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Project Manager vs. Technical Lead - Roles
sharon willson Brea, Ca, USA
Does anyone have experience with defining roles and responsibilities for a Project Manager and Technical Lead on VERY large Infrastructure projects? I'm especially looking for cases where there are multiple platforms and platform leads as well as an overall technical lead. We're trying to distinguish Proj Mgmt R&R vs. Tech Lead R&R
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Juan Monroy Distrito Federal, Mexico
The first thing to do is to define each role. In this case the project manager is the role that will manage the complete project, program or portfolio which normally includes technical leads as part of the project team members. The technical lead will lead a part of the project were her/his experience is related and needed.

Secondly, the responsibility of the project manager is to ensure that the outputs of the project match the customer needs (PMI talking would be Time, cost, scope and you can add quality). The responsibility of the technical lead is to delive the assignated task included in a specific project.

Hope this helps.
Bipin Lekshmanan PMP Project Manager| Wipro Technologies Edison, Nj, USA
overall accountability and coordination would lie with PM while specific activity related responsibilities can be given to TL. The HR management facets can be added to PM role as TL would be focused on constructing deliverables.
Mark Price Perry Business Driven PMO Evangelist| BOT International Orlando, Fl, USA

Dear Sharon,

This topic comes up fairly often in complex projects. I agree with Juan and Bipin and would only add that there can be, and needs to be, a little bit of flexibility in your "Project Human Resources Management - Organizational Planning Process" to accommodate different situations, needs, and opportunities.

For example, in one situation your technical lead may be brought in as the "overall technical guru" to be consulted in complex technical matters, but not to do the work of your sub-project platform teams. In another situation, perhaps more common, the technical lead is the sub-project team lead and will likely have responsibilities for both managing the sub-project effort and performing as a team member of the sub-project.

In distinguishing project roles and responsibilities, a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) can be a great help. While a RAM based upon standard R&R criteria such as RACI, RASCI, or PARIS works fine for most projects, for mega complex projects you might find it more helpful for your specific project effort and organizational environment to put together a "customized" and more detailed RAM that provides more insight and clarity into just what kind of R&Rs exists for all of the project participants, especially your project manager and overall technical lead.

Lastly, if you have a spare ten minutes, you might enjoy listening to "The PMO Podcastâ„¢: Episode 92 - Organizational Planning with a Responsibility Matrix" which provides an overview of what a RAM is and discusses the standard as well as customized RAM techniques.

Good luck..!

Mark Perry

VP of Customer Care

BOT International

Bipin Lekshmanan PMP Project Manager| Wipro Technologies Edison, Nj, USA
I'll agree with Mark.
Bethany Schoenick PMP Montgomery, Al, USA
Hi Sharon,

Along with the other suggestions below, you could look directly to the job description - the responsibilities listed for a PM would be quite different than a Tech Lead. I copied two such that I found on just as examples - each situation might be slightly tweeked - TECHNICAL LEAD, * Lead internal and external technical consultants on data conversion, system interfaces, data cleansing, data archiving, environment builds for global single instance of EnterpriseOne.
* Lead the technical planning, designing, coding and testing of EnterpriseOne.
* Provide leadership and technical guidance to all levels of personnel regarding programming/system related issues for the new ERP environment.
* Escalate issues.
* Provide guidance on change control and security set-up for a validated software system.
* Liaison closely application support groups to ensure a global plan is in place for post go-live support.
* Develop strategic plan for staffing and skills development of technical support staff.
* Lead the creation of data schemas for application topology.
PROJECT MANAGER, - In partnership with the business owner and the product management and engineering teams, the project manager leads the effort and is responsible for driving each project to success, ensuring delivery on-schedule, to scope, and within budget. This includes tracking and reporting cost, resource and schedule variances from plan, and developing contingency plans to bring the project back into alignment with cost and schedule commitments.

- Anticipates and communicates project related forecasts such as budgets, resource contention and burn rate issues, task slippage, etc. surfacing risks and issues; with the objective of implementing remedial contingencies. Will be held accountable for ensuring that project tasks are accomplished to schedule; or that appropriate contingencies are implemented.

- Responsible for driving the overall planning, management and completion of information technology projects and technical implementations.

- Leads projects by ensuring scheduling, delegating and monitoring project tasks, and reviewing project deliverables.

- Responsible for all project communication, including project status reporting and organizing project meetings and documents discussion and action items.

- Ensures all project documentation is complete, accurate, and current.

- Ensure that Project Management enterprise standards, guidelines and methodologies are in place and adhered to.

- Responsible for coaching, developing and managing project staff and ensuring business practices are effectively used
nir patel Melbourne, Vic, Australia
if a project manager can ensure that, whilst meeting time, budget, resources and the performance specification, the customer needs can be met.
Ermal Xorxi Project Manager| Infosoft Systems Tirane, Albania, Albania
Hi all,

Does anyone have any experience where both PM and Technical PM are engaged in the same project?

The roles and responsability would roughly be:

Technical PM is responsible for managing the small project inside the big project. Small project meaning the technical - implementation part, which consist of:\
Having a clear vision of the implementation to be provided and the needed resources, managing the technical team and the deliverabels and timeline of agreed schedule with the PM, making primary analysis and collecting technical requirments, etc.

Project manager, would have Technical PM as the SPOC of the technical team and would go on with other PM duties as, Stakehokder Management, Business Requirements Management, Risk Management, etc.

Also if whats above makes sense, how deep would you consider the Technical PM role on managing resources, if those resources are shared with other project? Would it be his responsability or would he have to request and have close communication with the PM?"


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