your expectation is to get a weekly update, the project manager should provide you a weekly update. If you don’t have that expectation set, you might be consumed with thinking about what the project manager is doing while the project manager is instead of giving them the space to do their job. In order to avoid that, you just need to set those expectations up front.
What makes a great project manager?
We strongly believe in hiring people for strengths and not necessarily experience. There are some fundamental characteristics that someone needs to have in order to be an effective project manager that really can’t be taught.
When choosing your project manager, you can consider having them take a couple of tests that will show if your candidate has the qualities your company needs.
Some of the strengths that we think that a project manager should have are responsibility since there is a lot of responsibility to take on as a project manager. Adaptability is another strength because a good project manager has to be flexible or has to adjust based on the situation. They need to be able to adapt if you use a new system or software or how to improve a situation if things go over the deadline. Communication, empathy, and connectedness, because they need to motivate other contractors or employees that you have, and this is also important if they’re working directly with clients.
Note: Being realistic about what you’re good at and what you’re not helps you to hire a team that fills the gaps that you have.
What should I do if I want to try my VA as my project manager?
Understand that some people do plateau — that doesn’t mean they’re not an excellent employee or contractor. If you think they have those strengths, give them the opportunity to try and if they don’t rise to the occasion when given the opportunity understand that it could be any number of reasons why they didn’t do well. Things like personal issues or the different levels of responsibility can be anxiety-inducing. Sometimes, a little bit of reassurance can go a long way.
But if you are looking at your project manager and you realize it’s not a great fit, but they are still an excellent employee and there is another role they can fill, you can move them around your company.
When should I start looking for a project manager and where can I find one?
What we see most often is people saying “Dang, I wish I’d hired one before”.
When you’re planning your budget for a project, you should budget for a project manager. We recommend bringing that project manager on while you’re planning your project because they can see the big picture and help you plan. If you bring them on in the middle, when all hell broke loose, then they have to fix that too.
One of the most efficient ways to find a good project manager is through referrals. We suggest reaching out to people you know that have project managers and ask them for referrals. And if that person can’t take your project at the moment, don’t discount them as a contact for future projects.
There are also Facebook groups where you can find specialized and quality people that are involved with project management, like Create Your Laptop Life.
The easiest way to hire a project manager
We have a package called “Hire Your First Contractor” that goes through the hiring process. It has Trello boards, there’s a checklist that walks you through how to determine who to hire first straight down to bringing them onboard, broken down processes, etc. But right now we are creating a package for people that need to hire a project manager. Or if you need to hire someone fast and can’t deal with the hassle of interviewing candidates, we offer that service as well.
Just reach us at Hello@systematicexcellence.com and we’ll get in touch with you.
We hope this has been useful to you. You can find more information about our packages and services here: