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A Day in the Life of a Project Manager: Daily Routine

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17th May, 2024
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    A Day in the Life of a Project Manager: Daily Routine

    In the words of Greg Cimmarrusti, the answer to “what does a project lead do” is paralleled with the job of an artist. They have numerously colored process streams that amalgamate into works of art. Although, being a project manager isn’t essentially the ultimate professional goal that an aspiring student opts for when choosing a career option. Being a project manager becomes an ultimate goal they strive to achieve to move up the corporate ladder.

    When it comes to "what role do project managers play?" Project Managers act as the vertebrae of all projects. They are responsible for every operational project-related process from the planning stage to the completion stage. They are additionally responsible for maintaining decorum and peace during the project amongst their team members. One essential skill that they need to have is to have good listening skills, people skills, and carry themselves with integrity.

    If you aspire to become a project manager, you will be pleased to know that it is quite an easy feat. You can get started with reliable Project Management certification online courses that will help you significantly.

    What does a Project Manager do? Roles and Responsibilities

    If you are wondering ‘what do project managers do all day’, the first thing you need to take into consideration is the difficulty level of their job. Life as a project manager is deemed the most stressful in a corporate or business setup. The success of the project depends on how the project manager handles it and how stressed out they are. They are responsible for handling the entire project throughout its life cycle. Some of the project manager daily duties include:

    • Planning
    • Team building
    • Assigning and monitoring work
    • Setting budgets and scopes
    • Making schedules
    • Strategizing workflows
    • Choosing which tools and resources to use
    • Defining KPIs for evaluating progress and success
    • Reporting to higher-ups

    All in all, Project managers aim to streamline operations to ensure the successful delivery of a project. Their main duty is to make sure that projects are delivered on time, stay on budget, as well as on spec. Aside from the difficulty level of the job role, the journey of becoming a project manager can be equally challenging. An online PMP certification is a quickfire way to get started.

    Now let us delve into some of the scenarios in which a project manager might potentially find themselves pertaining to the sector they are working for and what it is like to be a project manager in these areas.

    Role of Project Manager in Software Company

    A software project manager is a key person in a team and deals with the overall responsibilities of software projects as well as their successful completion. In today's competitive world, many project managers consider obtaining project management institute (PMI) certifications to enhance their skills and demonstrate their expertise. A typical day of a project manager in a software company is full of hurdles and difficult situations that are hard to accomplish.

    In fact, a project manager's daily tasks can range from easy activities like motivating a team to work efficiently and boost morale, to more difficult customer presentations. They are also responsible for ensuring that the technical projects of an enterprise are successfully executed as well as determining the scope, goals, and deliverables of the project.

    They also help communicate the project’s functional requirements to the dev and design departments. Aside from ensuring quality delivery, they also help budget resources, routinely handle expectations, as well as manage the development, execution, test and deployment plans. The looming question of what a project manager does on a daily basis in a software company will be met with the following answers by most PMOs.

    • Writing project proposals
    • Estimating project costs
    • Project staffing
    • Scheduling
    • Project monitoring and controlling
    • Software process tailoring
    • Software configuration management
    • Risk management
    • Writing of the managerial
    • Preparing presentations
    • Interfacing with clients.

    Furthermore, the daily routine of a project manager in a software company can be classified into two major categories:

    1. Project Planning 

    Project planning is taken up with immediate effect before the requirement analysis phase, feasibility study phase as well as specification phase. Once a project is deemed feasible, Software project managers immediately proceed with project planning. Project planning is done before the commencement of the development phase. In this phase, the following activities take place:

    1. Project Estimation
    2. Cost Estimation
    3. Time Estimation
    4. Effort Estimation
    5. Scheduling
    6. Staffing
    7. Risk Management
    8. Miscellaneous plans (quality assurance, configuration management, etc.)

    2. Project Monitoring and Control

    Working as a project manager will also include activities pertaining to project control and monitoring. These activities begin with the commencement of development activities in a project. The primary focus of monitoring and controlling project activities is to make sure that the proceeds of the software development are going as per plan. If you are wondering “what does a PMO do” when it comes to monitoring and controlling a project, they perform the following actions: -

    • Leading the team
    • Motivating team members
    • Tracking of the project progress
    • Maintaining connectivity between the customer and the dev team.
    • Documenting the report of the project

    Role of Project Manager in Digital Marketing Company

    Digital Marketing Project Managers are responsible for the creation, implementation and management of the overall digital marketing strategy of a company. They help lead and manage digital marketing projects. If you want to know the roles of a digital marketing project manager, what do they do and how they function, we have listed their key responsibilities below:

    • Designing and implementing digital media campaigns as per the business objectives
    • Manage and coordinate creating every digital content (websites, press releases, blogs, infographics, podcasts videos, and the like)
    • Striving to enhance brand presence.
    • Periodically monitoring and acquiring insights into the strategies of competitors
    • Developing and tracking ROI and KPIs
    • Managing and maintaining social media channels
    • Communicating with Sales, Marketing, and Product development teams
    • Suggesting and implementing direct marketing methods
    • Suggesting modes and strategies for improvement
    • Staying updated with the latest trends and digital media technologies

    Role of Project Manager in HR

    If you are wondering ‘what it is like being a project manager’ in the HR department, you need to first know who they work with. They work in close association with the leadership of the organization and are entirely responsible for hiring and maintaining teams. This is how they significantly make contributions towards meeting the business goals. The daily activities of a project manager include the following:

    • Communications throughout hiring
    • Management of job codes
    • Communicating with external agencies and recruiters
    • Ownership and handling of the HR tech stack of the company's
    • Management of the numerous job boards
    • Maintaining cordial employer branding
    • Conducting yearly employee surveys
    • Incorporating mapping exercises for competency
    • Developing a budding talent pool
    • Reporting on key HR metrics
    • Rolling out remedial strategies

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    A Day in the Life of a Project Manager

    Every project manager has a different routine developed on the basis of their preference pertaining to the project they are handling, the rate of progress as well as the deadlines. If you are still not sure about, what do you do as a project manager here is a detailed step-by-step guide to take you through the day of a project manager:

    1. Morning Routine: Reviewing

    Most project managers have their entire day’s work cut out for them. They aim to start their day as early and as efficiently as possible. The morning routine of a PMO generally begins with reviewing. They may start first by reviewing every email that they received on the previous day. They can either reply on the same day or the next day based on the length of the reply. PMOs can set a reminder or put it on their calendars if the response time is long.

    Their next course of action is reviewing the task tracker that comprises the burndown chart, as well as the tasks that are still a work in progress. This helps them to prioritize what should be addressed on that day itself. The final step of the morning routine is reviewing any defects and any new tasks that might require to be completed. Reviewing details helps them make a list of things that need to be addressed in the later meeting.

    2. Quick Meeting with the Team Leads

    If you are wondering about what a project manager should do next, it is checking up with team leads after reviewing. They hold a brief meeting with the team leaders to talk about the most important matters currently at hand. They often need to communicate with team members and team leads from different departments if they encounter any problems during the day. This keeps PMOs aware of what is happening and how much they have on their plate.

    3. Routined Sync-Up Meeting

    After the team meeting, project managers need to conduct a daily sync-up conference with the team. It is more like a periodic Scrum meeting where every team member is required to report their progress the day before, what their objectives are on that day as well as the major problems they are encountering in their work. This helps project managers align the work of the team towards the important deliverables that need to be focused on.

    4. Addressing the Most Pressing Matters

    After the sync-up meeting, there is often a 30-minute time slot for discussing the major problems highlighted in the sync-up meeting. These are usually done in relatively smaller groups.

    5. Time for Deep Work

    After all the morning team meetings, most project managers tend to delve into doing some vital work that is solely theirs to handle without any interruption. This can include writing long and difficult emails, creating reports or proposals, or even updating the documentation of the project.

    6. Daily Effort for Team Building

    Throughout the day, most project managers dedicate even a fraction of their time to team-building activities. It can be a pleasant and trust-building experience that can help your team members unwind after a long day at work.

    7. Preparing for and Conducting a Daily Progress Report Meeting with Stakeholders and Clients

    The next thing in the routine of a project manager is conducting daily meetings with the clients. It is a good habit to communicate with your stakeholders and clients on a daily basis. This will require a project manager to be proactive enough to plan one themselves and lead it with maximum efficiency.

    They usually collect all the relevant information about the essential topics that need to be discussed in the meeting. Often clients can be located in different time zones, and project managers are required to keep this in mind before scheduling the duration and time.

    8. Evening Routine

    By the time all the above actions are performed, it is nearing the end of the day. The Project managers start preparing for their evening routine which mainly includes sending meeting notes, as well as advice for the actions that team members are required to take. They further also spend time replying to the important emails that they received during the day.

    9. Planning Out Activities for the Next Day

    This is the last action performed by an efficient project manager in a day. Planning for the next day helps them keep things organized, so they have a clear idea of what they are supposed to do.

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    Is Being a Project Manager Stressful?

    Scientifically, it has been confirmed that the professional life of a project manager is the most stressful job position one can acquire, albeit being the most sought-after one. As a matter of fact, a project’s success is entirely dependent on how stressed out the project manager is.

    To delve into detail about the various job responsibilities that make being a project manager so stressful, you can sign up for the best PRINCE2 certification course. With that being said, let us look into the four categories of stress experienced by project managers according to scientists:

    • Time stress
    • Situational stress 
    • Encounter stress
    • Anticipatory stress

    Tips to Handle Stress as a Project Manager in Day-to-Day Life

    Not surprisingly, the job of project management can be quite stressful. They are entirely responsible for meeting delivery deadlines while ensuring the budget and project scope are aligned with the project requirements. Often, project managers need to deal with limited resources, poor equipment, unrealistic expectations of the client and unimaginably long to-do lists. Here are some great tips to relieve the stress from the daily life of a project manager:

    • Do not over-plan and over commit.
    • Understand what your requirements are.
    • Schedule time for exploring and researching.
    • Learn to say no (To projects, meetings and the like) 
    • Break tasks down 
    • Eat lunch away from your workspace.
    • Share your burdens.
    • Learn to raise concerns by sharing them (With your team or boss) 
    • Take some time to reflect.

    Effective Tips to Plan Your Day as a Project Manager

    Project managers are undoubtedly the backbone of the project they are responsible for. They are expected to guide it, plan it and drive it toward successful completion. Everyone who is a part of the project will be more motivated to work on a more organized project rather than a messy one.

    The project manager is entirely held accountable for how the project is driven and how the objectives are met. The best PMs have excellent people skills, are good listeners and have integrity. Here is a list of effective tips to plan your day as an efficient project manager.

    Define the Project Scope

    The first step of streamlining the work of a project manager is defining the project scope which is the set of project deliverables and what you are expected to achieve. Make sure that you highlight the project's objectives, including those that are not part of the scope.

    Know Your Deadlines

    The project timeline is the most critical element of the project. It defines when your project will be complete and will help you assign time to complete each objective. During project planning, make sure you estimate the time allotted for every task related to your project.

    Assess the Resources Available to Use

    As a project manager, you need to know how much resource is available to commence the project proceedings. Make sure you assess every resource starting from investment, human resources, machinery, and equipment to determine the bottlenecks in the execution of your project.

    Develop a Project Plan

    Acquiring feedback from the aforementioned steps, (the project scope, timeline, and resources) will help you develop a foolproof project plan that is inclusive of your schedule, workflow, critical path, resources as well as a network diagram.

    Communication is Key

    Upon approval of the proposed project plan, you have to conduct a team meeting to discuss the nitty gritty about the project. Make sure that you document the minutes of the meeting and, schedule recurring meetings.

    Allot Work as Per Available Resources

    As a project manager, make sure that you delegate work to the team in accordance with their capabilities and skills, so you attend to more pressing matters like tracking and control.

    Document All

    Even if you have a memory of steel, keeping a documented copy of the proceedings of the project is a safer option. It will be more like a document to revert to when you want to make adjustments or changes to the project. It will also help you review the entire project before delivery.

    Monitor Project Progress

    Upon the commencement of a project, make sure that you monitor the entire progress of the project proceedings, including tasks, team member performance, deliveries, and everything else related to the progress of the project.

    Use a Project Management Software

    Task management or project management software will take your project to the very next level. It is packed with the latest and most convenient features relevant to helping your project progress further by catering to your project needs.

    Follow-up

    Make sure that you stay informed about your project status by periodically conducting team meetings as well as meeting with stakeholders and vendors. If someone’s progress is slow, make sure you motivate them to do better so they can get back on track. Always appreciate your team's efforts to be a well-loved and efficient project leader.

    Conclusion

    Concludingly we can say that a project manager plays the most integral part in a company. To answer the question “is being a project manager stressful” one would answer affirmatively. A day in project manager life is met with a plethora of hurdles and taxing tasks that can add to the evergrowing stress levels of a project manager.

    As a PMO, one is constantly striving to make a project meet its objectives and meet successful completion. However, the best thing about being a PMO is the satisfaction of leading a project and being accredited for its successes and achievements. Although stressful, once you acquire the position of a project manager in a company, there is no going back. Upon the completion of a project, the anticipation of being handed a new one will be more stressful than taking part in the actual proceedings of a project.

    In general, being a project manager might not be someone’s first aim, but once they step into their respective fields in their choice of career, it is all they will ever want to be. The KnowledgeHut Project Management certification online courses will make it easier for you to achieve this goal quicker once you take your first step into your career.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is a typical day like for a project manager?

    A typical day in the life of a project manager is packed with tasks and objectives to fulfill. It also includes motivating teams and team leads, reviewing emails and project requirements, conducting meetings with teams and stakeholders, scheduling, monitoring metrics and many more.

    2. What does a project manager do on a daily basis?

    Since the entire responsibility of driving a project towards its potential success is in the hands of a project manager, they have to deal with the pressure of handling these expectations. They have meetings to attend and emails to reply to along with liaising with stakeholders, budgeting, reviewing and monitoring KPIs, and the like.

    3. How stressful is being a project manager?

    On a scale of 1 to 10, the stress level of a project manager will cross 100. Being a project manager sure is the dream of any working professional because this position comes with a lot of power. One must never forget with great power comes great responsibility. They are responsible for managing every task, handling any challenging situation, and even taking corrective measures for any mishaps. While they are accredited for the success of a project, they also face the pressure of being held accountable for the failure of a project as well as any loss that is incurred.

    4. How do you plan your day as a project manager?

    As a project manager, the first thing one needs to do is review the happenings and project proceedings of the previous day. They can check for any emails and reply to them, review metrics and plan their day, review any problems that might have taken place and the like.

    5. What do project managers spend most of their time doing?

    Successful PMOs spend most of their time planning, reviewing and communicating. By doing these, they ensure that the project proceedings are going forward instead of backward.

    Profile

    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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