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Non-Project Manager 101 and Resources

All you need to start handling projects without a certification

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Who's a non-project manager?


A non-project manager is anyone who manages and is responsible for the work of a team or group of people but who isn't a certified project manager. A non-project manager is typically a functional manager (any manager in marketing, sales, engineering, product development, etc.) but can also be literally anyone who works on an undertaking with a set start and end date. Does this seem like you? In that case, congratulations for discovering that you're a non-project manager!

Signs you are a non-project manager

You’re a manager in sales, marketing, engineering, product development, etc.
You work on initiatives with start and end dates.
You’re a manager in sales, marketing, engineering, product development, etc.
You handle people as part of your work.
You’re responsible for managing the work of a group/team.

Doesn't project management require specialized training?

The nature of projects has changed considerably. Nowadays, the focus is more on people management rather than merely managing time, resource use, and budget. Also, as the complexity of projects has increased over time, organizations have begun using functional managers (who are subject matter experts) to handle projects rather than appointing professional project managers who, while great at the nuances of project management, still require training on the subject matter.

Modern functional managers are capable of handling project responsibilities.

How are non-project managers different from
conventional project managers?

Conventional Project Manager
  • Project management certified
  • Handles projects as the primary responsibility
  • Focuses on methodology
  • Typically approaches projects objectively
  • Typically not an SME
  • Assigns and tracks
Non-Project Manager
  • Not certified in project management
  • Handles projects as an unstated additional responsibility
  • Focuses on getting things done
  • Places emphasis on team members (people centric)
  • Typically an SME
  • Collaborates and coordinates
So, is being a non-project manager mostly about managing people?

Yes, in fact that's the major difference between a traditional project manager and a non-project manager. While a traditional project manager considers a project primarily in terms of the constraints of time.

What are some challengesnon-project managers face?

These are only some of the challenges thatnon-project managers tend to face:
  • non-pm-brown-tick Lack of communication among project team members
  • non-pm-brown-tick Lack of clear project goals and success criteria
  • non-pm-brown-tick Unrealistic project deadlines
  • non-pm-brown-tick Keeping up-to-speed on project progress (tracking)
  • non-pm-brown-tick Documenting learnings to optimize future projects
  • non-pm-brown-tick Identifying the right project management tool

How can I, as a non-project manager, deal with these challenges?

Many of the challenges in handling projects have to do with the quality of communication between project team members. Optimizing the quality of communication can help overcome most of these.
  • non-pm-green-tick Be people centric
  • non-pm-green-tick Place emphasis on communication
  • non-pm-green-tick Get all stakeholders on board
  • non-pm-green-tick Set project milestones in time
  • non-pm-green-tick Add time buffers for tasks
  • non-pm-green-tick Document project learnings

How does using the right tool help a non-project manager?

The right project management tool can make a world of difference to a non-project manager. The tool for a non-project manager is one that's simple to use, flexible, and intuitive. It enables them to plan their projects and map them out without stress. This tool is one that does not have a steep learning curve and which one can get started on quickly. Ultimately, the best project tool does not require users to be familiar with project management jargon or methodologies in order to make use of it.

The right project tool for anon-project manager

  • non-pm-pink-tick Doesn’t require knowledge of project management jargon
  • non-pm-pink-tick Intuitive and flexible
  • non-pm-pink-tick Uncluttered on features
  • non-pm-pink-tick Negligible learning curve
  • non-pm-pink-tick Negates the need for constant tracking
  • non-pm-pink-tick Scales up with project complexity

An intuitive and flexible projecttool for the non-project manager