What Does a Project Manager Do? The Role of the Project Manager
Have you heard about the importance of project management, or are thinking about kicking off a career in project management, but you’re still wondering, “What does a project manager do?” Being a project manager is an excellent job, but it’s not always what you think it’s going to be. When people think about project management and project manager job description, they often think of paper pushing and telling people what to do. And it is about paper pushing, and it also is about managing people. But there’s so much more to it! Project management is an art that takes time to master because there are so many moving parts to it and many unique project manager responsibilities and skills. such as good communication skills.
So, what does a project manager do?
What Does a Project Manager Do?: The Short Answer
Project manager responsibilities for the daily management of the project include handling the scope, project schedule, risk management, resources, and the quality of the project. But what actually goes into ensuring all those elements fall into place? Here are a few roles that project managers play to ensure successful projects which are directly related to the project manager job description.
Project Manager Responsibilities
1. Project Managers Ensure Customer Satisfaction
One major role that every project manager needs to achieve is to ensure customer satisfaction. In projects, it’s all about the stakeholder. The stakeholder is everyone from the sponsor to the project team members to the people who are going to be receiving your project deliverable. So, as the project manager, you need to ensure that everybody is satisfied.
There are a few skills you’ll need to have for that. When it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction, one important project manager skill is having good emotional intelligence as well as good communication skills. You’ll need to be attuned to where people are at and how they’re doing. A big part of ensuring customer satisfaction and having high emotional intelligence has to do with having good communication skills!
2. Project Managers Communicate Well and Often
Project management is all about having good communication skills. Good communication is not something you can do without when it comes to project management! A lot of what a project manager does centers around communicating, addressing issues, ensuring information is clear and being a good listener who takes in different viewpoints and opinions before making a decision. Throughout all of this, they ensure the project remains aligned with the organization’s overall goals and strategy.
In other words, a project manager is used to over-communicating because good communication skills are a core component of everything a project manager does!
3. Project Managers Act as Cheerleaders
Part of the job of a project manager is to motivate your team! Your project team is made up of people who don’t always necessarily report to you, so it becomes critical to find effective ways to inspire and motivate them to get their project tasks done.
This can be something as simple as encouraging everyone to participate in meetings, hearing out various viewpoints, or even finding a way to make the project really fun and unique. One way I love to motivate project team members is by introducing a mascot or a theme to the project that everyone can get excited about!
4. Project Managers Act as Gatekeepers
A project manager must ensure things don’t spiral out of control. This means that as a project manager, you’ll often have to halt people from jumping on a bandwagon. You need to ensure that everything is systematic.
Every idea and possible change to the project must be filtered through you as the project manager so that you can ensure that every aspect of the project really is cohesive and aligned.
5. Project Managers Push Paper
Project management is all about documentation! Project plans, timelines, and budgets will always be a part of the picture when it comes to managing projects. So, you will be pushing a lot of paper because this is central to your project.
Why is documentation important? It’s a big part of what you’re doing because not only does it set up the project for success, but it also keeps people on track and ensures that project team members stay accountable for their project tasks.
6. Project Managers Must be the Mother Hen or the Father Rooster
What does this mean? Project managers always end up feeling like they’re babysitting. It’s funny, but it’s true. As a project manager, you must ensure that everyone is on track. Of course, this ties in with good paper-pushing, cheerleading, and communicating. But sometimes you will really feel like you’re babysitting because you’re constantly checking in with people and reminding them to stay on track and get their part done.
This may sound frustrating, but it can actually be quite rewarding. When you do all your responsibilities and fulfill the job description well as a project manager, it means that people will deliver and your project will be successful, which is ultimately your goal!
Want a tip on how to do this? If you don’t want to be constantly having to nag people all the time to get stuff done, here’s what I do on my projects to ensure that I can avoid that:
Be very strict with your project plan by setting up a constant rhythm of when it will get updated. Set up expectations right at the beginning of the project, at kickoff, telling your project team exactly what day each week the project plan will need to be updated.
This is a sure way to keep people accountable and constantly keep a fresh project plan so that everybody is clear on what is happening at all times.
The How-to of Project Management
If you’re starting out as a project manager or thinking of managing a project, it’s important for you to be equipped with not only an understanding of the roles and responsibilities listed above but also the exact how-to that will enable you to run successful projects.
If that sounds like something you need, I’ve got a few resources for you!
Check out my SLAY Project Management course where I walk you through all the little details of how to run a project from concept to close through all five project stages, including documentation templates that will keep you and your team on the right track.
You can also check out my YouTube channel where I have over 150 videos to teach you about different aspects of project management and help you succeed in your career!
The Importance of a Good Project Manager
All the roles, responsibilities, and skills as well as the project manager job description listed above are what make project managers so important. Without someone to communicate, create documentation, act as a cheerleader and gatekeeper, check in on people, and ultimately, ensure customer satisfaction, it would be impossible to have a successful project.
These roles and skills are what enable a project manager to successfully manage a project and bring it to success!
Adriana Girdler teaches new and experienced project managers to excel in their careers using her proven strategies from 20+ years in the business. Adriana is a certified project manager (PMP) and business productivity specialist. She is passionate about efficiency and improvement, helping companies and individuals achieve successful projects goals.