2. The role of the project manager

Really, the role of the project manager is simple. They have to achieve the project objectives, using the resources allocated for it, to accepted quality standards, in the time allocated for it. When you dig into that, of course the job can be extremely complex.

The project manager should normally not do the work, but should organize others with the relevant skills to get it done.

In a humanitarian response, the project manager is often not involved in the initial identification of the project objectives and scope. Assessment teams will see what is happening, analyse the situations and will identify high-priority objectives for the women, men, boys and girls that have been affected. Proposal writers or senior managers may have written proposals that define the limits of the project (in time, location, budget, general approach, etc.). As a project manager, you are often given a set of restrictions which you need to work within. However, you will need to see as soon as possible, whether it will actually be possible to achieve the objectives within those restrictions. The sooner you find out that it may not be possible, the easier it will be to find ways to work within or around them (such as coming up with innovative new approaches, or finding complementary projects that support the achievement of the same objectives).