Are You A Task Manager Or Project Leader? (& Is It Important)

The world has changed. Why is this happening? Smartsheet transforms your work.

Patrice Embry, my friend and colleague, has written what I consider an important article titled “Don’t Always Be the One Taking Notes (Why PM is Not Admin).”
Yet, being the project manager is still a common phenomenon that I see all around.
Another thing I see is that too much time is spent making sure people get their job done, rather than being the one who looks three steps ahead and clears a path.
So I thought I’d go one step further and ask you: What are you NOT doing as project manager when you get bogged down in admin and task-level micromanagement?
This article will discuss the value of a digital project manager and the potential cost of having too much administrata in your day. Let’s take a look at:
How perceptions can influence your actual duties
Task management and project administration are both important.
Great project management is essential in a digital environment.
There are three ways to find the balance
Ready? Set? Go!
This article explains.
How perceptions influence actual duties
The Value of Task Management and Project Admin
The Value of a Project Manager in a Digital Context
Find the Balance and 3 Ways to Do It
How perceptions can influence your actual duties
Patrice’s article is full of great tips that are still relevant three years later. But, there’s one thing I want to draw out from her article and expand on. It’s this:
While anyone can take notes, not everyone can code. While anyone can clean up the conference room after a meeting ends, not everyone can design the website’s front end.
Sometimes it feels like a simple decision: If you have non-essential work to do, give it to the non essential team member.

Patrice Embry
The end result is that project managers’ day-to-day lives are shaped by unfounded expectations and baseless perceptions. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. People will see you clean up after a meeting once and then the next time they will see it as part your job.
The same thing happens with task level micro-management. You first came to them a week ahead of the deadline to remind them and offer to remove any obstacles. They now feel that they don’t have to meet their deadlines or raise their hands if they’re having problems.
Remember that perceptions can shape reality, just like all good things. There is no escape from this fact.
The Value of Task Management and Project Administration
Let’s not go any further, but let’s first clarify two things.
First, sometimes the little things can be your job. At least, in the sense that the project must continue moving efficiently and fluidly. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want the technical architect to explain how long it took to set up the meeting room.
The second is that task management, project administration, and project administration are really important and valuable. It is not good for your project to miss a deadline. It is not a good idea to force timid people to become roaring Lions in order to raise a blocker.
Actually, it is not good for your project to have someone who charges hundreds of dollars an hr making coffee for clients (yes, this is a nod towards Lindsay’s comment about Patrice’s article on investing in project managers).
Check this out: Workshop: Manage Your Clients, Not Your Team!
The Value of a Great Project Manager in a Digital Context
We must also consider the other side of this equation: What are the most valuable assets?