Why every IT manager needs a PM – Shauni Lorie

#TobaniaStories   |   18 12 2023

From decoding the mysterious language of project timelines to navigating the swift waters of scope changes, our Project Managers (PMs) certainly get their act together when it comes to tackling challenges. But what exactly motivates them? And where do they perceive their own considerable impact? Well, we asked them in our blog series “Why every IT Manager needs a PM”. Featured in this edition: Project Manager Shauni Lorie. 


10 questions for Project Manager Shauni Lorie:  

How does having a Project Manager (PM) within a team contribute to effectively overcoming project challenges? 

During a project, there are many different matters that the project team has to deal with. A Project Manager knows how to keep track of all these things by monitoring the overall picture and providing extra attention to the many challenges associated with the project. In this way, he/she ensures that those challenges are discussed and incorporated effectively. 

What are three reasons for a manager to hire a PM? 

Project Managers are people who actually specialise in leading projects. For me, the fact that this someone is an expert, is the key reason for hiring a PM. In a nutshell: the essential things a PM brings to the table are: structure, overview of the overall picture and monitoring those boundaries, preferably achieving the necessary results as well. 

What recurring project challenges do you observe for which a PM can provide the appropriate solution? How do you think a Project Manager plays a crucial role in the success of IT projects? 

The greatest struggles we encounter is that projects do not achieve the required outcomes because people get lost along the way or in their own perceptions. A PM ensures that everyone keeps the same goal in mind by providing an overview of the overall picture and keeping people focused on the ultimate goal. In addition, proper communication is crucial as well. During IT projects I have been involved in in the past, this was even more important because there, operational people often started dreaming beyond the agreed requirements. 

Can you share a success story in which effective communication positively influenced project outcomes? 

When I joined my current client, they hadn’t had a Project Manager on the project for quite some time. Chaos reigned. So, in the short term, I mainly tried to break everything down into clear chunks and provide an overview of what was needed to complete the entire project. Communication to the various stakeholders was crucial in this phase. Result: in short order we managed to knock off a clear and structured project plan. 

““Just work according to one specific process and stick to it. And even more importantly, adapt to the environment you find yourself in. What works for company X with project Y will not work for company Z with project A.” “

Which methodology do you think usually comes in handy in project management? 

There exist various types of project management methodologies and there is a story to tell for each of them. Most importantly: just work according to one specific process and stick to it. And even more importantly, adapt to the environment you find yourself in. What works for company X with project Y will not work for company Z with project A. 

From which stage can a PM deliver added value? 

A Project Manager can provide added value right from the outset of a project. That is precisely the strength of a PM, namely that he/she is capable of making a difference in every single step of the way. 

How does a PM influence team dynamics and what strategies can you use to foster a positive and collaborative work environment? 

A PM provides structure and guidance, as well as cohesion among the project team. I myself try to serve as the glue between the different departments and personalities. To do this, I mainly use my own personality to ensure that we are able to work together in a positive way. But, of course, everyone has to interpret this to some extent, I guess. 

What differentiates a highly effective project manager from others who take on the role of project manager in addition to their assigned role? 

As I mentioned above, a PM is someone who specialises in leading projects and is completely dedicated to that. If I fancy a cake, I will visit the bakery since they specialise on baking. The bakery staff makes much nicer cakes than I do myself and also manages this in a much shorter time span than I can. Just like a PM handles projects. 


Thanks, Shauni, for the inspiring interview!