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Smart City Project Manager

Smart City Project Manager

As it was pointed out in the previous article, thanks to the project Skills4Cities we came to the conclusion that three professions are among the most relevant for facing the challenges of the smart city projects implementation and they are:

  • Smart city project developer
  • Smart city project manager and
  • Smart city project advisor

This, the third consecutive article is about the second from the mentioned above job roles, the Smart city project manager (PM).

Role description

The role of a Smart City project manager (PM) can be played by an external professional, hired, based on a time contract or on a project basis as well as an internal person that occupies a position in the city administration (in rarer cases). She or he could be a practitioner preferably with at least a bachelor’s degree in ICT/Electronics/ Computer Engineering, many years of technical expertise, and project management certification, recognized by international project management certification bodies. The Smart City PM could be engaged by the city’s governments or other city’s stakeholders to manage and implement various smart cities projects based on the previously developed terms of reference. She or he may participate also from the beginning of smart city project development, being included fully or partially in participatory work with the Smart City Project Developer, a job role that we have already described in the previous article.

Apart from the experience, knowledge, and skills in the project management and coordination, in general, this PM must be able to demonstrate many other abilities including knowing and effectively explaining the city digital transformation strategy and the specific project approach to external partners audiences, or other stakeholders and the role of the project he/she runs within the context of the strategy documents of the city. She or he must have strong management skills including strong leadership and team working, the ability to provide strategic guidance, technical oversight, build strong teams, mentor staff, develop work plans, and manage budgets and project expenditures. One of the most important roles of the PM is to effectively manage the network with partners at all levels (local government, development partners, private sector, NGOs, and Academia).

More than other project managers the Smart City PM must demonstrate written, analytical, presentation, reporting, and computing skills and familiarity with modern communication systems (internet, world wide web, email, etc), as well as very good knowledge of matters related to the digitalization, ICT policy and regulations in these areas. And because of the nature of the smart city projects, this PM must be particularly well skilled in conflict and change management. As well as Smart City Project Developer she or he must know very well the critical success factors and the usual mistakes one city makes when implementing smart city projects and know good practices and have experience from other smart city projects. The Smart City PM monitors and supervises the work of Smart City Consultants (advisers), institutions, government staff, and other partners, facilitates meetings, and, as far as possible, ensures the timely and responsive delivery of outputs and reports. Provides to institutions/consultants visiting or engaged in assignments, including preparing itineraries, appointments and assisting with travel and other logistical arrangements.

Responsibilities and duties

Smart City PM provides required technical leadership and administrative support to coordinate and implement project activities across a city while ensuring effective linkages to the core strategy and objectives of the transformation process of the city into a smart city. Prepares and coordinates an annual work plan for submission to the head of digital transformation services. She or he reviews and prepares analysis and research on the sector, using regional and global resources including academia and industry.

The PM helps the departments of the municipality in bringing new allies and strengthening the commitment of existing partners. Establishes close collaboration and working arrangements with an interdisciplinary team composed of experts from local government, private sector, NGOs, and other professional associations, to ensure good coordination, collaboration, and timely conduct of Smart City activities. She or he follows through the mobilization of funds/resources from other development partners and institutions to complete the financing of the Smart City projects. Provides periodical reports on the progress of project activities and issues arising. Participates in project meetings and workshops and other activities as required. Prepares the terms of reference and identifies consultants/institutions to undertake assignments in accordance with the approved work plan.

What is the relation and similarity of this job role to other job roles?
To my understanding, this job role (profession) is quite similar and close to other commonly accepted and used in the professional world professions like Certified Project Manager, Project Management Professional, EU Project Manager.

The next article will be dedicated to the description of the third identified job role (profession) namely the Smart City Project Consultant (advisor).

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Cluster Sofia Knowledge City (CSKC) is an association of enterprises from knowledge-intensive industries, universities, R&D organizations related to the chain of production and supply of technologies, products, and services. It is a tool for joint actions of the business, education, and science with urban and public institutions to generate and effectively use knowledge, know-how, and scientific infrastructure for the benefit of the city. The main goal and policy of the cluster are to stimulate the development of the market for intelligent and breakthrough technologies and to attract talents necessary for the digital transformation of businesses and cities.


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