What is the Most Valuable Role a Project Manager Can Play?

Someone asked me the other day what I thought was the most valuable role a Project Manager played within an organization. I had to stop and think about it for a moment as I reflected on the 9 knowledge areas as defined by the PMBOK and answered “Project Integration Management”. It is true that Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Risk, and Procurement Management are essential parts of what a Project Manager does, but Project Integration Management stands on its own when it comes to realizing the value of a project within an organization.

Likewise, a Project Manager can stand on their own if they have a reputation for being an effective Integrator. To integrate means to bring together, to unite, or to combine. The following are three areas where a Project Manager can apply their Integration skills:

  • Integration within Your Company – To be effective within your own company requires transcending the politics and agendas that naturally arise from working with multiple departments. An objective Project Manager can accomplish this by taking the actions necessary to show their sole intent is to get the project done. This singular focus will allow them to unite departments and finish the deliverables necessary for project completion.
  • Integration Across Companies – Projects are not done within a vacuum. In addition to the departments in your own company, there are integration points that need to be managed between customers and vendors. A well-connected Project Manager serves as the conduit and steward of these relationships and helps the project to run smoothly.
  • Integration of the Project – Once a project is complete or nears completion, it needs to be turned over to the group that will maintain or support the ongoing operations of the completed project. Make sure the new team has the proper documentation, training, and understanding necessary to fully support the newest addition to their catalog of items to maintain.

The PMBOK processes involved for Integration Management range from a well-written Project Charter to directing and managing project execution. It is only by means of integration that the value of a project can come to fruition. Take every opportunity as a Project Manager to focus on integration management and you will be sure to bring value to any organization.

So, what do you think is the most valuable role a Project Manager plays within an organization, and how can a Project Manager optimize that role?

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