October 3, 2010 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Role of the Project Manager
Exceptional Project Management - The Project Director
By Chris Young
Whilst the roles of Project Manager and Program Manager are well-defined and understood, we often come across the role of ‘Project Director’, particularly on larger projects. So what is a ‘Project Director’ and what are the roles and responsibilities of someone in this position? How does it differ from the more commonly understood roles?
Whilst there appears to be no definitive definition of the role, in general it involves managing strategic aspects of a large project and mitigating the delivery risks. To be effective in this role it is most likely that an individual will be a senior project manager or program manager with considerable hands-on project management experience, excellent communication and stakeholder engagements skills and strong leadership ability.
In practice, the specific roles and responsibilities of a Project Director will usually include:
- Ensuring the most appropriate structure and governance model, given the size and complexity of the change and the relative risk profile within the organization. This encompasses both establishing the operating procedures and ensuring those procedures continue to meet the project’s goals.
Implementing organizational and industry standard policies and procedures.
- Chairing the project’s Steering Committee and engaging with senior stakeholders to ensure they are kept appraised of important risks and issues. Often these Steering Committee members will be unclear on their roles and responsibilities in relation to the Steering Committee and would benefit from education and coaching on how to be effective in this role.
- Providing leadership to the team and overseeing the activities of the senior team members, including mentoring and coaching of senior team members. This includes conferring with staff to assign duties, responsibilities, and scope of authority.
Risk and Issue Management
- Reviewing high-level deliverables, risks and issues across the project on an ongoing basis. Identifying and addressing significant issues as they arise, ensuring escalation as required.
- Monitoring financials and resources on an ongoing basis - keeping forecasts up to date and reviewing performance of key staff, dealing with performance or communication issues, actively managing resources on and off the project.
Reviewing status reports of Project Managers and Change Managers and addresses issues as appropriate.
Establishing work plans and staffing for each phase, and arranging for recruitment or assignment of personnel.
Reviewing plans to determine time frames, funding limitations, staffing requirements and allotment of available resources to various phases.
Ultimately, the need for a ‘Project Director’ on a specific initiative will depend on the size and complexity of the product being developed or changes being implemented as well as the organization structure and context in which you are operating. If the team is sufficiently large and the individuals on the team would benefit from addition of a leader, coach and mentor then you may consider adding a Project Director into your delivery structure.
Christopher Young is a senior consultant and executive coach with a broad knowledge and experience in financial services, project and change management, personal empowerment and information technology. His areas of focus include developing highly successful leaders, creating high-performance teams and implementing best practices in process improvement, project management and software development process.
White Water Consulting ( http://www.whitewater.com.au ) is one of Australia’s leading project management consulting firms, specialising in exceptional delivery of projects for the Financial Services market.
Achievement Coaching and Consulting ( http://achievementcoaching.com.au ) assists professionals to reach their individual goals of enhanced business performance and personal satisfaction.
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