Who are Project Managers and What Do They Do?

Project managers are organized, goal-oriented professionals who use passion, creativity, and collaboration to design projects that are destined for success. 

 
The types of projects that project managers work on are as vast as their responsibilities and skills. In fact, nearly everything we interact with was conceived by a project manager. 

 

Picture this—you plan a trip to a foreign city with your friends. You use mobile apps to plan rideshares. Then, you download travel guide software to create an itinerary and get the scoop on local attractions. You even book tours of architectural sites and marvel at their grandeur. 

 

It’s hard to imagine that digital apps, scheduling software, and grand architecture have anything in common. But they share at least one similarity: project managers were involved in their creation. 
New Orleans skyline

Who are Project Managers?

Project managers initiate, execute, and complete projects across various industries using their project management expertise. From mobile apps to the grandiose architecture of international cities, they are the innovators behind some of the most brilliant products, services, and processes that exist today. 

Project managers have diverse skill sets that allow them to approach each assignment in a unique and strategic way. Most importantly, they understand how to leverage their project management skills to foster an organization’s ability to learn, succeed, and evolve with a project. 

 

Skills of a Project Manager 

Qualified and experienced project managers are aptly skilled in the following areas: 

#1. Leadership and Effective Communication—project managers must effectively lead and communicate with their teams as well as stakeholders throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.
 #2. Organization and Time Management—project managers must handle the organization and delegation of tasks. They must also ensure that all project materials and deliverables are completed on time. 
 #3. Creative Problem Solving and Adaptability—project managers must understand how to resolve issues and adapt their projects creatively to avoid mishaps and losses.
 #4. Motivation and Team Management—project managers must ensure their stakeholders and team members stay motivated throughout a project’s lifecycle. Moreover, they must be able to manage their team to ensure top-quality results and on-time completion of project deliverables.

Cultivating expertise in these areas is a learning process that requires time, devotion, and practice. But it’s necessary to build the skill set a career in project management requires.

Some project managers build out their skills with the completion of a four-year degree and immediate pursuit of certifications like the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Others may wet their toes with personal projects or take a beginner’s course to see if they want to pursue project management full-time. 

Either way, developing a foundational skillset and building upon it is part of the job description. Thus, it’s an important aspect of who project managers are. 

Person drawing abstract items with colleagues watching

Learn the Basics of Project Management with PMI

Those interested in project management have myriad ways to learn about the building blocks of their new and exciting career paths. At PMI, we offer industry newcomers KICKOFF: A free digital course that walks you through the basics of initiating, planning, and executing a project.

KICKOFF includes informative course materials, interactive exercises, and user-friendly templates that make coordinating projects a sinch. Even if you’re still figuring out whether project management is the right path for you, this course can help. 

Try Kickoff

What does a Project Manager Do?

Essentially, project managers oversee projects from start to finish. They supervise tasks, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and ensure that every aspect of the project is completed on time. Project managers must also be able to foresee potential blockers and find proper solutions to mitigate or eliminate them so that they don’t impede a project’s success. 

 

The Role of a Project Manager  

If we break the role of a project manager down into core responsibilities, we get a better picture of how much they oversee throughout a project’s timeline and how their supervision helps ensure success.

Some of the core responsibilities of a project manager include:  

  • Identifying project goals, needs, and scope 
  • Planning, monitoring, and documenting tasks throughout a project 
  • Ensuring all tasks, deliverables, and project materials are delivered promptly 
  • Managing all resources necessary for project execution 
  • Fostering effective communication with stakeholders concerning project status 
  • Foreseeing and strategically eliminating blockers and potential risks
  • Documenting each step of the process using various project management tools 
  • Ensuring top-quality results and success for a project  

These core responsibilities are pillars of project management. They empower project managers to supervise an assignment adequately. Moreover, they allow project managers to create timelines, delegate tasks and shape a project perfectly to the needs of everyone who stands to benefit from its completion. 

Out of the Box Team Working Under Lights

A Bright Future for Project Managers

From tech start-ups to local non-profits and construction builds, project managers exist in every type of organization. This isn’t surprising, as project management is a vocation teeming with opportunity, growth, and career fulfillment. It allows professionals at every level to pursue projects that empower them to make meaningful changes in their direct environments and across the globe.

It doesn’t hurt that those with project management credentials earn higher salaries than those without them. With the project economy expanding, the demand for passionate project managers with a knack for ingenuity continues to grow. At PMI, we’re proud to help individuals develop their careers with project management courses and certifications that pave the way to a brighter future. 

 

Building A Career in Project Management  

If you’ve just taken your first steps into the project management world, welcome! PMI has a fantastic catalog of courses and certifications like KICKOFF that can help you build a solid foundation for a bright future. Once you gain experience, you may want to develop your career further.

When you’re ready to take those next steps, PMI offers advanced certifications like the Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) to help you do it. These advanced certifications bring seasoned managers into the next stage of their careers through a comprehensive curriculum that familiarizes project managers with all the knowledge necessary for managing complex projects. 

So, take a look at what we offer and forge a path to a brighter future.

Learn the Basics of Project Management

KICKOFF is a free, 45-minute digital course and tool kit that guides you through the basics of project management, so you can effectively launch your project(s) from start to finish. 

 

Get Kickoff

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