The demand for project managers is on the rise. A Project Management Institute (PMI) report shows organizations will need nearly 88 million people in roles concerned with project management by 2027. Furthermore, India and China will constitute more than 75% of total project management-related employment.
The questions that automatically follow are: who is a project manager? What is the role of a project manager? What are the responsibilities of a project manager?
Who Is A Project Manager?
A project manager is part of the senior-level management in an organization who’s responsible for planning, supervising and directing projects from start to end. They often handle several projects simultaneously—ideating, understanding project goals and client needs, creating and leading teams, setting up timelines, overseeing compliance and regulating budgets.
Roles & Responsibilities Of A Project Manager
There’s more to being a project manager than just ticking off checklists and giving the go-ahead. A project manager’s duties entail:
Planning properly and meticulously so that projects are completed successfully is one of the most important functions of a project manager—fundamental to meeting project deadlines. Keeping project goals in mind, project managers must set up a clear plan for the execution of the project. A well-defined plan includes taking stock of available resources, assessing team competence and making time and budget estimates. Such a plan also serves as a proposal for decision-makers and stakeholders in the case of projects pending approval. Project managers may also sometimes need to modify their plans to overcome sudden roadblocks.
A project manager’s roles and responsibilities involve forming and leading a team and leading throughout the project. The project manager is responsible for communicating a project’s vision to their team so that everyone involved is on the same page. Project managers must know their associates’ strengths and weaknesses and should be able to motivate them if the need arises. A positive and optimistic outlook in a project manager can go a long way in establishing a healthy work environment. Leadership also involves making important decisions on the go—decisions that are vital to the success of any project. As project leaders, project managers are also expected to promote transparency and integrity so as to develop positive working relationships with both clients and employees.
Most clients are keen on the timely completion of projects. Delayed projects can have an adverse impact on the goodwill of an organization and escalate costs. A project manager’s duties involve organizing the diverse tasks of a project within a set timeline, estimating the time required to complete each task and ensuring team members follow the set schedule. In case a project is delayed, it’s the role of a project manager to communicate with the client and their own team to bring it back on track.
Approximating the total cost of a project is part of a project manager’s roles and responsibilities. Project managers must prepare a project budget and try to stick to it. This allows them to authorize, allocate and reallocate funds accurately according to project needs, thereby avoiding cost overruns. Planning ahead and frequently reviewing costs help project managers stay within budget.
Even the most meticulously planned projects can run into roadblocks. Risk mitigation is probably the most challenging aspect of a project manager’s roles and responsibilities. Project managers frequently need to identify and solve potential problems associated with a project. Overseeing risk management throughout a project’s duration is a key role of a project manager.
Another significant role of a project manager is preparing proper documentation and final reports on a project. These records confirm that a project has met all the project goals. They also contain an overview of the project, stating what was done, who was involved, when it was done and what could be improved in the future. Project managers use a variety of tools to make and maintain their project documents such as standard templates, project plans, business cases, requirement sheets and project status reports. The documents are saved for future reference.
Troubleshooting, maintenance and change are the only constants in project management. Even when a project is marked as complete, there may be a need for troubleshooting, or a client might want to make new changes. A project manager’s roles and responsibilities involve suggesting ways to resolve a client’s concerns. Therefore, project managers are often good at spotting early signs of trouble and can promptly respond to emergencies.
Qualities Of A Project Manager
Driving projects, managing people and juggling deadlines, project managers are essential to the success of any organization. But what makes one an efficient project manager? Here are a few top traits:
Central to a project manager’s roles and responsibilities is regular, productive communication with clients, seniors and employees. Open communication not only establishes a clear idea of goals, tasks and responsibilities of individual team members but also helps project managers develop positive relationships with everyone involved in a particular project.
Conflict Resolution Skills
Not every project is a bed of roses. Sometimes, the intensity of working on a particular project—especially one that runs for a long duration—can lead to conflict among team members, obstructing the project’s progress and successful completion on time. It’s part of a project manager’s duties to resolve such disagreements by staying calm in high-pressure situations and acting fairly.
Attention To Detail
Organizations usually have multiple projects going at once and it’s easy to lose focus or get them mixed up. A successful project manager, however, must be detail-oriented. They must constantly scrutinize ongoing projects, pick up on even minor details and organize them for proper project execution.
Emerging Trends In Project Management
The project management landscape is constantly evolving, adapting to economic and societal changes and the march of digitization. Let’s explore a few top trends that are set to significantly impact the industry in the near future.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the new buzzword in the industry. Michael DePrisco, Vice-President, Global Solutions, PMI, says: “While traditional project management roots focused on tasks like scheduling and tactical planning, AI will likely automate much of that functionality, thereby shifting the project manager’s core focus to understanding how to leverage this technology to deliver more value for customers.”
Future project manager responsibilities can, therefore, include learning how to implement AI to automate project management processes for increased productivity and smoother workflow.
Global organizations are increasingly on the lookout for flexible methodologies to keep up with rapidly changing business models.
Agile project management breaks down large projects into smaller, more convenient assignments. These are completed in steps, allowing teams to adapt to changing project requirements. Traditional project management, on the other hand, is a linear approach where set processes are run in a sequence. It assumes requirements remain fixed while timeline and budget can vary.
Both approaches have their own unique advantages. In the future, a project manager’s duties might include adopting a hybrid approach to project management—a blended methodology that comprises elements of both agile and traditional processes.
COVID-19 has revolutionized how we work, causing industries to increasingly adopt work from home and remote working policies. Project management is no exception.
A Northeastern University article states, “Since the surge in remote work is likely to continue even after the global health crisis subsides, project managers must find ways to reduce friction or inefficiencies that might arise. Clear and open communication has always been a key strategy for effective project management, but it will become even more relevant as this trend continues to evolve.”
Opportunity Meets Development
Project managers need to constantly adapt to a fast-paced business environment to continue delivering value to their organization and move up the ladder. Embracing change, an attitude of lifelong learning and awareness are essential.
At Harappa, opportunity meets development. Mapped to 15 must-have “Thrive Skills”, Harappa Education’s High Performing Leaders Program targets senior executives, who are not only ready for the future but also excited to try new things. The 15-week program seamlessly combines the best of a rich, blended and integrated online-first learning journey that delivers transformative shifts in behavior.
Harappa’s signature 10-on-10 pedagogy combines 10 key elements across three critical phases—Activation, Cultivation and Elevation of the cohort’s performance. With eminent faculty for both self-paced courses and live masterclasses, the program hinges on seven crucial outcomes.
Learners learn to decode the strategic big picture without missing out on details, master influencing clients and create out-of-the-box solutions, championing new ideas and driving innovation.
If you’re looking to upskill promising project managers in your organization and coach them to become future-ready, Harappa Education’s High Performing Leaders Program is just what the doctor ordered!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Must-Have Skills For Leadership, The Evolution Of Hero’s Journey, Adult Learning Principles, The Guide to Distance Learning & Who is a Project Manager that will help organizations tap into their employee’s potential.
Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation