Project Support: Support for the Project Manager

In addition to the role of the project manager, which is described in detail, various roles can be defined to support his activities in traditional project management. In large construction and plant engineering projects and sometimes also in industrial research and development, it is common practice to fill such a project support role in addition to the role of the project manager, who is responsible for the project. For the project manager, this is both a relief and a help in creating transparency in the project. However, the project support roles neither replace project managers nor can they relieve them of the responsibility for the success of the project.
A statue of a hand holding a branch.


Tasks of the project support

The main task of the project support is to ensure and carry out the economic, timely and contractual handling of project-related commercial matters. This already makes it clear that they must have business management and legal knowledge.
The following job description, taken over and modified from the plant construction sector, shows the powers, tasks and responsibilities of the project support.

Requirements for the project support

1. Responsibility of the project support

The project support is responsible for ensuring that the project management tools provided are used as well as possible and that project activities are transparent at all times.

2. Powers of the project support

The project support may instruct the project manager and sub-project managers to use specific project management tools and to provide information on the status and trends of tasks and work packages.

3. The main tasks of project support

A project must be planned, controlled and managed in a cost-effective manner. To this end, the project support provides appropriate and user-friendly systems for planning and controlling the project. If not available, the project support installs a suitably structured and secure information and reporting system for the project.

4. Tasks of the project support in detail

The project support plays a decisive role in the successful implementation of projects. They support not only individual planning tasks, but also overall project planning and control. The goal is to ensure orderly, economical, transparent and complete project implementation. To this end, they work closely with the project manager and the steering committee to ensure the smooth implementation of the project.

One of the important tasks of project support is to ensure proper and complete internal project documentation. This makes it the central source of information on the current status and trends of the project being supported. To make this possible, they develop a suitable information system that meets the specific requirements of the project. This includes, for example, the creation of forms, an effective reporting system and the provision of IT support.

In addition, the project support is responsible for planning calculations, and target / actual comparisons. They prepare trend analyses to assess the use of resources, costs, deadlines and the progress of the project. If necessary, they propose corrective measures and encourages the managers involved to analyse the initial planning situation in good time.

Another field of activity of the project support lies in assisting the project manager with quotation, order and ongoing costing. They supervise the application of the necessary methods and instruments for structured project handling to ensure a clear overview of the current project status. They also ensure that up-to-date information on deadlines, project progress and costs is always available and also keep an eye on the performance status of subcontractors and partners.

Project support and its organisational characteristics

In order to ensure sustainable project management for the projects, the functions of the project support can be performed in different forms and organisational integration, e.g., as a project assistant, directly under the project manager or as a project management office (PMO), which is organised as a service provider for project managers.
While the project assistant supports the project manager directly in the ongoing project, for example by collecting and processing project data on deadlines, costs and services rendered and making them available to the project manager, the project support tasks in the PMO can be provided decentrally, i.e., as a service for several projects, in the case of large or a large number of parallel projects. The PMO can be expanded to become an internal provider of complete project management services. In this context, the range of tasks of project support can be broadened to include, for example, the functions of a
  • project coordinator, who explicitly helps with time monitoring and deadline issues, 
  • project controller, who focuses on cost tracking and budget monitoring, and
  • project quality assurence expert, who monitors performance progress and helps to ensure quality 
to various specialists. Assigning tasks to experts who are professionally trained in the areas of time and budget monitoring, and legal and quality assurance, helps to ensure that deadlines, budgets and performance requirements are met.


The project support is an important addition to the project manager in order to handle projects efficiently and transparently. They bring business and legal knowledge to support the planning, control and management of the project. By clearly defining tasks and responsibilities, the project support relieves the project manager and at the same time contributes to the success of the project. Appropriate integration of project support into the organisation, for example through a project management office, enables effective support in the implementation of multiple projects. Delegating specific tasks to subject matter experts ensures compliance with deadlines, costs and quality standards.

Project Support - The Author
Author: Dr. Roland Ottmann
Keywords: Project management, Project support

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For better readability, we usually only use the generic masculine form in our texts. Nevertheless, the expressions refer to members of all genders.