What Is a Project Manager? (Duties and Qualification)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 2 October 2022
Published 23 August 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Project managers are professionals who lead teams during the planning, initiation and completion phases of a business project. Companies in different industries hire project managers to oversee their projects and direct employees during the entire course of the project. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of project managers can help you deliver results for your employer and improve your earning potential as a professional. In this article, we discuss what a project manager is, list their typical roles and responsibilities, qualifications and outline the steps for how to become one.
What Is A Project Manager?
A project manager is a professional who leads a project from its inception to completion. They are accountable for the project scope, resources, budget and how the project performs. These professionals work through every stage of a project's lifecycle and are responsible for methodically separating projects into different phases. A project manager then oversees each phase individually to ensure high-quality work from start to end.
7 Common Project Manager Roles
Some of the common project manager roles are:
1. Developing a project plan
A project plan clearly defines the project's cost, timeline, risks and other specifications. In this phase, a project manager defines the project's scope and creates a schedule that helps guide the project from start to finish. They outline deliverables and tasks and assign resources to ensure timely competition of work as per requirement. Also, these professionals match the project deliverables with the business goal to help understand how a specific project would affect the business's bottom line. Employers prefer candidates with excellent project planning, as a plan can help in influencing critical business decisions.
2. Organising the team
Another important role of a manager is to create and organise a team after the project receives approval from the management team. Using their interpersonal skills, they assess the qualities of every team member, including their strengths and weaknesses. After team selection, they allot tasks, provide necessary resources and conduct meetings. They also develop a plan to ensure that all team members can reach their goals while maintaining a high standard of work.
3. Implementing the project plan
A project manager coordinates the completion of milestones and different project phases. They establish efficient workflows and monitor the progress of their team. During project execution, a manager maintains effective collaboration between different stakeholders. This ensures that everyone working on the project has the same information, and the project runs smoothly without facing any issues.
4. Analysing risks and managing time
A project manager often conducts risk analysis to uncover any potential project-related risks. Once they identify the potential issues a project can face, they develop a solution for each of them. This ensures that the project reaches the completion phase without facing unnecessary issues. Also, these professionals ensure that all projects are closed within the set deadline. Employers prefer candidates with excellent time management skills because this ensures the timely completion and execution of projects. Time management involves creating a project's schedule and setting up deadlines for every team member.
5. Monitoring the project performance
During a project's lifecycle, every project is likely to experience problems and issues. This makes it essential for a manager to monitor the project's performance. A project manager uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine whether the project is on track. They ensure there is no deviation from the initial plan and make sure of timely completion of project deliverables. Upon encountering any deviation, they adjust resources and schedules to bring the project back on track.
6. Conducting project meetings with the team
Project managers require constant communication with team members to bring a project to closure. They may have a friendly chat or a formal one-to-one meeting to understand the progress of the team. Whether they conduct a daily stand-up meeting or opt for a spring planning session, these project meetings help managers understand the potential issues their team faces while performing their tasks.
7. Documenting project reports
For providing a detailed report from initiation of the project to its completion, a project manager documents activities of their team members. Apart from creating the progress report, a project manager creates a final report documenting the entire project. The final report includes details like project tasks, resources used and issues faced by the project team. In this report, a project manager makes a recommendation for similar future projects.
Related: What Is the Role of a Manager?
Responsibilities Of A Project Manager
A project manager's primary role is ensuring seamless project management to achieve collaborative goals. Some of their responsibilities include:
Meeting with clients to understand a project's brief and exact requirements
Developing comprehensive project plans and sharing them with clients and team members
Planning and creating budgets and making adjustments in the project based on budgetary constraints
Facilitating change requests for a project and communicating the change to all stakeholders
Identifying and developing new project opportunities with the client
Conducting a post-project evaluation to identify successful and unsuccessful elements
Preparing project status reports by gathering and analysing project-related data
Solving issues faced by the project team
Developing strategies to foster innovation and leadership in project teams
Qualifications Required To Become A Project Manager
To become a project manager, a candidate requires the following qualifications:
To start your career as a project manager, complete your graduation in any subject from a recognised university after completing your 10+2. A degree in business management or administration can help you know about various management styles and enhance your project management skills. An MBA degree in any field can help you secure a job in an acclaimed company. Alternatively, you can complete a diploma in project management or a relevant field to increase your chances of entering this industry.
A certification in project management can give you an edge over other candidates because employers often prefer hiring candidates with project management related certifications. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certifications.
For project management positions, employers usually prefer hiring candidates with experience in leadership roles. This could include project management or other management roles. Also, having experience in specific industries or fields can help you get a job of your choice. For example, management of architectural projects requires work experience in architecture or any other related industry. If you want to become a project manager but lack the required experience, look for leadership roles in your current organisation. Lead smaller teams to success, gain experience and move to different project management roles.
Project management roles require a high level of refined skills, as a project's success often depends on how well you manage the project. Here are some essential skills to master for this role:
Communication: The ability to communicate client requirements to team members is essential for project managers. You may also need to give updates to stakeholders, write project reports and share the project's performance with others on your team.
Leadership: The ability to lead by inspiring and motivating employees is another desirable skill. Using these leadership skills, a project manager can set goals, increase the team's morale, coordinate tasks and provide a schedule for project completion.
Teamwork: A project manager uses various tactics and strategies to encourage team members to perform as a group. They work with all team members and help identify their strengths and weaknesses to allocate work for optimal project results.
Problem-solving: Being able to understand and define what problems your project is facing is a skill that can help you avoid confusion and misunderstanding in your team. Skilled project managers provide a feasible solution to problems and develop strategies to overcome those issues.
Risk management: Skilled and competent project managers often need to take calculated risks to achieve project goals faster. That is why employers prefer hiring candidates who can justify taking a risk and how their action affects the project.
Active listening skills: For understanding the project's scope, active listening skills are imperative. Employers typically prefer candidates who can actively listen to a speaker without distraction and clarify any doubts by asking questions.
Motivation: Competent project managers know the art of motivating team members to work harder to achieve timely delivery of every assigned task.
Adaptability: Factors such as client requirements and budgets may change, resulting in significant challenges to the project team. Being adaptable can help managers cope up with stress and help maintain the team's morale.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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