What Does a Project Manager Do?
Behind every successful project is a project manager. This role is an integral part of several top companies in many different industries, including engineering, construction, technology, and law. So, if you’re thinking of starting a career as a project manager, it is helpful to understand the career outlook and what you’ll be responsible for. Plus, we will review some options for how to get prepared to pass your certification test.
Is project management a good job?
Project management is a rapidly growing profession. From 2019 to 2027, seven project-oriented sectors are set to grow by 33% and add nearly 22 million new project management jobs, which exceeds the national average for other occupations.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for project managers range from $74,000 to $100,000, depending on the industry and location. But getting certified can dramatically increase your earnings. Project manager with CAPM and PMP certifications can earn up to $120,000.
Project managers lead diverse teams on a variety of projects that have never been done before. This makes innovation essential to their success in a rapidly changing strategic environment. They can use the skills they learn from innovative and critical thinking at their job everywhere.
What are the responsibilities of a project manager?
The project manager is responsible for ensuring that a project has everything it requires to be successful. Acting as a leader, the project manager assigns tasks, sets deadlines, and holds himself/herself accountable for the group. However, there are several additional steps involved in project management.
Before a project manager begins the project, approximately 2-3 weeks are devoted to the planning stage. Every step of the project from the scope, limitations, and the budget is anticipated, so the project risks are lowered. All of this is documented in a project plan which acts as a blueprint for employees and shareholders to refer to.
2. Define the scope
Often, as the project lead, the project manager will be asked to solve overarching business problems or given high-level project deliverables. It is then his or her job to form a project scope that lists specific goals, deliverables, functions, tasks, deadlines, and costs. With a documented scope statement, shareholders will know what to expect from the project, and the team will stay on-task. Even when the project manager is managing an elaborate project with an overarching business goal like increasing company revenue, a scope will stop his or her project from expanding beyond its original vision.
3. Assign roles
Arguably, one of the most important personality traits of a project manager is strong team-leadership. Rather than limiting employee productivity to what each team member can do on their own, by being a strong team leader, project managers can unite their team around a shared goal. After selecting members for each part of the project, a project manager sets expectations, deadlines, and ground rules for the team. A good project manager knows when to balance creative freedom with set guidelines, especially in companies where innovation and thinking outside the box is appreciated.
4. Set the budget
One difficult responsibility of a project manager is staying on top of the budget. In the planning stage, budget setting involves estimating all project costs. These costs account for all hardware, software, labor, quality, and contractual activities. Project managers then estimate a final budget to submit to the shareholders, so a formal investment can be made. Based on this budget, project managers can set limitations on team member roles and overarching project goals.
5. Monitor the project
Once a project begins, the project manager should track its progress and ensure that it meets expectations and does not exceed the budget. Any inconsistencies or significant findings should be documented for future use.
6. Communicate with the team
A project manager regularly communicates with the team members to ensure that deadlines are being met. He or she also updates the shareholders. While communicating with the shareholders to determine specific goals in the planning stage is important, it is equally important that the project manager keeps his or her executives aware of the ongoing progress. This will help executives understand how the project outcomes affect them.
7. Minimize risks
As part of progress tracking, the project manager monitors the risk associated with each project. He or she recognizes that risk directly impacts project success and must be measured throughout the project duration. A good project manager, however, can reduce risk significantly by openly communicating with the team and ensuring that each participant has an opportunity to express concern.
8. Adapt according to the industry
A project manager in a tech company will not have traditional roles. Even if he or she works in construction, where a majority of project managers work, it is likely that his or her job changes with rapid technological integration. IT projects have a high failure rate, surprisingly not because of the technology but because of the lack of teamwork and collaboration. With a variety of different specialties and interests in your team, it is the project manager’s job to form a cohesive, ever-evolving team.
As a project manager, you are the project lead at your company and are responsible for planning, tracking, and reporting each step. If you are driven and creative, project management is a great career to pursue. But if you are looking to boost your credentials, completing CAPM and PMP certifications can go a long way in your career.