Plenty of us manage to get away with the classic nine-to-five workday, and are lucky enough to not have to put a lot of thought into the workplace once we leave the office. But project managers can’t quite get away with that, and are some of the most dedicated employees in the workforce. We’ve taken notes and worked out just what the average project manager is managing to get done, ample caffeine supply in hand.
Organisation is key for a project manager, who approaches each day with an updated schedule of their current project, to help them look at the big picture, but also a smaller check list that keeps them in line for each individual work day.
Before the workday begins, project managers need to be on top of their emails, making sure to respond to any concerns that may have come in overnight.
Once the team has arrived, project managers need to make sure everyone is up to speed on what they have to do for the day. A twenty-minute meeting can catch everyone up and give instruction for what needs to be accomplished by the end of the day. Any issues can be addressed, tasks can be delegated, and every team member can be put on the same page.
After the general meeting, project managers tend to go around talking to each member of the team, making sure they’re comfortable with what they’re doing and where they are going. A good project manager is aware of how every member of the team is feeling with the project, and will be acutely aware of changes in mood and demeanour. Fluctuations like this can seriously effect a project, so it’s important to stay on top of any concerning behaviour. Plus, showing a genuine interest will also improve the general morale of the team, which is a bonus.
If you’ve ever seen a project manager, you’ve probably noticed that they’re always on the go. They never walk into a meeting unprepared, and will spend a good fifteen minutes preparing for each meeting by going over notes and ensuring everything is in check. They’re always on top of proceedings and will have every necessary piece of information on the tip of their tongue, ready to go.
Even if they’ve been attached to their phone throughout their lunchbreak, project managers will still take the time to check up on any new emails and respond to problems that have arisen when they’re back at their desk. By limiting their email checks to a few times a day, they aren’t losing precious time by trying to multitask.
Afternoons can be spent signing all the necessary forms that have piled up in the last day, before individualised tasks. The WBS (work breakdown scheme) might have changed, in which case that will need updating, and any risks to the current project need to be assessed and noted. Any financial changes also need to be monitored, and cost estimates should be assessed on a daily basis to see any changes or fluctuations. The finances are probably the most important part of the project, and if you lose sight of spending, you lose sight of the whole project.
Each manager will approach their tasks in a slightly different way, with different ways of recording things like scheduling and resource estimates, but project managers will review every item like this on a daily basis, to make sure things are running smoothly.
But, no matter how much paperwork they’re rifling through, at the end of the day they are there to help manage people as well as the project, and will always be in contact with their team. To finish off the day, a project manager will look over their afternoon emails, to make sure they don’t have any excess work hanging over their head for the day to come.
It’s a long day, but if they can pull it off, a project manager can reap the rewards of a job well done.