Project Management. Project Managers and Their Competencies

Term Paper, 2014

16 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Theoretical foundations
2.1 Definition ‘project’
2.2 Definition ‘project management’

3. The project manager
3.1 Description of the role of the project manager
3.2 Tasks of the project manager
3.3 Special features in project management
3.4 Requirements for the project manager
3.4.1 Expertise
3.4.2 Methodological competence
3.4.3 Leadership competence
3.4.4 Entrepreneurial competence
3.5 Leadership styles

4. Social skills
4.1 Teamwork
4.2 Flexibility
4.3 Communication skills
4.4 Motivational ability

5. Summary


List of figures

1. Introduction

Projects are becoming increasingly important and more frequently applied in a wide range of industries. But what is so special about projects? How are they managed and can they be successfully completed? This paper represents the conclusion of the block seminar 'Project Management'. In the seminar, the individual elements and stages of project management were covered. In the present work a topic of the seminar is taken up and is to be deepened lastingly: the project manager and its authority. The question of which competencies the project manager needs in order to successfully lead and complete the project is the main focus. The focus here is particularly on the social competencies. Project management is a field that is primarily viewed from an economic perspective. By focusing on the social aspects, the topic is to be connected with the social course of studies.

The aim of the thesis is to clarify the importance of the project manager and to highlight the different competencies. Furthermore, differences compared to other leadership roles will be described. The different competencies are enumerated and described to provide a good overview.

The thesis starts with the definition of the terms 'project' and 'project management' as a basis for the further work. The main part of the thesis consists of two chapters: In the one chapter the role of the project manager is described, as well as its tasks, the requirements, which are placed to it, possible guidance behavior and an overview of the different guidance styles is given. The other chapter is dedicated to the social competencies, which are described in more detail. Subsequently, the work is summarized and the goal-directing question is answered.

Project management is not considered in this case within a certain range, but is taken into view industry-independently. Likewise, a regular project team is assumed. Virtual teams are neglected.

Helpful for this work was the literature of the seminar, but also further literature about project management and the role of the project manager.

2. Theoretical foundations

2.1 Definition ‘project’

Since the term 'project' is frequently used in this paper, it should first be clarified what is meant by this term. "Projects are complex one-off tasks that are carried out in a time-limited, cross-divisional organizational form and for which limited resources are available" (Drees/Lang/Schöps, 2010, p. 5). This understanding of 'project' is independent of the industry in which the project is to be carried out. The scope of the project can vary greatly, both in terms of size, the number of people involved, as well as the budget and the relevance for the respective field.

The special features of the project lie primarily in the time limits of the collaboration and the interdisciplinary work (cf. Birker, 1995, p. 154). Whereas assignments in regular operations can extend over a longer period of time, be repeated and also overlap, a project takes place in a delimited period of time. The projects are unique and individual.

2.2 Definition ‘project management’

The term 'project management' can be defined as follows: "Project management is a systematic process for managing complex projects. It includes the organization, planning, control and monitoring of all tasks and resources necessary to achieve the project objectives" ( As with the project, the project management concept is independent of the particular industry and can be implemented anywhere.

In the project management different parties play an important role: On the one hand there is the client, who initiates the project. The client (see Figure 1) applies for the project, develops the project assignment, identifies the necessary departments, proposes steering committee members and appoints the project manager (cf. Drees et al., 2010, p. 11). The project manager is responsible for the execution of the project.1 For the success of the project, it is of great importance that the client and the higher-level management stand absolutely behind the project manager and support him. He leads the project team, consisting of the project staff, who implement the project order under the leadership of the project manager. "The project team members are the actual experts for the project content" (Drees et al., 2010, p. 15).

Optionally, project management may have a steering committee, sponsors, and experts. "The task of the steering committee is to view and consider the project from a management perspective, i.e., from a higher-level point of view" (Drees et al., 2010, p. 17). The project manager reports to the steering group and can call on it for advice and support.2 Sponsors and experts can also be components in project management and may be called in if necessary.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Roles in project organization

3. The project manager

3.1 Description of the role of the project manager

The project manager has the most important task in project management and is decisive for the success of a project. "The success or failure of a project depends very much on the person of the project manager" (Litke, 2007, p. 164). He is subordinate to the client and has project staff, which he must lead. If possible, he should be determined before a project order is created and identified by the potential client (cf. Drees et al., 2010, p. 24). Appointing the project manager from the beginning increases the chances of a successful project. The project manager has responsibility for the project and should be given clearly defined instruction and decision-making authority by the client. Burghardt refers to this in his text as "personification of responsibility" (Burghardt, 2008, p. 110). What is meant by this is that the project manager assumes the role of a managing director for a limited period of time during the course of the project. He leads his project team, manages it, assumes responsibility and planning, and may also be jointly responsible for personnel decisions. The client should recognize and support the responsibility of the project manager.

For this personalized responsibility, it is important that there be only one project manager (cf. Drees et al. 2010, p. 12). This person should also only lead one project at a time. "Personalized responsibility must be indivisible" (Burghardt, 2008, p. 110). If responsibility is divided among several leaders, this can lead to confused decisions and leadership styles. This results in disagreements within the project team. If these conditions are not met, a project is doomed to failure from the very beginning.


1 Further explanations on the project manager follow in the next chapter.

2 Since the steering group is not mandatory in project management, it is largely neglected for this work.

Excerpt out of 16 pages


Project Management. Project Managers and Their Competencies
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ISBN (eBook)
project, management, managers, their, competencies
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Juliane Kühn (Author), 2014, Project Management. Project Managers and Their Competencies, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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