Translating the Business Needs: The Role of the Project Manager

PMI Northern Alberta Chapter

Craig is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and has worked with ProjectManagement.com for the last six years developing the various HEADWAY processes (Project, Change and Portfolio). He has hosted a series of webinars and is a business intelligence subject matter expert.

Project managers play many roles on projects. Given the complex nature of many of our projects, we are negotiators, coordinators, schedulers, planners, business partners, mediators, facilitators, accountants and Sherpas…so many roles all crammed into a solitary person. Few other professionals bring together such a multitude and diversity of talents. The project manager is a complex beast.

Looking at the roles I listed above, I realize I forgot one. Translator.

Wait…translator?

Yes. Translator.

Think about it. Translators are responsible for taking the incomprehensible and making it understandable to a diversity of audiences. They take the complex and make it simple by translating it across language and cultural barriers. In both spoken and written form, the translator plays a key role in helping the larger world to understand a given culture and people. Conversely, they allow that same given culture and people to better understand the culture of the wider world.

The project manager has a similar responsibility on the project. To start, a good translator must be proficient in both of the languages involved in the translation. He must not only have a firm grasp on his native tongue, but also have a strong capability in the language he is translating into--a superior knowledge of only one limits his ability to do a proper translation.

The project …

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