The Role of a Project Manager

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Chances are you’ve come across the term Project Manager. Perhaps you’re not aware that globally, only 73% of initiated projects reach completion, and a mere 55% of them meet their designated deadlines. These statistics are provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The secret to boosting efficiency lies in integrating the role of a project manager.

What’s a project manager?

A project manager is the person responsible for planning, managing, controlling, coordinating and, ultimately, launching a project. In simple terms, they oversee all the work from beginning to end to ensure the project’s goals are met.

In a way, they’re seen as leaders because they make most of the decisions and ensure those actions align with the established goals. That’s why their job involves tasks like analyzing quantitative data, generating and interpreting reports, and maintaining quality standards.

Many companies have chosen to incorporate project managers into their structure to tackle issues like projects not meeting deadlines, exceeding resource limits, or going over the initially agreed budget — primarily to make sure projects get completed.

An important distinction: don’t confuse this role with that of a product manager. A product manager is the one who outlines the product plan that needs to be executed. In essence, these roles are complementary but not the same.

The role of a project manager

Let’s take a look at the main functions of a project manager:

  1. Define goals. It’s essential to do some preliminary work to fully grasp the entire project. Then, you’ll establish realistic, measurable, relevant and timely goals, all while considering the available time and resources.
  2. Plan ahead. You’ll be the one setting the timeline, outlining the stages and overseeing each phase. Monitoring progress to ensure deadlines are met and making adjustments when necessary will be crucial. This is where data measurement and analysis come into play.
  3. Anticipate potential issues. Using the available resources, you should be ready to tackle any potential crises or problems, and ideally, address them before they disrupt the established plan.
  4. Stay organized. Delegating tasks and managing unexpected developments to ensure tasks are completed on schedule will be your responsibility. The primary goal is to prevent the delay of one task from directly impacting others.
  5. Resource management. Whether it’s financial, human resources or materials, you need to have a clear understanding of the project’s requirements to achieve the established goals.
  6. Support your team. The human team is the heart of effective management, requiring care, attention and nurturing. This is also where minor conflicts and tensions might arise. Therefore, effective communication with all team members, keeping them motivated and addressing their needs are pivotal aspects in the journey towards successful outcomes.
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Skills of a project manager 

Now that we’ve covered the main responsibilities of a project manager, let’s take a look at some of the essential skills they need:

  1. Strong Analytics and Reporting: Mastery over analytics and creating reports is vital. This will help you measure profitability, track costs and monitor the project’s progression effectively.
  2. Delegation Expertise: Knowing when and how to delegate is crucial. Transferring knowledge, sharing responsibilities and providing essential information are essential for maintaining smooth workflow continuity.
  3. Effective Data Management: Being adept at categorizing, explaining and measuring data (auditing) will distinguish your performance.
  4. Clear Communication and Presentation Skills: Delivering results convincingly is key. Presenting critical data through engaging presentations with well-structured content leaves a lasting positive impression.
  5. Proficiency with Tools: From PowerPoint and Asana to Google Analytics, different CMS platforms, and even basic knowledge of photography, video, programming languages and social media. Additional skills add value and prove useful depending on the project.
  6. Stakeholder Relationship Building: Nurturing relationships and providing solutions to potential issues is indispensable. Cultivating these connections stands as a primary objective.
  7. Organizational Acumen: Your organizational skills enable you to bring structure to upcoming projects. Minor tasks won’t slow down progress, and complex ones can be tackled efficiently. Supervising the entire project also helps anticipate and address potential crises.
  8. Familiarity with Work Methodologies: For instance, the Scrum method is prevalent for setting work rhythms, particularly for intricate projects in dynamic environments. It’s widely favored by companies like Google and Amazon.
  9. Attention to Quality and Detail: Your focus isn’t limited to project quality and speed alone; you’ll also ensure the team functions optimally and remains motivated. A positive approach contributes significantly to improved work quality and the final product.

Keep in mind that the role of a project manager is quite comprehensive, as it involves various functions, all of which are essential for achieving the set goal. Leadership, being solution-oriented, resource management and the ability to be proactive are all crucial.

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