Monday, May 9, 2011

Appointing an Assistant Project Manager

Successful project managers know the value of having an assistant PM on each of their teams. The way it works: for each project, you designate one or more team members to assist with PM tasks. You retain authority and responsibility as project manager, but your assistants ensure completion of the tasks supporting your management decisions.

“Assistant project manager” is not an official team position. Nor is it intended to add bureaucracy to project delivery. Whoever takes on the assistant PM role undertakes an added assignment, expanding his or her normal project responsibilities.

Examples of assistant PM tasks include the following:

• Man-hour budgets. The project manager makes strategic decisions on allocations of fee, while others then work out the details. The assistant PM distributes the fee based on the PM’s verbal guidelines. The PM lets the assistant PM and other team members work with accounting staff to “crunch the numbers” for the PM’s approval.

• Schedule. Based on key milestone dates the PM establishes, the assistant PM roughs out the overall project schedule. When the schedule needs revising or updating, the PM determines the strategy, establishes the new milestone dates, and leaves the actual task of updating to the assistant project manager.

Having an assistant PM will help you improve your delegation skills and home your management style. And it will help the assistant PM take on more responsibilities and create a stonger team for your client.

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