What Does a Project Manager Do

Ever wondering what does a project manager do all day! The answer is quite simple – communication, communication & communication among key stakeholders of that particular project.

A project manager is a person who is accountable for the success and failure of a project as he or she is the one who got the project charter to utilize project resources for the better interest of the organization. He/she should complete the project within time, budget and acceptable deliverables to end-users.

They say the project manager is like a juggler who wears a lot of hats & plays around. He/she is qualified with a degree in Project Management and additional certifications like PMP etc. that help him/her to perform his/her tasks better.

What does a project manager do.

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All of us know the importance of a good project manager for the success of a project. A  project manager plays many different roles ( and has many responsibilities ) and lets us briefly discuss each of the main roles played by the Project Manager :

What Does a Project Manager Do?

In modern era project manager jobs has been changed from traditional one like just to execute the project and that it. Nowadays, project managers are more involved in strategy and leadership. Hence, they are getting a thick salary. You can say project managers salaries have been increased much from 5 to 10 years back.

To get more idea about Project Manager salaries you can visit  Glassdoor. the average salary in the US around is 90,339 USD and additional benefits also there. But this all depends upon experience, knowledge, skills, etc. But you can evaluate all from this as the data is collected from real project managers.

The ability to accomplish objectives and delegate tasks through other people is a very important skill that a manager should possess. Managers must be able to successfully control the execution of the methods from the start to the end of the project. They have to make sure that the schedules and tracking are smoothly flowing. They must be always prepared whenever it is necessary for them to step in to make changes if in any case problem or delays may occur. The troubleshooting and problem-solving abilities are another two the important skills that a manager should learn. It is their responsibility to keep the project on track and take the project back on the line if some things go wrong.

For instance, the objective of the project is to film a commercial for the launching of a client’s product and the assigned actor to act has suddenly cancelled his appointment at the very last minute. It is the responsibility of the manager to take the right action whether to replace the actor or rescheduled the filming. Project managers are all expected to be thoughtful and professional making them good decision-makers. They usually step into the project and work in any capacity just to make the project successful. They will follow all through the project areas and make sure that each team leaders are crucial about the success of the project. If the team leader neglects to follow one part of the project or when the objective was not reached and the project didn’t go as what it has planned the manager will more likely to take the blame since the failure of any project is the ultimate responsibility of the project manager.

Managers are certified professionals in project management for a specific job title.  These individuals have graduated in universities or have taken a class in local community colleges.  Some of them have also joined in a volunteer or social organization and gained the first-hand experience in the field of project management.

Project Essential Routine Tasks:

He/she is performing all the task for the project like Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing out Projects

He/she will define the project, prepare a comprehensive plan according to Statement of Work-Contract, managing the allocated budget. He/she will supervise during execution and must have checks to avoid any scope creep or gold plating.

The project manager measures /tracks the progress of the project constantly against the plan and takes corrective actions if needed to be on the track.

Project managers are responsible individuals assigned to handle a team of people to complete a project. They work in different types of industry and are held accountable for the outcome of a particular project. These individuals must have enough knowledge on what is project management and well trained for their duties that includes organizing, planning controlling, managing and following through all parts of the project.

1. Guarantee Objectives:

A project manager should only sign a project charter once he has gone through all the requirements. He/she is the one who must guarantee to achieve project objectives by maintaining the three project constraints time, cost & time also quality.

2. Managing & Mentoring Team:

Project Manager should have leadership skills to manage his/her teams well. He/she needs to resolve any kind of conflict to make sure a win-win situation if possible, for both parties. He/she is the recruiter also.

He/she must know to get optimum productivity from his/her resources and have the core responsibility to remove any obstacle.

Project manager allocates the resources to the specific tasks and assigns responsibilities too so that everybody in the project team are clear about their respective roles and there is no confusion.

Yet another important role of a project manager is the role of a motivator. The PM  inspires the project team members to meet the objectives and stay focused so as to overcome the challenges of the project and achieve the goal. Project manager gives feedback to the project team members and gives the sub-ordinates an environment to progress and never looks for the scapegoats to put the blame for small hiccups or delays.

3. Project Plan:

A project manager is a person who should prepare a project plan including all the phases by careful work breakdown structure.  Project planner/s can be recruited to help out.

A project manager has to make sure that the project is defined correctly and is completely successful. Apart from the project schedule, a project manager has to plan for the tasks sequences, their interdependencies and Budget estimation also..

4. Engaging Stakeholders:

His/her main objective should be to work better interest of the organization he/she is working for. He/she needs to provide a realistic picture to stakeholders according to their interest. Stakeholders management is one of his/her hats to keep on.

It always needs to be patient when dealing with stakeholders as one key stakeholder can ruin the whole project. Careful analysis will show the resistant, challenging and positive stakeholders. He/she should keep a proactive approach to manage this adverse one.

A consultant working on your project may be an adverse stakeholder as he /she can lose a job once you are done with an ongoing project – he/she may use bad tactics to prolong the project to retain a job.

The project manager has to take care of the interests of all the stakeholders and at the same time has to maintain the quality of the project too. The project manager has to make sure that all stakeholders are involved and are available whenever needed.

5. Decisions Making:

A project manager is the one who makes more decision than any other stakeholders involved in the project. Although a project sponsor is the one who has final authority to major decisions. During decision making, he/she should take care of better interest in the organization working for. He/she should make better logic to define his/her decision.

6. Knowledge Sharing:

He/she is acting like a mentor during the project phases for his/her team but after the project is complete and delivered then it is his/her responsibility that to prepare a detailed lesson learned report that will help the organization to deal with future or ongoing projects.

Lesson learned reports should contain all the failures so that the organization can avoid making those mistakes again.

He/she should involve all the project teams to get input. Lesson learned should be recorded through the project phase not at the very end only as he/she may have only a few team members at the very end.

7. Ensure Quality:

A project manager job is to maintain the workflow with quality. Lean Project management techniques can be helpful to get optimum result.

8. Risk Mitigation:

A project manager job is to do an extensive analysis of the risks on the project through careful application of project management tools and techniques. A risk register should be maintained throughout the project life cycle. Avoid, sharing, mitigation, acceptance, exploit and transferrence techniques should be thoroughly applied.

A project manager has to be good at “ risk management “ and should be able to identify risks in time and develop possible responses to these risk in advance.

9. Single Point of Contact:

The project manager acts as a “Single Point of Contact ” for all the project communication whether it involves project team members or the stakeholders. In other words, a project manager has to come up with an effective communication plan.

10. Problem Solver:

A project manager has to be a “ Problem Solver”   and should be good at anticipating the likely problems and should they occur then he has  to take care of them by taking corrective actions

11. Information  management

The project manager manages all the relevant information, documentation and communications in the project.

I have intentionally left a few other possible roles that the project manager plays and the readers are invited to contribute with their understanding of the topic.

Roles Vs Project Management

There are considerable distinct differences between the project manager roles and project management. Let’s deal with some of these differences right now. The project manager role involves strategic level thinking. This means that he/she is charged with instilling a sense of vision and direction for the project, managing members of the team, coordinating communications with managers across functional lines as necessary, delegating and supervising project sub-leads, establishing communication venues, and steering the aforementioned items during the process of the project management lifecycle.

Everything else can be considered project management support roles. These can be assigned not to the manager of the project, but to subordinates such as project leads, forecasters, project engineers, metrics specialists, and any number of other roles. The manager oversees the complete procedure.

That is just a basic distinction of the two roles, although there will always be some overlap across businesses and even departments. The project manager is, in fact, the director of a particular project, and the people working under him or her are those charged with implementing the different elements.

Wrap Up

This guy does a lot more than is described here. He /she deals with different contractors, change orders, client, consultant. As you know every party has his/her own interest and hence he/she needs to use his/her all type of soft-skills to get the job done in an efficient manner.


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More Reads: Project Management Interview Questions

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