Principal project manager


A project is a temporary process or endeavour which has a clearly defined start and end, a set of activities and tasks, a budget and a specified business case. It is undertaken to deliver a unique and well-defined product, service, goal or objective or to deliver well-defined benefits. ICT projects undertaken within the Queensland Government are managed in accordance with the endorsed project management methodology (access to Queensland Government employees only).

A principal project manager is responsible for ensuring the project is completed on time, on budget, within scope, to the business requirements and meeting quality standards. A principal project manager must ensure success of the project by managing risks and minimising their impact throughout the life of the project.

The principal project manager is responsible for the creation of project documents and reports that are used to determine the progress and success of the project. These documents ensure there are detailed implementation plans for the project, that relevant approvals have been gained, that each phase of the project is completed and that agreed milestones have been met before moving to the next phase.

A principal project manager exhibits a combination of capabilities from the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Leadership competencies for Queensland.

Within the SFIA profile, the principal project manager has level 5 and 6 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined and initiates and influences their use. The SFIA profile is outlined below.





Strategy and architecture

Consultancy: Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.5 - ensure, adviseCNSL

Business change

Project management: Takes full responsibility for the definition, documentation and successful completion of complex projects (typically greater than 12 months, with significant business, political, or high-profile impact, and high-risk dependencies), ensuring that realistic project, quality, change control and risk management processes are maintained. Monitors and controls resources, revenue and capital costs against the project budget and manages expectations of all project stakeholders.6 - initiate, influencePRMG

Business change

Stakeholder relationship management: Supports business change, acting as a single point of contact for senior stakeholders, facilitating relationships between them. Ensures that stakeholders understand available IT services, and promotes financial and commercial awareness in order to deliver value-for-money. Conducts analysis of demand for services and influences stakeholders to ensure that the necessary investments are made to deliver required services. Negotiates at senior level on technical and commercial issues, to ensure that customers, suppliers and other stakeholders understand and agree what will meet their needs, and that appropriate service level agreements are defined. Oversees monitoring of relationships including lessons learned and appropriate feedback. Initiates improvement in services, products and systems.

6 - initiate, influenceRLMT
Business change

Change implementation planning and management: Ensures that there is a business perspective on how the new technical capabilities will be delivered to the business, including planning around key business cycles, selecting appropriate customers for migration, etc. Initiates the business implementation plan, including all the activities that the business needs to do to prepare for new technical components and technologies. Ensures sites deliver site implementation plans that align with the overall plan. Tracks and reports against these activities to ensure progress. Defines and manages the activities to ensure achievement of the business case after delivery. Outlines key business engagement messages that need to take place throughout the program/project.

6 - initiate, influenceCIPM

Strategy and architecture

IT governance: Puts in place, or confirms, staffing structures to support the work of the board and proper relationships between the organisation and external auditors. Takes responsibility for review of management processes (and decisions) and confirms that they are compliant with the organisation's strategy for corporate governance of information. Is familiar with relevant standards and the principles embedded within them. Reviews new business proposals and provides specialist advice on compliance issues. Acts as the organisation's contact for relevant regulatory authorities. Establishes policy and standards for compliance with relevant legislation, which are fit for purpose.6 - initiate, influenceGOVN

Business change

Benefits management: Promotes the change program vision to staff at all levels of the business operation, brings order to complex situations, and keeps a focus on business objectives. Works with senior people responsible for the line business operation, to ensure maximum improvements are made in the business operations as groups of projects deliver their products into operational use. Maintains the business case for funding the program and confirms continuing business viability of the program at regular intervals.6 - initiate, influenceBENM
Strategy and architectureBusiness risk management: Carries out risk assessment within a defined functional or technical area of business. Uses consistent processes for identifying potential risk events, quantifying and documenting the probability of occurrence and the impact on the business. Refers to domain experts for guidance on specialised areas of risk, such as architecture and environment. Co-ordinates the development of countermeasures and contingency plans.5 - ensure, adviseBURM

The principal project manager is aligned to Queensland Public Service Capability and Leadership Framework level 8.




Shapes strategic thinking

Inspires a sense of purpose and direction

Provides direction to others regarding the purpose and importance of their work.Illustrates the relationship between operational tasks and organisational goals.Sets work tasks that align with the strategic objectives and communicates expected outcomes.

Achieves results

Builds organisational capability and responsiveness

Reviews project performance and focuses on identifying opportunities for continuous improvement.Identifies key talent to support performance.Remains flexible and responsive to changes in requirements.

Cultivates productive working relationships

Natures internal and external relationships

Builds and sustains relationships with a network of key people internally and externally.Proactively offers assistance for a mutually beneficial relationship. Anticipates and is responsive to internal and external client needs

Exemplifies personal drive and integrity

Demonstrates public service professionalism and probity

Adopts a principled approach and adheres to public service values and Code of Conduct.Acts professionally and impartially at all times and operates within the boundaries of organisational processes and legal and public policy constraints.Operates as an effective representative of the organisation in public and internal forums.

Communicates with influence

Negotiates persuasively

Approaches negotiations with a strong grasp of the key issues, having prepared in advance.Understands the desired objectives and associated strengths and weaknesses.Anticipates the position of the other party, and frames arguments accordingly.Encourages the support of relevant stakeholders.Strives to achieve an outcome that delivers benefits for both parties.

Entry points

Whilst a formal tertiary qualification is considered highly advantageous to work as a principal project manager, it is not essential. Significant experience working within project teams is essential and experience within the area of ICT is highly regarded. Very strong communication and negotiation skills are essential, as is a thorough understanding of the project objectives and goals. Skills in team leadership and risk management are essential for a principal project manager.

Undergraduate courses in information technology and post graduate courses in project management are well regarded. Experience in PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology is essential.

The endorsed Queensland Government Project Management Methodology is based upon the PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology. Training in project management fundamentals should be undertaken before any training in the Queensland Government Project Management Methodology.

Learning and development

There are a number of ways to develop and improve project management skills. Formal training and on the job experience are important ways to improve and develop the required skills.

Skills in project management can be gained by attending courses in project management.

Extensive information on project management is included on the Queensland Government methodologies website for use by all Queensland Government agencies.