What is a Project Manager - An Exhaustive Guide

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28th Nov, 2022
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25th Sep, 2017
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What is a Project Manager - An Exhaustive Guide

Now, you have probably heard of this term, and you may have some idea of what a project manager does. This article will help you learn about what a project manager is, the roles and responsibilities, the skills you need, the pros and cons of being a project manager, and how you can be one! 

What is a Project Manager?

A project manager is an individual who is responsible for ensuring a project is delivered to the client and stakeholders as per requirements. He/she is responsible for initiating, planning, executing, managing, controlling, and closing a project while maintaining the budget, meeting the timeline, and staying within the scope of the project.  

The project manager is the glue that binds the entire project and the project teams together. When there are multiple moving pieces in a project, the project manager ensures that all of them contribute to making the project a success.  

Let’s start by going through the stages of project management: 

Roles and responsibilities

  • Planning: A project manager needs to plan the entire program, from how the project will be executed, managed, controlled and closed. The project manager can use the right planning strategy ( Waterfall, agile or hybrid) depending on the project and its needs. 
  • Aligning individual goals with the organization’s goals: The project manager must ensure that all the individual pieces of the project must directly contribute to the project and organization’s goals. That means he/she must negotiate with the project teams, manage responsibilities of the individual members, motivate them to work as a team, and contribute toward the organization’s goal. 
  • Managing time and resources: A project manager must ensure that the timelines of the project are met, the budget is within acceptable limits, and the scope of the project is managed. He/ she must manage the given resources and ensure a realistic expectation is communicated to the stakeholders. 
  • Stakeholder satisfaction: The project manager must ensure that the stakeholders are informed regularly about the updates in the project, and they are satisfied with the end delivery of the project. 
  • Communication: The project manager must ensure that all the project members are well informed and updated. The key job of the project manager is to communicate with the project team about the stakeholder requirements and expectations. The project manager ensures that the stakeholders are regularly updated about the project’s progress and key deliverables. 
  • Executing the project: The project manager leads the project team in executing the project requirements and coordinates between different project teams. The project manager manages the project's resources and ensures all resources are being used efficiently. 
  • Monitoring the deliverable: The project manager monitors whether the deliverable is as per the requirement of the stakeholders and meets all the standards required. The project manager is required to do due diligence from his/her end before presenting the deliverable to the stakeholders. 
  • Removing roadblocks for the project team: In case of any roadblocks coming in the way of successful completion of the project, the project manager strives to remove the obstacles from the path and supports the project team in obtaining the most suitable approach.  
  • Documenting progress and reporting: The project manager must record all the observations, requirements and lessons learnt through the project. The project manager is required to create regular reports for stakeholders about the progress of the project. 

Skills 

Now, as a project manager, there are certain skills that you need to succeed at your job and grow on your career ladder.  

  • Technical skills: The project manager should have basic knowledge of skills needed to deliver the project along with the ability to draw budgets, create schedules, monitor project progress and prepare reports for the project. 
  • Decomposition: You must possess the ability to break big tasks into smaller tasks and create multiple such tasks for the project team. This gives the project manager room to optimize processes and ensure efficient use of resources 
  • Effective Communication: The ability to share ideas, information and feedback with people is the most needed skill to be a great project manager.  This can be verbal, written and non-verbal communication. 90% of the project management job requires you to communicate with other project managers, executive staff, customers, stakeholders and team members.  
  • Mediator: The ability to make people with conflicting goals work together to meet the project and organizational goals is a handy tool for project managers. This also involves negotiating and settling disputes amongst team members.  
  • Leadership: The ability to lead different project teams to successfully deliver the project goals and requirements is a must-have quality in a project manager. The project managers are required to guide, mentor, motivate and coach their team throughout the project to ensure each member is dedicated to the common goals. 
  • Resource management: The project manager must ensure that all the resources provided to the project are used efficiently. Both under and exploiting these resources is an added cost for the organization.  
  • Risk management: Identifying, analyzing and minimizing risks to ensure successful completion of a project. This also includes analyzing the impact of risks on cost, timeline and scope of the project. 
  • Stakeholder management: The ability to manage different stakeholders at a time and ensure all the needs are satisfied is a skill that successful project managers possess. It is also important for the project manager to identify how a stakeholder impacts the project and what their approach toward the project is. 
  • Stress management: Sometimes projects can get stressful, and the ability to maintain cool and work under pressure is required in the toolbox of a project manager. When the project manager maintains his cool, he can guide and support his team better. This also helps the team trust the project manager and be more dedicated to the project. 

How to Become a Project Manager?

Apart from the skills mentioned above, there are things you need to become a project manager. Let’s explore some of them below:[Text Wrapping Break] 

Academic

To be a project manager, you must have a bachelor’s degree. For a general project manager, the subject of your bachelor’s degree can be anything. But for more specific roles such as IT project manager or construction project manager, it is useful to have the subject in bachelors.  

You do not need a Master’s degree in order to be a project manager however, a management degree can be beneficial. 

Certifications

Apart from degrees, it is beneficial to have professional certifications that qualify you to perform as a Project manager. These professional certifications meet global standards and reward the certification holders with global opportunities.  

Even though you do need these certifications to get a job as a project manager, these certifications can prove to be instrumental in helping you achieve success and more career opportunities. 

Project Management Professional (PMP): This is one of the most prestigious and well-recognized certifications offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the leading global organization for project management professionals. You can learn more about it on this PMP exam prep course page.  

Projects In Controlled Environments (PRINCE2): This certification focuses on the general practices and knowledge required according to the stage of the project. To know more about this certification, visit this page.  

Here you will find information about other certifications you can earn by taking KnowledgeHut's Project Manager Course online.

Project manager salary

The salary of a project manager can depend on various factors such as technical skills, academic qualification and work experience.  

However, according to industry numbers, the average annual salary of Project managers in India is INR 12,00,000 to 15,00,000 and $1,15,000 in USA.  

According to the Economic Times, the project management profession is going to outperform the average job market. It is going to create competitive paychecks for the positions in the next 10 years. 

Career Pathways in Project Management

There is no typical career path you can take as a project manager. Every stage will expose you to numerous opportunities to choose from and you can design your own path in this career.  

The following image represents the opportunities that you have at each stage of your career in Project management: 

What is a Project Manager in Construction? 

A project manager is critically important when it comes to the construction sector. Not only is the project manager required to initiate, plan, execute and manage, monitor and control, and close the projects, but he/she is also required to ensure that the constructed building meets the health and safety guidelines. 

This role requires the project manager to be regularly present at the construction site and coordinate with various stakeholders and vendors. From procurement of the materials to the interface with the consumer, the project manager must be on top of everything.

  • How to become a project manager in construction? 

Even though most project managers have academic backgrounds in engineering, construction and architecture, this is no such requirement to be a project manager in construction. 

You can enroll in a course that trains you on the basics of construction, building design and safety guidelines. There are various certifications as well that certify you in these areas. 

Once you have basic knowledge in the field, you can join a construction firm as a project coordinator to get hands-on experience with the day-to-day activities. 

  • What is the difference between a project manager and a construction manager? 

The main difference between the two is related to the scope of their work. The project manager has a broader scope than the construction manager.  

A construction manager is responsible only for the construction of the building that is a part of the project.  A project manager is responsible for everything from selecting the site of construction to onboarding the construction manager. The project manager ensures that the Contruction manager and the project team have all the resources they need to complete the project successfully. 

What is a Project Manager in Healthcare?

As a health care project manager, you will be leading the projects that impact the lives of patients and doctors. Everything from adopting new machines for diagnosis to replacing old instruments, to opening a new wing in the hospital is managed by you. You help improve processes, remove inefficiencies and ensure that your stakeholders are satisfied with the project results.  

This is a critical role as health care is a heavily regulated sector with high stakes. The risk involved is high, the stakeholders are diverse, and the regulations are constantly updated. As a project manager, you must be on top of things with good knowledge about the health sector. 

How to Become a Project Manager in Healthcare?

Most healthcare project managers have an academic background in the health sector, pharmaceuticals, hospital administration, health management and nursing.  

Advanced or Masters degrees like Business management or health management can help you shine amongst the other project managers. Apart from this, you can certify as a project manager through various governing bodies.  

It is important to have some background in the healthcare sector to be a healthcare project manager.  

What is a Project Manager in Tech?

As a tech project manager, you are expected to play the dual role of a leader and a tech expert. You will be leading projects while managing a team of experts to deliver projects related to IT. 

Since the tech is changing rapidly, the project manager must be capable of handling change well and must be a catalyst in helping his team adapt to changes. The projects in this sector usually follow the Agile planning method, as things constantly change throughout the project.  

The project manager should always leave room for some creativity while maintaining the timeline to foster innovations and ensure the successful completion of the project.  

How to Become a Project Manager in Tech?

To start with, it is recommended that you have academic background in Information technology, computer science or any similar field. You can also gain this experience while working in tech industry. You can start by assisting tech project managers as a project coordinator or junior project manager and gain experience with how the project teams work. 

Apart from that, a certification as a project manager is recommended to land a job in this sector.  

Here is more information on the project management expert certification.

Project Manager Career Outlook

According to research by PMI, the project manager job opportunities are expected to increase by 33% through 2027 and the average salary of PMP professionals is expected to be 23% higher than non PMP professionals. 

Since companies are going to keep improving their processes, adopting new technologies and innovating, the demand for project managers is going to be high in the future as well. Currently, there is a major shortage of project managers in the market and companies are looking to hire more and more project managers.  

This industry has experienced exponential growth in the last decade and is expected to continue this growth in the coming years.  

This is the one job that cannot be replaced with AI and automation, as empathy and communication are important parts of the job. That means a project manager will use AI to be more efficient in his/ her job but cannot be substituted by AI.  

Why Pursue a Career in Project Management

  • Increasing demand: The demand for project managers is increasing rapidly and there are not enough project managers to meet the growing industry demand.  
  • Freedom to choose the industry: As a project manager, you have the freedom to choose the industry you want to work and grow in. Switching from one industry to another is comparatively easier as a project manager as most skills are transferable.  
  • Global exposure: As a project manager, you get to interact with project teams or clients from different parts of the world. You learn how to work in a diverse group with different cultural and social norms. 
  • Career progression: There are numerous opportunities that emerge once you start growing in your career as a project manager. The next few opportunities could be project director, portfolio manager, program manager and the top management. 
  • Freshness: Since every project is new and different, you will not experience monotony over the duration of your career and will face new challenges in every project.  
  • Make an impact: You will see yourself contributing to new innovations and positively impacting the future of your organization and your industry.  

With the help of technology, you can work with teams all over the world and gain new understanding and tact. 

Conclusion 

As a project manager, your every day will be different and unique. Even though the job can be stressful at times due to the risks involved, the approaching deadlines and any unfriendly stakeholders, at the end of the day, it is one of the rewarding careers out there. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What exactly does a project manager do? 

A project manager helps in initiating, planning, executing and managing, monitoring and controlling, finally closing a project. He/ she acts as a captain on a ship and directs all the team members towards a common goal - successful completion of the project.  

  1. Is project manager a good career? 

 Project management is lucrative career option not just today but also in the future. The demand for project managers is increasing rapidly and there are not many professionals to fill these positions.  

  1. Can I become a Project Manager as a Fresher? 

As a project manager, you need to have some experience in the industry and learn how projects work. Generally, you must have some experience as an expert or as a project coordinator before landing a job as a project manager. 

  1. What qualifications do you need to be a project manager?

You must have a bachelor's degree in any field to start with. In addition, a professional certification or an advanced degree can help you get the attention of the recruiters.  

  1. What do project managers do all day? 

Apart from communicating (which is 90% of the time), the project manager’s work includes the following things: 

  1. Creating plans 
  2. Building teams  
  3. Creating schedules  
  4. Laying out workflows 
  5. Defining KPIs 
  6. Choosing the right tools and resources 
  7. Reporting 
  8. Conduct meetings- with team and stakeholders

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