Last Updated on April 30, 2021 by Mandy Schmitz
A project manager’s responsibilities include planning projects, leading teams, keeping the company’s project within budget and on time, and ultimately taking responsibility for its success and failure. Since a PM is someone who glues and keeps things together, it is vital to work towards becoming an efficient and effective one.
By reading through the basics of each aspect of a project manager’s career growth in this guide, you can become part of this work line right away. However, we may need to address a few crucial questions before moving towards some vital tips to help you become a prolific project manager.
According to the PMBOK® Guide—Fourth edition (PMI, 2008a, p. 434) the definition of a project is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique project service or result.” Projects are temporary and close down on the completion of the work they were chartered to deliver.
Furthermore, the PMI, the Project Management Institute, states that “a project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.
And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. So a project team often includes people who don’t usually work together – sometimes from different organizations and across multiple geographies.”
Projects are for example:
- The development of software for an improved business process
- the construction of a building or bridge
- the relief effort after a natural disaster
- the expansion of sales into a new geographic market — these are all projects.
Everything must be properly managed to deliver on-time, on-budget results, plus deliver the learning and integration that companies require.
Project management, therefore, is according to the PMI, the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.
Project Management has always been practiced informally, but it began to emerge as a distinct profession in the mid-20th century. PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) identifies its recurring elements:
Project management processes fall into five groups or phases:
- Monitoring and Controlling
What makes up the project lifecycle are the phases of a project. And for tracking and control purposes, a PM can divide the project into customizes phases. Thus, the manager can then elaborate and track each milestone at each stage for completion.
The project type you are working on will determine the basic phases and milestones of your project. You may have different names for each phase of a project, such as developing a building or a metro, while a software project may have implementation, test, build, and requirement phases.
Therefore, the kind of deliverables you seek for at each phase will determine how you name each project’s phases. You can divide a project into the following phases for example:
- Initial charter
- Scope statement
With each phase of your project, you can have a set of deliverables that you have agreed upon with the stakeholder before the project commences. If you’re running a software project, you will need to generate the required documents for the requirement phase, the design document for the design phase, and so on. A specific milestone is associated with each phase of the project. With that, you can track the set of deliverables that each phase must deliver for closure and compliance.
A project manager’s role is mainly but not exclusively focussed on planning, monitoring, executing, controlling, and closing projects. Project managers are ultimately responsible for the project’s success or failure, and the whole project’s resources, the project team, the scope, and the budget.
A project manager manages critical client projects. His or her responsibilities include project coordination and completion within scope, budget, and time.
The PM also sets up reports for upper management concerning the project’s status, summarizes, monitors, and assigns responsibilities for the project’s progress, sets deadlines, and manages every aspect of the project.
Project managers also ensure that the deliverables are within the applicable budget and scope while working directly with clients. They also hire new talent to fulfill customer needs, ensure compatibility with other parallel projects and coordinate with other departments.
As a project manager, your work includes being competent in managing all project aspects, including resources, quality, risk, finance, schedule, and scope, apart from being responsible for the daily management of the project. The skill to stay within budget, adhere to time limits, and achieve definite outcomes with a specific project is also what your work as a PM entails. You may also have to deal with:
- Ensuring that the project provides the predictable benefits and outcomes
- Dealing with project changes when necessary
- Ensuring the project is on budget and time
- Coordinating work done by different people and external suppliers
- Motivating the team involved in the project
- Ensuring that the team completes the work according to the expected quality standard
- Examining the risks involved in a specific project and managing these risks
- Planning projects, assess what’s the ideal timeline in light of your organization’s other projects and initiatives
- Plan, secure, and brief the resources that will carry out the project
To be a successful PM, you need to have many skills, whereas these skills are not all technical. These are job-specific abilities that you have developed through training and education, and you apply them daily.
A good project manager needs hard and soft skills, like:
- Project planning
- Managing budget and risk
- Making decisions
- Excellent communication
- Ability to encourage and motivate others
- Relationship building
- Leadership skills
- Dealing with stress
By definition, a PM is a leader. Many essential leadership skills will be beneficial that will lead to producing excellent work. Skills and competencies of a project manager include:
So, what are the primary responsibilities of a project manager?
In the broadest sense, some main responsibilities include organizing, planning, directing specific project completion as they safeguard these projects to be within scope, budget, and time.
Project managers are responsible for monitoring complex projects from inception to completion and can shape a business’s trajectory, increase revenue, maximize business efficiencies, and reduce cost.
The project types the PM has the task of overseeing, their organization, and industry will determine a project manager’s exact duties. However, project managers share responsibilities across the board concerning the 5-phase project life cycle that has five phases, as mentioned earlier:
- Monitoring and controlling
You may want to consider these as steps, but they are not. Instead, a project manager continues to return to these processes throughout a project’s life. Since project managers influence decision-making than anyone else in an organization, they must use their skills to win employees’ respect and keep that throughout the project and into the future. Other responsibilities of a PM include:
As a PM working in the United States, you can expect to earn around $116,000 per year across all industries. Most project managers’ salaries range from $93,000 to $140,000, which is the highest. Location, gender, skills, or experience determine the salary of a project manager.
Years of experience also affect a project manager’s salary. It is also the most important factor that determines the salary. Typically, your wage will increase once you have more experience. If you don’t have up to two years of experience as a PM, you can expect to earn about $58,800 per year and approximately $81,100 per year if you have between two and five years of experience. You can earn about $115,000 per year at an experience level of five to ten years.
When your experience spans anywhere between ten and fifteen years, you can expect to earn a salary of $141,000 per year and $148,000 per year if you have between fifteen and twenty years of experience. With more than twenty years of experience, you can get a salary of $162,000 per year if you have.
You might be wondering how you could become a PM yourself, now that you understand some of the PM’s responsibilities and why project management is quite important. You will realize that being a project manager can be a rewarding career when you get into it. Therefore, you can have the opportunity to make a real difference to a business’s bottom line. With the rise in demand for project-based work, the PMI estimates that businesses will need about 2.2 million fresh project-oriented roles in a year through 2027.
No wonder more people want to become a project manager and explore the project management career path, with all the opportunities for managers and other related roles on the horizon.
More than 97 percent of businesses know how crucial good project management is to their success. Sadly, several project managers don’t gain skills and certifications during their career and tenure in the project management field. Whether you consider it or not, you can get enormous help to advance your career with project management certifications. Businesses will hire you to help with their projects, you could work with top-notch organizations as a certified professional or freelance project management consultant.
It would help if you got a project management certification because:
- It is a smart future investment
- Improves project performance
- You can get better job opportunities and challenging projects
- You could expect a salary increase
- Of its global acknowledgment
You can move your career forward through some of these project management certifications:
Even though product managers and project managers carry out different responsibilities and tasks, people often use them interchangeably. Even though the two are involved in managing something, what makes the difference is what they are managing.
It is crucial first to identify the difference between a product and a project. A product does not necessarily involve a set timeframe, and it creates continuous value for clients. A project has a clear definition for delivery and activities as a temporary endeavor.
The focus of product managers is to create a product that the company’s customers want and need. While creating a vision of the products’ future, they are also responsible for managing its entire life cycle. Some of the factors that govern a product manager’s job role are agility and continuous development since customers’ expectations and needs change every day.
Another key responsibility of a product manager is to create a product roadmap. They can detail the particular steps that the product team needs to take while meeting the product vision through the product map. However, the product manager’s job continues even after finishing the product. Their responsibility involves monitoring the product’s continuous development and progress with promotion and market research after its creation.
Some of the PM’s responsibilities involve splitting strategic plans into task-oriented, actionable initiatives. They supervise a project’s delivery and ensure that it is completed within a set of resources, budget, and time. Essentially, their responsibility is to ensure success while putting the plan into action and monitoring its progress.
It can be quite difficult to manage a project’s scope as the project manager needs to manage risks or any issues that may emerge, manage the project team while allocating and aligning resources, budgets, and time. A project manager needs to be a well-organized individual.
Both program and project management styles have basic concepts. Since programs are ongoing, greater efforts and projects are single-focused, smaller endeavors, the difference is mostly based on scope. Regarding overall responsibilities, scope, and size, the differences are profound even though it tends to be subtle in project manager vs. program manager.
In terms of overall organizational and leadership style, both project managers and program managers have basic similarities. However, there are also considerable differences.
|Project managers deal with their staff directly, while this is not necessarily the case for program managers.|
|Programs are longer-term endeavors of up to 3 years while projects are usually shorter and are delivered with a year.|
|Program managers tend to be more senior and have advanced knowledge of the organization as well as project management methodologies.|
|Project managers usually manage smaller budgets due to the shorter duration of projects vs. programs.|
|Program managers have even larger responsibilities than project managers.|
|Program managers have far more resources under their watch. Programs certainly have a defined endpoint even though they can go on for years, as it is a combination of related projects that feed into a greater overarching objective.|
To sum up, While the program manager has the responsibilities of tracking and managing the programs’ big picture and overarching deliverable, a project manager on the contrary focuses solely on the one project at hand.
It is crucial to develop the necessary skills to execute a project from initiation to delivery if you want to pursue a career as a project manager. One way you can learn is to ensure you earn an advanced project management certification or degree. With that, you can get hands-on experience in the field while enhancing your marketability to employers, increasing your salary, and improve your skills. You could also turn this into a freelance project management consultant role in the long term.
Get in touch today to get your projects done professionally.