What Does Project Manager Actually Do?

Have you ever wondered what the role of a project manager actually entails? Well, let me break it down for you! A project manager is like the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring that all the different parts of a project come together harmoniously. They are responsible for planning, organizing, and executing various tasks, all while keeping a watchful eye on the project’s budget, timeline, and quality standards. From coordinating team members to communicating with stakeholders, a project manager is the ultimate multitasker, ensuring that projects are successfully completed from start to finish. So, if you’ve ever been curious about the ins and outs of this crucial role, keep reading to discover the world of a project manager.

What Does Project Manager Actually Do?

Table of Contents

Responsibilities of a Project Manager

Planning and Defining Project Scope

As a project manager, one of your key responsibilities is to plan and define the scope of the project. This involves identifying the objectives, deliverables, and milestones that need to be accomplished. By clearly defining the project scope, you ensure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and what the project will entail.

Creating Project Plans and Schedules

Once the project scope has been defined, it is the project manager’s responsibility to create project plans and schedules. This involves breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks, and assigning timelines and deadlines to each task. By creating a detailed project plan, you ensure that everyone on the team knows their responsibilities and can work towards achieving the project’s goals within the given timeframe.

Assigning Tasks and Managing Resources

A project manager is also responsible for assigning tasks to team members and ensuring that the necessary resources are available for the successful completion of those tasks. This involves understanding the strengths and skills of each team member and assigning tasks accordingly. By effectively managing resources, the project manager ensures maximum productivity and efficiency throughout the project.

Monitoring Project Progress

Monitoring the progress of the project is an essential responsibility of a project manager. This involves regularly tracking the completion of tasks, monitoring the project’s timeline, and addressing any issues or delays. By closely monitoring the project’s progress, the project manager can identify potential bottlenecks or obstacles early on and take corrective actions to keep the project on track.

Managing Risks and Issues

Every project comes with its fair share of risks and issues. It is the project manager’s responsibility to identify, assess, and manage these risks and issues effectively. This involves developing risk management strategies, creating contingency plans, and implementing mitigation measures. By proactively managing risks and issues, the project manager minimizes the impact they can have on the project’s success.

Communicating with Stakeholders

Effective communication is a crucial part of a project manager’s role. It involves maintaining open and clear lines of communication with all stakeholders, including clients, team members, and other relevant parties. By keeping stakeholders informed about the project’s progress, risks, and challenges, the project manager ensures transparency and fosters trust and collaboration.

Ensuring Quality Control

Maintaining high-quality standards is another responsibility of a project manager. This involves implementing quality control measures throughout the project’s lifecycle, ensuring that deliverables meet the agreed-upon standards and specifications. By prioritizing quality, the project manager ensures that the final outcome of the project meets or exceeds the expectations of the stakeholders.

Managing Project Budget and Expenses

Budget management is a critical aspect of a project manager’s role. It involves estimating the project costs, creating a budget, and closely monitoring the actual expenses throughout the project. By effectively managing the project budget, the project manager ensures that the project remains financially viable and that resources are allocated efficiently.

Coordinating with Team Members

The project manager plays a crucial role in coordinating and collaborating with team members. This involves fostering a positive team environment, facilitating effective communication among team members, and promoting teamwork and collaboration. By ensuring smooth coordination among team members, the project manager enhances productivity and ensures the successful execution of the project.

Closing out the Project

Once the project has been completed, the project manager is responsible for closing out the project. This involves conducting a final review to ensure that all project goals and deliverables have been met, documenting lessons learned, and transitioning any remaining tasks or responsibilities. By effectively closing out the project, the project manager ensures a smooth transition and allows for future projects to benefit from the knowledge and insights gained.

Skills and Qualities of a Project Manager


A project manager needs strong leadership skills to effectively guide and motivate their team. They must inspire and empower team members to perform at their best and drive the project towards success.


Effective communication is crucial for a project manager as they need to clearly convey project goals, instructions, and expectations to their team members and stakeholders. They also need to actively listen and provide feedback to ensure effective collaboration.

Time Management

Project managers must have excellent time management skills to ensure that projects are completed within the specified timelines. They should be able to prioritize tasks, manage deadlines, and allocate resources effectively to maximize productivity.


Project managers are often faced with unexpected challenges and obstacles. They need to possess strong problem-solving skills to analyze issues, identify solutions, and make decisions that will keep the project moving forward.


Negotiation skills are crucial for a project manager when dealing with stakeholders, team members, and vendors. They need to be able to find mutually beneficial solutions, resolve conflicts, and reach agreements that align with the project’s objectives.


Projects can often experience changes and unforeseen circumstances that require adaptability. A project manager should be able to adapt to changes swiftly, adjust plans if necessary, and guide the team through unexpected situations.

Analytical Skills

Analytical skills are essential for a project manager to evaluate data, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. They should be able to analyze project metrics, risks, and issues to ensure efficient project management.

Organizational Skills

Good organizational skills are essential for a project manager to keep everything on track. They should be able to organize tasks, documents, and resources in a structured manner to ensure smooth project execution.


A project manager should foster a collaborative work environment and promote teamwork among team members. They should encourage cooperation, trust, and effective communication to enhance team performance.

Risk Management

Effective risk management skills are essential for a project manager to anticipate potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate those risks. They should identify potential risks, assess their impact, and implement risk mitigation measures.

Project Manager’s Role in Different Phases of a Project

Initiation Phase

In the initiation phase, the project manager plays a vital role in defining the project’s objectives, scope, and stakeholders. They work closely with the client or project sponsor to understand their requirements and ensure alignment with the organization’s goals.

Planning Phase

During the planning phase, the project manager creates a comprehensive project plan that includes tasks, timelines, and resource requirements. They also assess potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. The project manager collaborates with the team to ensure that all aspects of the project are thoroughly planned.

Execution Phase

The execution phase is when the project manager oversees the actual implementation of the project plan. They coordinate tasks, monitor progress, and ensure that resources are allocated effectively. The project manager communicates with team members, addresses issues, and keeps stakeholders informed of the project’s progress.

Monitoring and Controlling Phase

In the monitoring and controlling phase, the project manager closely monitors the project’s progress, compares it against the project plan, and takes corrective actions when necessary. They track key performance indicators, manage risks and issues, and ensure that the project remains on track.

Closing Phase

During the closing phase, the project manager ensures that all project objectives and deliverables have been met. They conduct a final review, document lessons learned, and facilitate the transition of any remaining tasks or responsibilities. The project manager also communicates the project’s completion to stakeholders and celebrates the team’s achievements.

Common Challenges Faced by Project Managers

Dealing with Ambiguity

Projects often involve uncertainty and ambiguity, which can make decision-making challenging. Project managers need to be comfortable with ambiguity and possess the ability to make informed decisions with limited information.

Managing Conflicts

Conflicts can arise within the project team or between the project team and stakeholders. Project managers must be skilled in conflict resolution, negotiation, and fostering open communication to address conflicts effectively and maintain a positive working environment.

Handling Scope Creep

Scope creep refers to the tendency for project scope to expand beyond its initial boundaries. Project managers need to manage scope creep by clearly defining and documenting project requirements, managing stakeholders’ expectations, and prioritizing changes to minimize its impact on the project.

Meeting Deadlines

Meeting deadlines is crucial for project success. Project managers must effectively manage time, allocate resources, and monitor progress to ensure that project milestones and deadlines are met.

Managing Multiple Priorities

Project managers often have to juggle multiple projects or tasks simultaneously. They need to prioritize and allocate resources effectively to ensure that all projects progress smoothly and meet their respective deadlines.

Allocating Resources Effectively

Resource allocation is a key responsibility of a project manager. They must ensure that resources, including time, budget, and team members, are allocated optimally to maximize project efficiency and achieve desired outcomes.

Adapting to Changes

Projects may experience changes in requirements, scope, or timelines. Project managers must be adaptable and flexible to accommodate changes while ensuring minimal disruption to the project’s progress.

Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders

Stakeholders with conflicting interests or challenging personalities can pose difficulties for project managers. They need to effectively communicate, manage expectations, and build strong relationships to navigate such situations successfully.

Keeping the Team Motivated

Motivating the project team is critical for maintaining high productivity and achieving project goals. Project managers should provide recognition, support, and clear direction to keep team members motivated and engaged throughout the project.

Overcoming Communication Barriers

Effective communication is a common challenge for project managers, especially when working with remote teams or stakeholders from different cultures or backgrounds. Project managers must use various communication tools and strategies to overcome barriers and ensure clear and consistent communication.

What Does Project Manager Actually Do?

Tools and Techniques Used by Project Managers

Project Management Software

Project management software allows project managers to plan, track, and collaborate on projects. It provides features for scheduling, task management, resource allocation, and communication, simplifying project management processes.

Gantt Charts and Timelines

Gantt charts and timelines visually represent project tasks, milestones, and dependencies. They help project managers plan and track project progress, identify potential delays, and communicate project timelines effectively.

Risk Assessment Tools

Risk assessment tools help project managers identify and assess potential risks and their impact on the project. These tools facilitate the development of risk mitigation strategies and the monitoring of risks throughout the project lifecycle.

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Effective communication and collaboration are essential for project success. Tools like instant messaging, video conferencing, and document sharing platforms enable project managers to communicate with team members and stakeholders, fostering collaboration and efficient information exchange.

Budgeting and Tracking Tools

Budgeting and tracking tools help project managers manage and track project expenses against the allocated budget. These tools provide insights into resource utilization, costs, and financial performance, allowing project managers to make informed decisions.

Performance Tracking Tools

Performance tracking tools allow project managers to monitor and measure the progress and performance of the project and its team members. These tools track key performance indicators, productivity, and quality metrics, enabling project managers to identify areas for improvement.

Resource Management Tools

Resource management tools assist project managers in efficiently allocating and managing project resources, including team members, equipment, and materials. These tools streamline resource planning, scheduling, and tracking processes.

Change Management Tools

Change management tools help project managers manage and document changes to the project scope, requirements, or schedule. They provide a systematic approach to manage changes, including change request submission, evaluation, approval, and implementation.

Quality Control Tools

Quality control tools enable project managers to monitor and ensure that deliverables meet the required quality standards. These tools may include checklists, quality assurance processes, and testing tools to identify and address any quality issues.

Document Management Tools

Document management tools help project managers organize, store, and track project-related documents, including project plans, contracts, meeting minutes, and reports. These tools streamline document management processes and ensure easy access to project information.

Project Manager vs. Other Roles

Project Manager vs. Product Manager

While both roles involve managing projects, product managers focus on the development and management of specific products or services, while project managers oversee the execution of individual projects within an organization.

Project Manager vs. Scrum Master

A project manager is responsible for managing projects, whereas a Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating the implementation of the Scrum framework in agile projects. While project managers focus on overall project management, Scrum Masters ensure adherence to agile principles and facilitate effective teamwork.

Project Manager vs. Team Leader

A project manager oversees and manages projects, whereas a team leader is responsible for leading and guiding a team towards achieving specific goals. While project managers focus on project outcomes, team leaders ensure the day-to-day functioning and performance of the team.

Project Manager vs. Business Analyst

A project manager focuses on the overall management and delivery of a project, while a business analyst specializes in analyzing business requirements and translating them into functional specifications. While project managers ensure project success, business analysts contribute to project planning and requirements gathering.

Project Manager vs. Operations Manager

A project manager is responsible for managing projects with defined objectives and timelines, whereas an operations manager oversees ongoing operations within an organization. While project managers focus on project-specific tasks, operations managers manage ongoing processes and ensure operational efficiency.

Project Manager vs. Program Manager

A project manager oversees individual projects, whereas a program manager manages a group of related projects or initiatives that are strategically aligned. While project managers focus on project execution, program managers ensure the successful delivery of a group of projects to achieve specific organizational objectives.

Project Manager vs. Executive Manager

An executive manager is responsible for overall strategic management and decision-making within an organization, whereas a project manager focuses on managing individual projects. While executive managers operate at the organizational level, project managers concentrate on specific project goals and deliverables.

Project Manager vs. Consultant

A project manager manages individual projects within an organization, whereas a consultant provides expert advice and guidance on specific areas, often on a contractual basis. While project managers focus on project execution, consultants offer specialized knowledge and recommendations to address specific business needs.

Project Manager vs. Project Coordinator

A project manager oversees and manages projects, while a project coordinator provides administrative support and assists in coordinating project activities. While project managers have overall responsibility for project success, project coordinators provide coordination and support to ensure effective project implementation.

Project Manager vs. Technical Lead

A project manager manages projects from a strategic and organizational perspective, while a technical lead focuses on the technical aspects of a project. While project managers ensure project completion, technical leads provide technical expertise and guidance to the project team.

What Does Project Manager Actually Do?

Qualifications and Certifications for Project Managers

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of the most recognized certifications for project managers. It validates a project manager’s knowledge and experience in project management best practices, processes, and techniques.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is designed for project management newcomers or individuals who wish to gain foundational knowledge of project management concepts. It provides a solid understanding of project management principles and terminology.


PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) is a widely recognized project management methodology. It offers a structured and scalable approach to project management and focuses on the effective control and management of projects.

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)

The Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification validates a project manager’s knowledge and experience in agile project management methodologies. It demonstrates an understanding of agile principles, practices, and tools.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology focused on improving business processes and reducing defects. Project managers with Six Sigma certification have expertise in identifying and eliminating process variations for improved project outcomes.

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification is specifically designed for project managers working in Scrum teams. It validates an individual’s understanding of the Scrum framework, roles, and practices.

CompTIA Project+

The CompTIA Project+ certification is vendor-neutral and covers the essential project management skills and knowledge needed for project managers. It is an entry-level certification that demonstrates foundational project management skills.

PMI Risk Management Professional (RMP)

The PMI Risk Management Professional (RMP) certification validates a project manager’s expertise in identifying and managing project risks. It demonstrates the ability to analyze, mitigate, and control risks to enhance project success.

Certified Project Manager (CPM)

The Certified Project Manager (CPM) certification is based on a comprehensive body of knowledge covering project management concepts, skills, and techniques. It demonstrates a project manager’s competence in managing projects effectively.

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification validates a project manager’s expertise in using Microsoft Azure and DevOps practices for project management within a cloud environment.

Future of Project Management

Embracing Agile Methodologies

Agile methodologies are becoming increasingly popular in project management due to their flexibility, adaptability, and iterative approach. In the future, project managers will need to continue embracing and implementing agile practices to deliver projects more efficiently.

Increasing Automation

Automation technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, are transforming various industries, including project management. Project managers will need to leverage automation tools and technologies to streamline project processes and improve efficiency.

Remote Project Management

With the rise of remote work and distributed teams, project managers will need to adapt to managing projects in a remote environment. They will need to utilize communication and collaboration tools effectively and find innovative ways to maintain team cohesion and productivity.

Integration of AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies have the potential to enhance project management processes. Project managers can leverage these technologies for predictive analytics, risk assessment, resource allocation optimization, and decision-making support.

Sustainable Project Management

As sustainability becomes a priority for organizations, project managers will need to integrate sustainable practices and considerations into their projects. This may include reducing waste, utilizing renewable resources, and implementing environmentally friendly project management strategies.

Virtual and Augmented Reality in Project Visualization

Virtual and augmented reality technologies can revolutionize project visualization and communication. Project managers can use these technologies to create immersive project experiences, visualize project designs, and facilitate stakeholder engagement.

Enhanced Collaboration through Technology

Advancements in communication and collaboration technologies will continue to enhance project team collaboration. Project managers will need to leverage these technologies to foster effective communication, facilitate knowledge sharing, and promote collaboration among team members.

Continual Learning and Professional Development

In a rapidly evolving project management landscape, ongoing learning and professional development will be crucial for project managers. Staying updated on new methodologies, tools, and best practices will help project managers adapt to changing industry trends and deliver successful projects.

Project Management in the Gig Economy

The gig economy is on the rise, and project management is no exception. Project managers will need to adapt to working with freelance professionals and independent contractors, effectively managing project teams composed of remote and temporary staff.

Increasing Diversity and Inclusiveness in Project Teams

Recognizing the benefits of diversity and inclusiveness, project managers will need to actively promote and foster diverse teams. Embracing a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences can lead to enhanced creativity, innovation, and project success.


Project managers play a crucial role in ensuring the success of projects by effectively managing resources, communicating with stakeholders, and overcoming challenges. Possessing a range of skills and qualities, project managers serve as leaders, problem-solvers, and change agents. With the help of various tools and techniques, project managers can navigate the complexities of project management and deliver successful outcomes. As the future of project management evolves, project managers need to embrace agile methodologies, leverage automation and technology, and adapt to changing work environments to drive project success in the years to come.

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