What Does A Project Manager Do All Day?

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Project management is a big deal and the linchpin? Project managers. We’re firm believers in the impact of a stellar project manager. The thing is, project managers wear different hats.

There’s the traditional type, all PMP-trained and PRINCE2-qualified, with “project manager” stamped on their official title.

Then, there’s the “non-project manager” kind—those who gradually assume project manager duties, overseeing and delivering projects.

But here’s the bottom line: whether by the book or not, project managers are the driving force behind getting the actual work done. They ensure your projects wrap up on time, within budget, and as planned.

How do they pull it off? What’s the secret sauce of a project manager’s day-to-day? Let’s dig in.

What is a Project Manager?

A project manager is the mastermind behind the planning, execution, and completion of a project. They take the reins for the entire project, juggling tasks from defining the project scope to overseeing the project team and allocating resources.

Simply put, the project manager holds the success or failure of a project in their hands. Pinning down the role? Tricky. It’s not about “What does a project manager do?” but more like “What don’t they do?”

They’re in the thick of it from start to finish—tackling everything from concrete tasks like planning and budgeting to the less measurable but equally vital aspects, like providing leadership and moral support. They’re the heartbeat of a project’s journey.

What does a project manager do exactly?

A project manager is responsible for steering a project from concept to delivery.

Here’s the scoop: it’s not about specific qualifications or backgrounds. It’s for anyone diving into the project management realm, ensuring things wrap up on time and within budget. In a nutshell, if you’re doing everything a project manager does, congratulations—you’re a project manager. Simple, right?

Sure, it sounds broad, but being a project manager covers a spectrum of tasks and duties (we’ll get into those soon).

We’re all about the idea that the more folks recognize their role in managing projects (even if it’s not officially in their job title), the better they can use project management tactics, techniques, and tools to up their project game.

Project Manager

Project Manager duties and responsibilities

Project management is a key player across various industries. While the methods and outcomes may differ, the role of a project manager remains relatively consistent.

Whether you’re steering a construction project or managing software development, the core responsibilities remain: planning, supervising, and delivering the project.

It doesn’t matter if the result is a new building or a fresh software feature—you want success and efficiency from start to finish.

To grasp what project managers do and why it’s crucial, we’ve broken down their responsibilities at each stage of the project management process.

1. Planning the project

At the kick-off, the project manager defines the project scope and syncs with stakeholders to set the stage.

Here, they’re ensuring the project aligns with bigger strategic goals, nailing down what “success” means, and getting the green light from all involved.

There’s also the nitty-gritty planning in the mix of these big-picture moves. The project manager sketches out the game plan, covering everything from budget and resources to the timeline, all based on the agreed-upon scope and goals.

2. Resourcing the project

Once the project manager has the plan, the next step is ensuring time, money, and people power—aka resources.

According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession Report (2018), “resource dependency” was a primary culprit in 26% of project failures, with “limited or taxed resources” (21%) and “inadequate resource forecasting” (18%) not far behind.

Resource management is a high-stakes game. It’s tricky because resources are always scarce—never quite as much as you’d want. The project manager’s job? Cleverly and efficiently allocate those limited resources.

A project management platform comes in handy here. It gives project managers a bird’s-eye view of everyone’s workloads, tracks available resources, and spots potential burnout risks before they happen. It’s all about working more thoughtfully with what you’ve got.

3. Managing the project

No matter how brilliantly you’ve planned and managed your project, life throws curveballs.

Translation: expect the unexpected. Competent project managers have done their homework with risk assessments, spotting potential hiccups. They’re on top of timelines and resources, catching bottlenecks before they become headaches. And when changes happen, they’re cool-headed enough to adapt on the fly.

They’re steering the ship in the right direction, even if it means detaining or patching up a sail. Flexibility is the name of the game.

4. Motivating the project team

When you dive into project manager duties, the classic trio comes to mind: timelines, budgets, and resources. No doubt, these are crucial. Yet, a top-notch project manager is more than just organized and adaptable—they’re emotionally intelligent.

Emotional intelligence is the secret sauce that lets the best PMs understand what drives each team member, navigate conflicts, and ensure everyone on the project team feels happy and valued.

Since happier employees are 13% more productive, it’s a critical element of the project management toolkit. It’s not just about managing tasks; it’s about understanding and uplifting the team.

5. Delivering the project

One of the critical responsibilities of a project manager? Getting the project across the finish line.

Sounds simple, but as we’ve explored, it hinges on many gears meshing seamlessly. The project manager must ensure that all the planning, resourcing, managing, and motivating culminate in the anticipated outcome—on time and within budget. It’s about turning the grand plan into a tangible success.

6. Reporting on the project

Competent project managers understand that the journey doesn’t end when you’ve accomplished the task.

To boost your shot at success, it’s crucial to schedule a thoughtful post-project meeting. This dedicated time allows the team to reflect and share insights while everything is still fresh. By documenting these learnings, you set the stage for process optimization in the future. It’s all about continuous improvement and scaling up your project management game.

What does a project manager tackle each day?

Now that we’ve got the basics of a project manager’s gig (“they manage projects”) and some of their tasks let’s peek into their daily hustle.

It’s a whirlwind job, with each day throwing something new. Depending on the project phase, a project manager’s routine might involve:

  • Chatting with leadership to map out the next project
  • Convincing the finance team to up the budget
  • Crafting a project charter
  • Putting together a risk assessment report
  • Catching up with the project team for a daily check-in and progress update
  • Tweaking the calendar to match timeline changes
  • Juggling and reassigning tasks to keep everyone in the sweet spot
  • Checking in with a team member facing workload challenges
  • Steering a post-project meeting to gather feedback

Now that you’re not left wondering, “What does a project manager do?” and have a taste of their daily grind, you might think, “Hey, that’s right up my alley!”

Recommended:

What Exactly Do Project Management Tools Do?

Why Projects Fail and What Project Managers Can Do to Save Them?

Sushant Gupta
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Sushant Gupta

Is an Online Geek. Who Diggs out the different ways for how can we make money online. He has been earning through e-commerce sites for years and wants to share his experience with all.

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