Latest SEARCH Issue Brief Answers Question: What is an "Accidental" Project Manager?

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Public safety operations, communications, or first responder personnel may find themselves in the position of managing an IT project for their organization—sometimes with little or no preparation, or while balancing their primary job assignments.

This trial-by-fire nature of project management has resulted in a new term: the "accidental" project manager.

A new Issue Brief prepared by SEARCH defines what an accidental project manager is, explains why project management matters, and outlines how to effectively manage this reality. It is geared toward public safety personnel who have operational expertise, but who may not necessarily have project management training.

The brief looks at—

  • The 10 areas of project management
  • Common project constraints
  • Tips for how to succeed
  • Foundational tools that support project success

While it does not teach the process of project management in detail, the Issue Brief is intended to introduce readers to the common project management steps and considerations. It is also oriented toward common public safety projects such as records management systems or computer-aided dispatch (RMS/CAD) deployments, rather than custom software development projects.

The Issue Brief was prepared under funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which published the guide June 29. It was authored by former SEARCH staff Benjamin R. Krauss, PMP.

The Issue Brief is available for download from SEARCH's website, as well as that of the COPS Office. It will also be available in hard copy via the COPS Office Response Center. To order a copy, reference the document title:


The guide is the eighth in a series of Issue Briefs prepared by SEARCH and published by COPS that address best practices and key topical issues related to public safety communications interoperability.