A project manager must be capable of demonstrating two different skills sets. For routine projects, such as the construction of an apartment building, the project manager should focus on managing the project to achieve the triple constraints of cost, schedule and performance goals. Good management also entails the ability to
*Create plans and objectives
*Monitor results against plans
*Take corrective action
*Marshall resources to meet performance requirements
However, there are other circumstances which call for leadership on the part of the project manager. In effect, project managers must often be able to deviate from what was planned, and introduce significant changes.
For example, a video game developer in Chicago was in the process of designing a new game when–in the middle of the project–a competitor totally leapfrogged the company in terms of technology. As a result, the project manager of the video game company had to go back to the sponsor of the project and get approval to come up with a totally revamped game-design which delayed the completion date. In this case, the project manager realized that existing plans had to be scrapped. Leadership involves recognizing and articulating the need to significantly alter the direction of a project, and then aligning the team to that direction.
If a project is well defined and no surprises are encountered, then the project manager can focus on managing the project. When there is great uncertainty that calls for a change in direction, the project manager must demonstrate leadership skills.