What role does a contractor play

Roles and responsibilities in projects

Actually, one would think, the whole thing is quite simple: at the beginning of the project, a project organization is defined, everyone is assigned their role (s) and thus also their responsibility (s) and thus everyone knows what to do and the work, or that Project, running. Or is it maybe not that easy after all?

The meaning and purpose of a project organization

  • Establishing your own project organization that deviates from the line is an essential element in the start-up phase of a project
  • Project organization is a valuable tool for getting a grip on the social complexity that every project has
  • The project organization forms the basis for the definition of information, decision-making and escalation paths - in short: the basis for efficient work is created.

Procedure for creating a project organization

The procedure for creating a project organization hardly differs from that in the line and can be summarized in a few points. In a first step, the roles that are required in a project are defined. The number of different roles depends on the size of the project. However, every project needs at least one client, a project manager and project staff (definition: see box). Then be Requirements, tasks and competencies defined in detail for each role before they are filled with real people in a final step.

Tasks and responsibilities of the project client

The project client probably occupies one of the most important roles in a project. Without a client, no project. But has the project client always fulfilled his role and responsibility in previous projects?

Unfortunately, many clients forget that they are between the signature on the project order and that for the acceptance have to contribute something to the success of the project. Of course, it is a matter of agreement which decision-making powers the project manager has, but fundamentally, content-related decisions that affect the project - especially if they are essential decisions - are decisions of the client that are only prepared by the project manager.

The basic yes or no remains a matter for the client and must not be shifted to the project manager. The apparently so popular game "What would you do?" Is not appropriate here!

Two examples of decisions which the client likes to pass on to the project manager are the premature end of the project and the proclamation of a project crisis. These extremely critical decisions have to be coordinated with the project manager, but in any case they have to be made by the client, who in retrospect must fully adhere to his decision - together with the project manager.

The role of the project client in cooperation with the project manager

The most urgent need a project manager has vis-à-vis his client during the project term, but also before the project starts, is put simply, but mostly difficult to implement: TIME! Every client has to take their time for their project. In the case of smaller projects that do not require any real project marketing and where no serious problems arise, it will be sufficient for the client to sit down with the project manager every two weeks, for example, to get a report on the project status and make any decisions to meet.

But the more complex and strategically important a project is for a company, the more time the client has to invest in the project. This is the only way he can show the project staff that the project is important and this is an enormously effective lever for increasing motivation.

Definition of project roles

Project client

Initiator of a project, highest decision-making body in the project; responsible for the provision of project resources; should fully support the project

project Manager

Overall responsibility for the Achievement of the goals set in the project mandate, first contact person of the client; its duties, responsibilities and authorities should be defined across the company

Project staff

Are subordinate to the project manager, are for the Completion of the content-related work responsible, and mostly experts in specific areas

Steering Committee

Also known as the Review Board, Steering Committee, etc .; is especially necessary when several organizations are involved in a project; The chairman is the client, the other members are each representative of the organizations involved; they solve cross-project conflicts and put Priorities and decisions

Writing down responsibilities and roles in the project is not enough - controlling is necessary here too!

Monitor mood and motivation

One of the most central tasks of the project manager, which unfortunately often comes up short, especially in socially complex projects, is, again and again, the Mood and motivation in the project team to raise. Is everyone on the project happy with their role? Is he noticing it properly? Is he feeling overwhelmed or under-challenged? All of these can be signs of looming problems that a project manager must recognize early on.

Raise the mood in the project team

A target-oriented instrument for this is the periodic snapshot of the atmosphere in the project team using a mood image. These Type of social controlling but is only meaningful if it is carried out continuously over the entire course of the project. The regular project meetings are a suitable framework for this. In this way, fluctuations and potential crises can be recognized. In many cases, poor quality results and technical difficulties can also be an indicator of a bad mood or a lack of motivation in the project.

Watch out for gossip

At least as important, if not more important than the continuous one, is the situational one Perception of atmospheric disturbances. Because you usually learn a lot more from the informal conversations during the coffee break, in the corridor or in the smoking area, what the individual teams are doing than with formalized snapshots during a meeting. On such occasions, the project manager should be particularly attentive and react as quickly as possible, but above all with sensitivity, to corresponding signs of discrepancies or problems.

Is the assigned role and responsibility assumed by all project staff?

What if the work is of the same quality and is also delivered on time? Do all then take on their roles and responsibilities? Not at all, because the question arises who does the work! For appropriate Signs that some colleagues are shifting work, as a project manager you should be extremely careful and react accordingly and, above all, quickly, because the employees concerned react to all cases.

At the beginning they still support the colleague in terms of the common goal, but if they notice that this is becoming a permanent condition, they may also help Dissatisfaction, demotivation and declining work performance react and an increased number of sick notes could be associated with it. After all, who likes to work consistently for two?

Sensitivity and experience are required

If the project manager finds out that the mood in his project is bad or the motivation is insufficient, then immediate action is required. Depending on the root cause analysis, targeted intervention measures must follow, which require the project manager to have distinctive qualities in the areas of mediation and conflict resolution. Above all, this requires one high degree of tact and experience.

Personnel changes in the project team

Unfortunately, it happens again and again that such a low can only be averted by exchanging the people involved. For example, this is a decision that you definitely have to make together with the project client must be taken. In such situations, care should always be taken to ensure that all employees concerned can save face.

With external employees, changing personnel is in most cases much easier than with an employee of the customer company. The solution here could be a change within the project organization in order to pull the affected employee out of the sensitive area of ​​responsibility.

Show the human side as a project manager

As a project manager, be a human too!

This gives you double the benefit when you relax and talk to the employees about sports or the weather in the coffee kitchen. Firstly, you create a real bond between the employees and you when you notice that they can not only think about the project and the work. And secondly, you have also provided employee motivation in its simplest and possibly best form.

The correct distribution of roles and tasks in the project organization is a success factor in every project

The development of an adequate project organization with all its roles, tasks and responsibilities is a foundation for the success of any project. Another, just like that communication is an important foundation, the constant contact from the project manager to the "simple" project employee. Everyone in the project organization must feel that the project manager is there for them.

The majority of the skills that a good project manager needs are so-called "soft skills", such as leadership, team building, motivation, communication or conflict management, because project management is primarily a task with and for people. It is precisely for these reasons that it is all the more important that the project manager does not manage the project from his office, but speaks to those involved and supports the team in all phases of the project.

The project leader should identify as Organizer and service person see who prepares the project staff a suitable working environment. Because projects usually fail not because of the technology but because of the people.

In this sense: Get out of the offices and towards the employees!

Checklist: Does the client fulfill their role?

  • Did the project manager receive a clear project assignment?
  • Have the strategies, project goals and priorities been set with the project manager?
  • Have the organizational framework conditions been agreed with the project manager?
  • Does the project manager enjoy the client's full support, even in the event of problems and crises?
  • Does the client make the strategic decisions in the project?
  • Does the client make the budget decisions in the project?
  • Does the client represent the project interests externally?
  • Does the client take part in project meetings at least once a month?