Project managers play a very important role on a project; they are the light that guides the team through the perilous forest of risk to ultimately meet success. Projects cannot run without them, but project managers do have a dark side. In a post for Project Manager’s Playbook, Brad Rach elaborates on the risks project managers can bring and how to combat them.
The Enemy Within
The project manager adds great value to a project through their experience, improvement techniques, and outside perspective. However, they additionally add risk with their lack of knowledge if it is a technical project. Project managers who have less experience to bring to the table, and consequently less knowledge, pose a risk because as the project manager they are supposed to hold some information, or at the very least be able to expand their knowledge. Such problems can still occur if the organization takes the approach to rotate through project managers, in that they will develop basic understandings of various areas of the business but still not necessarily enough to excel in one specific area. When one project manager is constantly using their skills in the same area, they will develop them further and be less of a risk to the organization.
What Rach says project managers must remember is that they are not the subject matter expert (SME) of the system but rather of the process. This means they must be open to learn anything and everything possible, not letting delusional ego obstruct the project. Ultimately, project manager risk should be approached just as any other risk would. Begin by talking to the team and uncovering their perceptions of risks. They can then help to brainstorm ways to minimize and remove risks.
However, the bottom line is that it is the sole responsibility of the project manager to be aware of the risks they may bring to the project, and to take the proper preemptive action to minimize their impact. You can read the original post here: http://projectmanagersplaybook.net/what-happens-with-the-project-manager-adds-risk/