Need of an hour, Project Managers play a huge role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. This blog looks into the project manager’s role & responsibilities, benefits, relevant certifications, expected salaries, and crucial skills.
Let’s begin with a bit of history. It all started in the late 1980s when Microsoft was launching an ambitious project and faced a problem: the project involved a lot of players. Teams ran this project from engineering, marketing, and business, and no one knew how to coordinate these different teams. And there, Microsoft came up with this clever solution that gave birth to the role of ‘Project Manager’. They chose a person to take charge and were given the authority to organize and coordinate their new project. Once this dedicated person came on board, handling everything became a cakewalk. The teams were elated with the smoothness brought to the work dynamics. And this way, Microsoft launched its project, which is now known worldwide as “Excel.” Glad about the success obtained by this new role, Microsoft made this role a staple for all their projects. And today, Project Managers have become a significant part of any organization.
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Who Is A Project Manager?
Project Managers are a crucial part of any project as they lead the project; hence, they help plan, execute, control, and closeout projects. They are responsible for the entire project scope, project team, resources, budget, success, and failures. So, this person is accountable for organizing, planning, and executing the project and ensuring work is within restraints. Project Managers lead teams, define goals, communicate with stakeholders, and see a project closure.
Be it about launching a new project or service, constructing a building, running a promotional campaign, creating a computer system, a Project Manager is responsible for a project’s success or failure. Hence, their role is in demand in just every industry. This article covers different aspects of project managers, like their role, responsibilities, and much more, so let’s get started.
Who Are Project Managers, & What Are They Like?
Project Managers are mainly people with an exceptional entrepreneurial mindset, which allows them to think about a project beyond the basic skill set required to manage it. They ensure that the knowledge and information flow seamlessly. They need both technical knowledge & skills and first-hand knowledge of tasks assigned to others to keep the project moving forward. Their technical knowledge allows them to communicate the ideas effectively to everyone involved in the project. They can use their technical understanding to win the respect of their team members. Their primary task is winning the respect of employees and keeping it throughout the project and into the future.
The project manager’s job is to direct the teams and their members to the finish line. Hence, ultimately, the project manager is responsible for the success or failure of any project and is held accountable for the result.
Job Description Of Project Manager
Project Managers are responsible for executing an initiative. First, they are responsible for the earliest ideation stages and then coordinate components and budget. Ultimately, they manage these components through to their final delivery. However, project managers are not involved in deciding which project to take on, nor can they directly manage most resources involved in execution. Mainly, the success of implementation and delivery lies with the PMs.
They set the project’s schedule and roadmap and ensure all deliverables and the documentation are ready for each phase. At the same time, they keep stakeholders informed on the project’s current status, comprising any scheduling impacts of budgetary changes. Often, they assign specific resources to certain tasks, which they can do directly. However, they also do this by coordinating with the other people’s managers.
They are also responsible for conducting meetings to constantly review progress with the implementation team to work on any issues that might cause delivery delays. This role is highly cross-functional and involves interactions & collaborations with various parts of the enterprise, including product manager, marketing, engineering, finance, operations, and quality assurance.
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What Are The Primary Responsibilities Of A Project Manager?
The Key Roles & Responsibilities Of Project Managers Are:
1. Plan, Plan, & Plan
Excellent planning is instrumental in the success of any project, and often poor planning is the reason for project failures. Hence, project managers must define the scope of the project and control available resources. They know how to set time estimates realistically and evaluate the capabilities of all the teams and their different teams’ members. Accordingly, they craft a clear and concise plan to execute the project and supervise its progress. Projects can be unpredictable; hence, good project managers understand how to make adjustments as required as the project moves towards the final stage.
2. Organizing & Motivating Is Their Forte
One outstanding attribute of good Project managers is they don’t stress their teams with elaborate spreadsheets, whiteboards, and long checklists. They instead work to understand their team better and create precise, straightforward plans for them, stimulating the teams to perform their best. They keep their teams focused on a clear path to attain the final objective.
3. They Control Time Management
Usually, the clients judge success or failure based on the project’s delivery time. Hence, meeting deadlines remains non-negotiable. Good Project managers set realistic deadlines and communicate these deadlines consistently within their teams. They often do it effectively by defining activity, sequencing activity, estimating the duration of that activity, developing a schedule, or maintaining a schedule.
4. Estimate Costs & Develop Budget
Project managers are responsible for keeping a project within the set budget. After all, even when the project is delivered on time and meets the client’s requirements, it is deemed a failure if it is massively over budget. Hence, project managers should constantly review the budget and plan well to prevent massive budget overruns.
5. Ensure Customer Satisfaction
A project is considered a success when it meets the clients’ expectations in every way possible. It is the responsibility of project managers to minimize uncertainty, avoid unnecessary surprises, and ensure the client’s involvement in the project. They can keep effective communication going and keep the clients updated.
6. Manage The Project Risk
Every project is prone to minor hurdles and pitfalls. The bigger the project, the more significant hurdles. Good project managers are aware of potential risks before the start of the project, and hence, they can minimize their impact.
7. Monitor Project’s Progress
As the project starts, project managers and the teams have high hopes and a clear vision to produce the desired result. However, as the project progresses, bumps come along the way. Things don’t go as planned, so a project manager’s role is to monitor and analyze expenditures and team performance and take corrective measures efficiently.
8. Manage Reports
Final reports and documentation are crucial for all projects, and project managers are well-versed. Hence, they greatly document comprehensive reports that meet all the project requirements and state projects’ history. It also includes how to do things, who were involved, and what could be done better in the future.
As we explained the responsibilities of Project Managers, let’s understand how you can become a Project Manager.
How Do You Become A Project Manager?
Though there is no set path to becoming a project manager, candidates with engineering or operations backgrounds are often preferred. However, that doesn’t mean a person must be technical to become a project manager. Mostly this role is best suited for candidates who give great attention to detail and possess strong communication skills, and they must have generalized business sense and negotiation skills. The technical background is unnecessary, but it is essential to have a basic understanding to understand further everyday tasks and steps involved in the product development process.
Skills A Project Manager Must Possess
Project Managers are an important part of any company and play a significant role in its success. Hence, it is essential to ensure these five skills while looking for a Project Manager:
1. Look For A Leader
Leadership skills are vital as they will lead a team to attain the objective.
2. Must Possess Good Communication Skills
They are responsible for communicating with vendors, customers, stakeholders, and team members, so communication skills are vital.
3. Keep It All Organized
The project manager must be able to prioritize and multitask to keep the projects running smoothly.
4. Critical Thinking
The project manager must critically analyze and evaluate a situation to prevent issues before they happen.
5. Sense Of Humor
It can be great for project managers to have a positive attitude in life as that helps ease stress and energize the team.
Even though being a Project Manager can be a challenging career, these challenges won’t be faced alone by this one person. They work alongside team members and even use software and other online tools specifically designed to streamline the process. The usage of project management software depends on the project or that company. Still, this software usually tracks time & budgets, manages invoices, creates plans & reports, and shares calendars across multiple teams.
Project Management Methodologies
Methodologies are mainly guiding strategies or principles helpful to manage a project. The various methodologies of Project management include:
- Six Sigma
- XP (Extreme Programming)
It is the job of the project manager to choose a methodology or a combination of it as per the project’s requirement. Usually, it depends on the project type and the industry. For instance, when working in software development, you might be required to choose Agile techniques. And Scrum is an approach to Agile management that uses daily team meetings & short (for instance, 30-day) sprints to quickly and efficiently develop the projects. Toyota developed the Lean method in the 1970s, and it works to maximize the value and minimize waste. Mostly, it is helpful in the manufacturing industry.
Why Pursue A Career In Project Management?
Every company has projects, which means every company can benefit from project management skills. The project manager career is very versatile and could be helpful in professions like architecture, construction, design, fashion, robotics, computer science, etc. Hence, it is great to leverage these skills to enhance your resume, regardless of your career’s direction in the future.
How Much Is Earned By Project Managers?
As per Project Management Institute (PMI), the median annual project manager salary across all industries in the USA is $116,000. Most project managers make between $93000 to $140,000, and industries like resources, consulting, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, food, and beverage offer the most compensation.
Job Outlook: As per a report from Job Growth and Talent Gap from PMI, employers will require filling some 2.2 million new project management-oriented roles by 2027. In the coming years, there will be significant demand for candidates who possess a combination of leadership & technical skills. As per the PMI report, industries such as manufacturing & construction, healthcare, publishing and information services, insurance and finance, and management services are expected to see immense growth in project-oriented roles.
What Are The Qualifications Required For The Job Of Project Manager?
A project manager’s job is quite diverse; thus, the qualifications requirements often vary as per the industry and company. As you look at what’s required to make a career as a project manager, consider these two main areas: education and certification.
1. Higher Education
Most project managers possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business, or any specific industry-related field. Even though a degree is not strictly required for this role, a degree is undoubtedly helping in developing the leadership skills necessary for this job. Some firms seek candidates with a graduate degree like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Science in Management (MSM).
A professional certificate can be helpful to enhance the resume and make it more appealing for the businesses looking to hire Project Managers. A few of the certifications are:
3. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Candidates who have a few years of experience working on projects in a professional setting can make their resume attractive with a PMP certificate from Project Management Institute (PMI). This certificate fulfills educational requirements for the PMP exam. Once the person earns this certificate, they prepare themselves to pass the exam and grab a university-issued credential for their resume.
4. Certified Associate In Project Management (CAPM)
CAPM is available for beginners, an entry-level project management certification. PMI was also administered and designed for people without formal project management experience, and it can help open a path to various entry-level project management positions.
How To Advance Your Career In Project Management?
As you start your job in project management, you can constantly work on your skills and find new pathways to advancement. Here we have presented the hierarchy of project management roles, though it might vary from organization to organization.
- Level 1: Project Coordinator – Helps in administrative tasks for particular projects.
- Level 2: Project Manager 1 – handles small projects under the supervision of Senior PM.
- Level 3: Project Manager 11 – Handles one big project or many smaller projects.
- Level 4: Project Manager 111 – Handles several high-priority projects together.
- Level 5: Senior Project Manager – Leads many projects teams/programs
- Level 6: Program Manager – Supervise a group of related projects and deliver outcomes beneficial to the organization
- Level 7: Portfolio Manager – Administers an organization’s several projects/programs
- Level 8: Director of Project Management Office – Directs strategic planning of many projects/reports to executive management
Is Your Business In Need Of A Project Manager?
It can be a massive help for a business to have someone who can handle large or demanding projects well. You need a reliable and consistent person to maintain efficiency and productivity for this task. According to research, 89 percent of high-performing business entities have a project manager working for them. It is excellent for all businesses to have leaders with the right skills, vision, and knowledge in the present times. This makes it easy to face the most significant challenges and ensure the projects are completed and meet the deadlines.