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What is a project manager? The lead role for project success

Moira Alexander | Sept. 18, 2017
Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. Here is a look at the project manager role, responsibilities, relevant certifications, expected salaries, and job-seeking tips.

What is a project manager? The lead role for project success
Credit: Thinkstock 


What is a project manager?

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.

If you are looking for a career in IT and wondering if a project manager position is right for you, IT Career Roadmap: IT project manager may be the best place to start. Also, consider if you have what it takes to be a great project manager.


Project manager responsibilities

A project manager, with the help of their team, is charged with multiple responsibilities that span the five project phases of a project life cycle (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing) below.

The project management phases intersect with 10 knowledge areas. The knowledge areas include integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk procurement and stakeholder management.

  1. Initiating phase
    1. Integration management: Developing a project charter
    2. Stakeholder management: Identifying stakeholders
  2. Planning phase
    1. Integration management: Developing a project management plan
    2. Scope management: Defining and managing scope, creating a work breakdown structure (WBS), and requirements gathering
    3. Time management: Planning, defining, and developing schedules, activities, estimating resources and activity durations
    4. Costs management: Planning and estimating costs, and determining budgets
    5. Quality management: Planning and identifying quality requirements
    6. Human Resource management: Planning and identifying human resource needs
    7. Communications management: Planning communications
    8. Risk management: Planning for and identifying potential risks, performing qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, and planning risk mitigation strategies
    9. Procurement management: Planning for and identifying required procurements
    10. Stakeholder management: Planning for stakeholder expectations
  3. Executing
    1. Integration management: Directing and managing all work for the project
    2. Quality management: Performing all aspects of managing quality
    3. Human resource management: Selecting, developing, and managing the project team
    4. Communications management: Managing all aspects of communications
    5. Procurement management: Take action on securing necessary procurements
    6. Stakeholder management: Managing all stakeholder expectations
  4. Monitoring and controlling
    1. Integration management: Monitoring and controlling the project work and managing any necessary changes
    2. Scope management: Validating and controlling the scope of the project
    3. Time management: Controlling the scope of the project
    4. Costs management: Controlling project costs
    5. Quality management: Controlling the quality of deliverables
    6. Communications management: Controlling all team and stakeholder communications
    7. Procurement management: Controlling procurements
    8. Stakeholder management: Controlling stakeholder engagements
  5. Closing
    1. Integration management: Closing all phases of the project
    2. Procurement management: Closing all project procurements

In addition to technical knowledge, here are eight project management skills in high demand. Among these, soft skills like these 11 communication skills of effective project leaders can also help project managers excel in this highly sought after role. To step things up here are six traits of highly effective project managers that can help set you apart as one of the truly great ones.


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