What is a Project Manager?

Project managers have the responsibility of the planning, procurement and execution of a project, in any undertaking that has a defined scope, defined start and a defined finish. The NT is a bit unique due to land tenure (Land Councils) and funding (mostly Government). There are five basic elements which starts with an Idea, Planning, Procurement, Delivery (construction/renovation) and handover/closure.
Each of these elements have various requirements in themselves and may include the following:


This is usually decided through local consultation making sure that the ideal is supported by all stakeholders and is achievable, viable and required.


This can include available funding, timelines for funding and construction (wet/dry season), contractor availability, Land Tenure, Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) clearance, developing a scope of work and many other considerations. A Project Management Plan, Safety Management Plan and Environmental Management Plan may also be developed depending on value and risk. The most critical part of a successful project is having a clearly defined scope of work.


This generally involves the tendering process or gaining quotes depending on value and risk keeping in mind any policies you may be bound by due to the funding source. Once the process is complete and approved the delivery phase of the project can commence.


This is the construction phase which involves a multitude of elements from managing budgets, milestone payments, contractor resources, site inspections, monitoring of any change to scope and scope creep etc.


Once construction is complete and depending on the type of work a Certificate of Occupancy may be required as well as other test results for Air Conditioning (HVAC), Hydraulics (plumbing) etc. In addition any final payment minus the retention sum for the agreed Defects Liability Period should be finalised together with any drawings, manuals, operational procedures etc.

Why is expereince in project managing important?
Much of what is learned through experience is not written in a book. In particular the NT has requirements that other parts of the country don’t, such as Land Tenure and AAPA clearance. In addition to this some communities have multiple land tenures within themselves which is extremely important with greenfield projects. Roads are also a prime example where experience with land tenure is critical as some communities have all three Council, NTG and Federal Government controlled roads within them.

Risk to the project is reduced through an experienced Project Manager. It’s important for a number of reasons which all relate to successful delivery of the project. Non delivery can lead to many negative outcomes such as a community not receiving infrastructure, money being returned to the funding provider, risk to Corporate Image and lowering the chances of receiving future project funding.


What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a project manager for an indigenous corporation?
I’ve had no big challenges working for an Indigenous Corporation and am fortunate enough that Yandamah have a varied portfolio and do things I enjoy outside of Project Management. The biggest challenge is remote logistics with rough roads and having to rely on your own ingenuity when things go wrong.

Any passion projects to help support local businesses?
I drive all projects to support local businesses where possible because these are the people that are in the NT for the long haul and support local sporting clubs etc. They form an integral part of regional communities and without them we wouldn’t exist.


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