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What Does a Project Manager Do? What’s Their Roles? Duties?

Project management concept on a touch screen tablet.

Project management is one of the most sought-after careers worldwide as it serves a wide array of industries. According to statistics from Project Management, the number of project managers will be 87.7 million by 2027. In addition, over 70 percent of global organizations have project management offices.

This means that project management is a vital sector for the growth of different businesses. They are involved in day-to-day management issues which cover different entities such as schedule, scope, risk, quality, finance, and resources. The main role of project managers is working on specific projects that have designated outcomes, time limits, and budget allocation.

In this article, I will take you through the roles of project managers, and their skills, among other things.

What Does a Project Manager Do? What’s Their Roles? Duties?

Project management is one of the most on-demand careers in the contemporary world as such skills are vital in boosting business. Different industries require distinct project management skills but the inevitable ones include initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing. In addition, a project manager must have good communication skills and leadership qualities.

What Is a Project Manager?

Project manager team discussing a new idea.

A project manager is involved in organizing, planning, and executing the project. They are also involved in managing teams, dictating the goals of the project, being communication mediums, and ensuring that the project is fulfilled. There are numerous projects that a project manager can execute, such as developing computer systems, marketing campaigns, building construction, and launching new products, to name a few.

Despite the scope that a project manager works on, the main obligation is to ensure that meaningful tasks are accomplished. The project manager is responsible for the success or failure of the team. Other roles that project managers execute include leadership, offering moral support, and ensuring that the project works within the allocated budget.

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However, it can still be difficult to determine who is a project manager. This is because project managers deal with numerous types of projects, and they have vast experience and skills.

Responsibilities of a Project Manager

A manager pressing a project management button on a transparent screen.

The overview roles of a project manager are to plan, execute and ensure that the project comes to a conclusion. They should also ensure that the projects are completed on time and within the allocated budget. This helps them to shape the financial future of a company or business, reduce the costs incurred in running the projects, and boost revenue.

Nonetheless, the duties of a project manager will vary depending on the industry that one is allocated. All in all, there are five dominant responsibilities that are constant across all project managers, as articulated below:

Initiating

This is the first phase of project management, where the manager defines the main objectives of the project. During the initiating stage, the project manager discusses the expectations with the internal and external stakeholders and gains the authorization for the project to move forward. Some of the most important questions that a project manager asks during this stage include:

  • What does the project entail?
  • The specific problem that I should solve?
  • What are the expectations?
  • What is required for the project to be a success?
  • Who are the stakeholders behind the project?
  • How will the project be funded?
  • How has this kind of project been executed before?

Nonetheless, note that the project manager does not execute the whole project by themselves. In addition, most companies and businesses assign projects when substantial work has been executed.

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Planning

After the project manager has been assigned the task, they collaborate with the stakeholders to create an integrated project plan. This plan focuses on achieving the designated goals of the project. A project plan is important in helping the manager to have insights into the scope, cost, risks, timelines, communications, and quality concerns.

Planning is also essential in helping the project manager establish the key deliverables and milestones that should be completed in each stage. But you should note that planning is a continuous process that ends along with the project. It is like a “living project” that transforms and tweaks throughout the project.

Executing

After identifying what the plan entails, the team members embark on executing the tasks required in the project. These tasks are stipulated in ensuring that the goals of the project are attained. The project manager’s main role is to assign the tasks to the team members and ensure that they are completed as per the scheduled duration.

Other roles that the project manager performs during this stage are to direct the team when any changes arise, minimize any distractions in the process, and facilitate issue resolution.

Monitoring and Controlling

Although monitoring and controlling are listed as the fourth responsibility of a project manager, they are essential steps from the beginning of the project. In addition, monitoring and controlling are not only imperative during the start of the project but also part and parcel of planning, execution, and closing. The main roles of a project manager in monitoring and controlling include:

  • Following up on the progress of the project
  • Monitoring whether the project’s milestones are achieved
  • Managing the project’s budget
  • Making comparisons of the real-time performance against the scheduled one
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However, a project manager notices that things may not happen as scheduled in this stage. As such, the manager should be flexible and have skills and experience that will help the project move forward as planned.

Closing

This is the stage where project managers focus on ensuring that every step of the project is striving towards the completion of the project. Here, the project manager works on ensuring that:

  • Dismissing any resources and personnel who are not needed anymore in the project
  • Collaborating with the stakeholders and clients to get approval that the project is complete
  • Reviewing and analyzing the vendors and partners involved in the project and clearing their invoices

A good project manager should also conduct a post-implementation review which helps them outline the lessons learned in the project. This is because project management requires continuous learning, which helps the manager boost their skills and experience. In addition, the manager will understand what went as planned and how other steps and situations can be handled differently.

It is vital to advancing their project management career moving forward.

Bottom Line

Project management is a vital entity that touches on numerous industries worldwide in the current world. This is because a project manager has  skills and experience that help them push a company or business towards success. Although different industries require different sets of skills, the dominant responsibilities of a project manager include initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.