Since a Project Manager's task is to ensure the meticulous coordination of projects from inception through to the finishing touches, can't a group of adults manage without one?
The short answer is: "No, they cannot."
There are 3 aspects to this answer:
1. Skill Set
Each person has their skills. Project Managers have skills that other team members do not have - or have not perfected - such as identifying all the required components for the project to be completed, making sure they are all being done in the correct order and ensuring their integration.
Without a Project Manager, a team will arrive at the finishing line only to discover that some crucial aspect of the project has been overlooked.
2. Cheering Squad
For some reason, people perform better when they have an audience.
Twice a year at Answers.com we collected money for Ezrat Avot. For the past few years I did the collection, starting with an email to the entire company.
Since everybody knew this charity fund, and they all planned on contributing, one would assume that a simple follow up email closer to the deadline would be sufficient.
However, when I ran a full campaign, with weekly colorful emails and other gimmicks, we collected a lot more money.
Why this is I do not know, but sports teams also seem to perform better when they have a cheering squad and their fans in attendance.
So too, a Project Manager with his constant updates, nudging and encouragement, creates this psychological affect of having people perform better.
One would assume that athletes who are intent on winning would be able to train without any help. Yet most - if not all - pro athletes have a training coach. Somebody who can advise them, cheer them on and provide feedback.
Sports teams also have coaches - some of which are paid a fortune. No self respecting team would dream of trying to win a league without a world class coach.
So too, a winning project needs an experienced and professional Project Manager to to ensure the meticulous coordination of projects from inception through to the finishing touches.
- Danny Schoemann
Lecturer and Consultant; Project Management, Risk Assessment and Crisis Control