Responsibilities of Project Manager, Quality Manager and Project Controller. A Critical Comparison

Term Paper, 2012
22 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

Responsibilities of Project Manager,

Quality Manager and Project Controller - a Critical Comparison

List of Abbreviations

List of Figures

1. Introduction
1.1. History
1.2. Scope of Work
1.3. Structure of Work

2. Definitions
2.1. Project Management
2.2. Project Manager
2.3. Quality Manager
2.4. Project Controller

3. Success Criteria

4. Critical Comparison

5. Conclusion


List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

List of Figures

Figure 1: Overlapping responsibilities of PMR, QM, PC

Figure 2: RACI-matrix applied to project roles

1. Introduction

The use of the term project management (PM) has increased over the last decades. More and more books regarding project management were published. Supply and demand in training programs are growing and last but not least the hits provided by the web search engine google already in the year 2004 were over 25 million1.

1.1. History

Although the term PM itself is only in use since the second half of the last century, the history of managing large projects is going back thousands of years2. Already nearly five thousands of years back in time, in the historical periods of Mesopota- mia and in the Ancient Egypt, great projects like the building of the Ziggurat of Ur or the Giza Pyramid have been realized. Many architectural projects like the Hanging Gardens, Caesar´s Rhine Bridge, the Colosseum of Roman Empire, and many more followed3.

Projects before the 1900s were led by professions like engineers and architects with high experience. A separately recognized profession of project management did not exist. With Henri Fayol (1841-1925) and Henry Gantt (1861-1919) scientific management as a basis of modern PM emerged and developed in the last century4.

Formal PM and the profession of the project manager (PMR) emerged in the late 1950s. It was not an invention by one person and the beginnings were in the construction industry and in the engineering discipline. In 1969 the Project Management Institute (PMI) was founded with the intension also to foster the professionalism in the management of projects5.

1.2. Scope of Work

As PM management includes also the tasks of project controlling and quality management, in large projects these tasks are often assigned to other individuals than the PMR. This may be also the case if the PMR has no affinity to numbers, given a more technical background or education. The scope of this work is to clarify the responsibilities of the PMR, the project controller (PC) and the Quality Manager (QM). Furthermore an analysis and comparison is necessary to determine, if the tasks and responsibilities are clearly defined, delimitated and assigned. This will identify, if there are overlapping areas of responsibility, if there occurs conflict potential within the project team, and which success criteria are necessary to reduce it.

1.3. Structure of Work

In the first part, the terms of project management, project manager, quality manager and project controller will be defined. The tasks, roles and responsibilities, assigned to these functions will be described and analyzed. Furthermore, key suc- cess factors will be identified and further described. A critical comparison of the roles and responsibilities will then follow in the next chapter. It will be analyzed, if there are sufficient delimitations and where are possibly overlapping areas. Finally, the conclusion will provide a summary of this work and derived perceptions.

2. Definitions

2.1. Project Management

Initially the term project meant something that comes before anything else happens. The term management evolved from the Italian and meant originally just to handle. Nowadays projects can be defined as temporary activities with the objectives of producing unique physical products or services. This includes clearly defined starting and ending points. The endeavor has to be unique - definably dif- ferent from similar or comparable products or services. A project may be the devel- opment of a new product or service, a change in the structure of an organization, implementing a new business process or developing a new IT-system6. More specific is Kerzner by defining a project with the characteristics of having specific objectives to be completed, defined dates for start and completion, limited budget, consuming resources and multifunctional alignment (includes several oper- ational functions). Project management also involves planning and monitoring of the projects. The phase of project planning includes the definition of the work requirements, of the quantity and quality of work, of the required resources and the definition of clear deliverables. Project monitoring consists of tracking progress, comparing actuals versus budget/forecasts, analyzing impact and preparing cor- rection measures as applicable. Successful is PM if the project targets are achieved within the fixed timeframe, within cost/budget, at the level of required quality, while utilizing the resources effectively and efficiently and with high satis- faction of the customer. In general, PM is planning, organizing and controlling of a company´s resources regarding relatively short-term objectives. These may lead to further specific aims and goals. PM utilizes the systems management approach by having functional personnel from the vertical hierarchy assigned to specific projects (horizontal hierarchy)7.

2.2. Project Manager

The vertical workflow is still within the responsibility of the line managers. PMRs are responsible for the horizontal flow of work. Their primary effort is the coordination and communication of activities horizontally among line departments8. According to the description of PM, the PMR can be defined as the person, responsible for the appropriate execution of PM.

A nice definition of the PMR gives Levis: “The person who has total responsibility for ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, within scope, at the desired performance level.”9

This definition may be valid in general. An overview, what kinds and sections of responsibilities are embraced shows:10

- the solution of problems, the organization and controlling of labor, and the configuration of psychological influences,
- the management of content and target of the project (factual level), of the approaches and processes (method level) and of the interactions and relations (personal level),
- fixing the common comprehension, the organizational modules, the au- thorities to objective, decide and command/give directives,
- the framework, keeping methods and instruments at hand.

Derived from the management-functions, the tasks and responsibilities of the PMR include planning (e.g. project strategy, project definition, quality planning, resource planning, finance planning…), organization/communication/coordination (e.g. defi- nition of roles, allocation of tasks and responsibilities, design of information-slow and reporting, design of communication within team and stakeholders, design of project culture…), leadership (e.g. selection and development of staff, initiating changes, promotion of collaboration including motivation and conflict solving, arrangement of decisions…) and controlling (e.g. recording and assessing pro- gress, integrated controlling of quality, deadlines, resources, cost, risk monitoring, ordering adjustments…)11.

The PMR must govern the resources to reach the project target within time and cost which may be difficult because most of the resources are owned by the line managers. So PMRs have to negotiate all the resources with the line managers12. For all contracts and conventions the PMR alone has in principle the authority to agree and to sign. With his signature he can create obligations for the company. Limitations are possible and should be fixed in the project contract13.

Beside these responsibilities the PMR has also the representation and staffing competence in the project. He is the personal and functional coach of the team and he will allocate the tasks internal in the project team and external to consultants14. In the staffing phase the PMR is the person with the most influence, because his attributes and attitudes may attract or disgust preferable team members. PMRs must love trouble associated troubleshooting. In addition, PMRs they must be able to professionally assess risk and uncertainty and in consequence, to prepare adequate corrective measures. Also beneficial are honesty, integrity, comprehension for personal problems, knowledge in project technology, leadership skills, management knowledge, communication skills, vigilance, speed, broadness, energy, toughness and the ability to decide15.

It is shown, that the PMR has extensive responsibilities and needs a lot of skills. The PMR has the leadership, including the authority to select staff members for the project and to generate and delegate work packages for them. For topics as quality management and controlling he can install special persons with the required abilities and knowledge within the core team.

2.3. Quality Manager

To recognize the quality of a product is not difficult: Washing powder cleans or chocolate tastes good. There are different opinions what quality means in a project. Meeting the deadlines without pain and work at weekends, ensure the project outcome, an existing emergency plan and documentation of the project progress with ensuring quality checks at milestones are only some examples16. Ensuring the quality in a project is one of the three components of the Magic Triangle, also referred to as Bermuda Triangle (time, cost, functionality/quality)17. So it is not possible to consider quality isolated, because higher quality will result in a higher demand in time and/or cost.

Quality Management in projects belongs to the functional responsibilities of the PMR and includes the creation of quality plans and quality monitoring18. Quality in PM can be distinguished into quality inside projects (quality of result/output, quality of processes, and quality of potential) and implementing of quality management in organizations with use of PM-methods. Quality has to meet the expectations of the customer. In general it is the collectivity of characteristics of a product or service and the appropriate process regarding the fulfillment of given requirements or expectations. The quality manager is responsible for four functions. Quality planning has the task to select, classify and evaluate the quality charac- teristics and also to specify the quality requirements and the target values. Quality control embraces all tasks to control quality determining processes and workflows including all measures with the aim of process monitoring and eliminating causes of errors. A part function here is the continuous check of actual data. Quality improve- ments are the tasks which should change the framework of PM, to raise the quality in following projects to a higher level. Quality assurance embraces all planned and systematic activities realized within a quality management system which could be displayed to establish trust19.

The functions of quality planning and quality control include also the definition of milestones and quality checks at these points in time (quality gates). Milestones are defined intermediate stages of a project, where defined conditions are fulfilled. Quality Gates are result- or event-orientated stages, where due to defined quality criteria the approvals of the next project steps will be decided. Somehow the quality gates can be seen as a consistent further development of the milestone approach20.

Quality also causes cost. But the cost of a quality management should compensate the cost of errors. A quality management system can cause prevention costs, appraisal costs, internal costs of errors (removal of defects within the realization phase) and external costs of errors (if the errors occur after delivery of the goods/services at the customer)21.

The QM is the person in a project responsible for all the quality management related issues described before.

Summarized and adopted in practice the QM should be responsible in the project team to define and ensure the required quality or functionality (quality inside projects). He is member of the project team as he ensures tasks and responsibilities for the PMR in purposes of quality. So he is also the internal and external contact person for all questions and tasks regarding quality and works closely together with the PMR.


1 Cp. Cobb, A. T. (2006), p. 2.

2 Cp. Cleland, D. I., Gareis, R. (2006), p. 5.

3 Cp. Chiu, Y. C. (2010), p. 12.

4 Ibid. pp. 3-4.

5 Cp. Cleland, D. I. (1994), pp. 4-6.

6 Cp. Chiu, Y. C. (2010), p. 7.

7 Cp. Kerzner, H. (2008), pp. 22-24.

8 Ibid. p. 23.

9 Lewis, J. P. (2007a), p. 7.

10 Cp. Keßler, H., Winkelhofer, G. (2002), p. 10.

11 Cp. Patzak, G., Rattay, G. (2009), p. 25.

12 Cp. Kerzner, H. (2008), p. 27.

13 Cp. Keßler, H., Winkelhofer, G. (2002), p. 40.

14 Cp. Burghardt, M. (2008), p. 111.

15 Cp. Kerzner, H. (2008), p. 147.

16 Cp. Probst, H.-J., Haunerdinger, M. (2007), pp. 68-69.

17 Ibid. p. 19.

18 Cp. Corsten, H. (2000), p. 8.

19 Cp. Patzak, G., Rattay, G. (2009), pp. 41-45.

20 Cp. Sondermann, J. P. (2007), pp. 400-402.

21 Ibid. p. 46.

Excerpt out of 22 pages


Responsibilities of Project Manager, Quality Manager and Project Controller. A Critical Comparison
University of applied sciences, Munich
International Project Management
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project management, project manager, quality manager, project controller, project responsibilities
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Andreas Winderl-Rudakov (Author), 2012, Responsibilities of Project Manager, Quality Manager and Project Controller. A Critical Comparison, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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