Planning a project is the sole duty of a project manager. His duty is to ensure that he comes up with and executable plan that his or her team can manage to undertake as per the present resources. The project manager needs to plan, organize, lead, and control the project (Meredith et al. 2012).
When coming up with a project the project manager has to come up with a definite plan on how the project will be undertaken right from the start to the end. The manager has to develop a scope, plan, schedule, and set up procedures and policies that will ensure that the project objectives are achieved (Brown, 2008).
The next step after planning for the general project is to organize it. Organization of the project includes setting up the project to fit the present company structure. Every company has a specific capacity and if the project has to be successful the project manager will need to take the company matrix into serious consideration. In this process the manager will separate roles and responsibility for each individual or body of the company. The manager will also need to specify instances whereby the company will need to incorporate external sources to help in the project for instance contract companies and contract personnel. The manager will establish a general structure of the project team (Gido and Clements 2008).
For a project manager this is the most important role. He has to take control of the project and ensure that everything is happening at the right moment. He has to bring into play his or her leadership skills whereby the manager has to motivate and communicate with the team. If the manager lacks in leadership skills then the project may face a number of difficulties. In case of conflicts associated with the project the manger is supposed to step in and resolve them as that is the duty of the project manager. The manager also has to set up team direction and coordinate all the project activities through all the stages of the project. Being a leader the project manager has the power to assign duties when the need arises (Jutte, 2009).
The project manager is in total control of the project and the team in general. The manager is responsible for anything that happens through the project. He or she is therefore supposed to measure, evaluate, and correct the project. In measuring, the manager should keep close check the progress of the project and establish if the objectives are being made. About evaluating, the manager is supposed to establish any kinds of irregularities that might have occurred during the project. The manager should ensure that the irregularities are mitigated and harm avoided. About correcting the project, the manager is allowed to make correction on the project when the need arises. If the irregularities are established then the manager can make the required corrections on the project.
- Developing mistrust-given that teams are not usually in together there is a risk of developing of inconsistency and a less familiar team. For a project manager dealing with a team that lacks trust becomes a great challenge. In order to deal with this issue the project manager should be ready to provide and use different communication apparatus to keep the team in constant communication. If the project managers choose a communication means he or she should also ensure that all members of the team can access and use the channel or software.
Lack of identity- a team that is dispersed may not even know the leaders or even each individual’s responsibility. Moreover the team members will lack shared experiences given that they do not meet or spend time together hence lack of cohesion within the team. In order to deal with this the project manager should consider holding regular conferences whereby he or she should engage all members of the team and let them interact and get to know each individual’s responsibility. This project manager should ensure that all member of the team attend the meetings or conferences as they are very significant for team work and bonding.
Sharing of information- it is easier to share information when there is no barrier of distance. Because of distance the project manager has to make plans to set up virtual communication systems and because of that there might be inadequate sharing of information. In order to deal with this the project manager should encourage use of alternative communications means such as phones or telephone communication, use of the internet, and other systems such as pagers (Kerzner 2009).
- Computers. Even though computers have made communication easy they have also opened business organizations to a new set of risks. One of the risks is that it has reduced formal interaction between team members because of that the team is open to a lot of challenges such as the lack of bonding, lack of identity which other, among other problems that arise because of the lack of face to face interaction. One serious problem is the security threat. Computers are known to be vulnerable to several intrusions that can make the organization loose information in transit. Computers are used for functions such as sending of emails through the internet and also video conferencing, given that they can be hacked vital organization can find its way to the wrong places and create adverse problems.
Other electronic equipments are those used in communication such as fax machines, mobile phones, and telephone can be ineffective in some instances like when team members are out of network coverage or out of electricity to power the equipments. The project manager should therefore put into consideration these problems when choosing alternative communication mechanisms or systems (
- Every team needs communication systems since it is not always that the team will be together or will have all the desired information and will require to source for information from places such as the internet. Computer systems are therefore not special for virtual project management. The problem mentioned above whereby a team does not bond or interact well and hence lack of understanding between them all because of the computers can also be solved by the project manager through holding regular conferences and meetings can also appear in normal projects. In the normal projects whereby the team members are close to each other, the project manager should also ensure that the team members are in constant communication and are working together as a team. There is therefore a need for meetings for motivation, problem solving, and such. Virtual systems such as video conferencing can be used in normal projects in occasions such as when the team members are not together. Technology is the most important factor in the company. Every project manager has to ensure that their technology is up to bar and that they are able to produce products that compete well with the present competitors. Changes such as the one on the microprocessors saw a significant improvement meaning the company should maintain this kind of improvements
In the article there also a mention of a problem whereby within the team there might develop some cliques or informal subgroups. In an organization these subgroups tend to cause a kind of antagonism and competition within the team. The antagonism and completion is not the kind that is healthy for a team working on similar projects. The solution given to this is issue is for the project manager to keep close watch and take note of the subgroups. The project manager has the mandate to make the required steps if the need arises. It is important for the project manager to deal with this case before it causes too much damage. If a team is conflicted then cooperation between team members will be affected. Such issues do not only arise in virtual project management but in all kinds of project management. All project managers are faced with this challenge and all of them need to deal with the issue the exact same way. It is important to also note that there are instances whereby the subgroups create a healthy competition within the team. In such instances the project manager should not make any changes but instead watch it and nurture it and ensure it remains healthy competition (
- Sharing information - For very project sharing information is very important. The main task of a project manager is to ensure that the team members are aware of any project that is in progress. In the course of each project the team members should be able to reach each other without any difficulty and on a regular basis. Furthermore as mentioned in the article the lack of means to share information will hinder the team from discussing work related issues or even getting to work together and bond. The solution offered to this problem is for the project manager to ensure that the team members could access alternative communication mechanisms. The project manager can come up with a tailor made software or system for the team whereby they can communicate with each other as easy and fast as possible. Besides that the project manager can also provide the team with alternative means such as use of telephones or mobile phones for more instant communication (Australian Institute of Project Management, 2008).
- A matrix organization is a type of organization whereby the workers have more than one reporting line. For this kind of organization setting up a virtual system or program becomes a much bigger challenge. The main challenge arises whereby the project manager has a bigger capacity cover. The project manager has to set up a web of systems to ensure that all members of the team can communicate with the project leader effectively. For this kind of organization it can be more advantageous and productive if each team has a project manager. Having different people to answering to different people will mean conflicted opinion, ideas, and methodology it is therefore more workable to first have different managers to head the teams. Virtual challenges besides capacity are the same with any type of organization. Each project manager should therefore take into consideration all the above challenges and look into making their teams viable. Moreover in this kind of organization whereby a number of projects are being undertaken at once there is a need for a Project Management Office. The project management office will enable the organization manage the several projects being undertaken in the organization. Having the a Project Management Office is the best way to manage the organization, without the office the organization may not be able to manage the several projects and may eventually be overwhelmed. The project management office will be in charge of the several projects, project managers can be chosen to lead the several projects this way the projects becomes more organized and more successful (The Standard for Program Management, 2008).
Project management in a business organization is very fundamental. Without a Project manager or a project management office most of the business’s projects are literally running uncontrollably, when Norm’s organization begun to take project management seriously the production clearly improved. Project management enabled the company to make improvements such as the one on the microprocessors. Every company has to deal with competition and the best way to deal with competition is to ensure that the technology is up to date. If a production company lacks behind in technology that definitely means that they will also lack in productivity and hence always be defeated by the revolutionized companies.