Project Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

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Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Project Manager, or PM, is responsible for leading a team of professionals in completing projects by a set deadline to uphold business initiatives. Their duties include dividing up their budget for different project aspects and advocating for additional funding when necessary, hiring freelance professionals or selecting project team members from existing departments and setting or adjusting project schedules to adhere to deadlines.

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Project Manager duties and responsibilities

Over the course of a project, the Project Manager will need to communicate with staff and clients, make decisions and monitor the progress of the project to keep it on schedule. Important responsibilities for a Project Manager include:

  • Creating long- and short-term plans, including setting targets for milestones and adhering to deadlines
  • Delegating tasks on the project to employees best positioned to complete them
  • Making effective decisions when presented with multiple options for how to progress with the project
  • Serving as a point of contact for teams when multiple units are assigned to the same project to ensure team actions remain in synergy
  • Communicating with executives or the board to keep the project aligned with their goals
  • Performing quality control on the project throughout development to maintain the standards expected
  • Adjusting schedules and targets on the project as needs or financing for the project change
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What does a Project Manager do?

Project Managers typically work for corporations across industries in a variety of different specialties like information technology, marketing or product engineering. They work closely with upper management and project team members to establish project needs, deadlines and budgets. Their job is to delegate tasks among their team members, depending on their skill level or qualifications. They may also be responsible for motivating their team and resolving conflicts between team members to ensure a productive work environment.

Project Manager skills and qualifications

A Project Manager requires both hard and soft skills to excel in the position, including:

  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Decisiveness
  • Problem-solving skills
  • The ability to delegate effectively
  • Time management skills

Project Manager salary expectations

The average salary for a Project Manager is $50,273 per year. Exact salary is commonly determined by the experience of the Project Manager, the size of the projects being completed by the company and geographical location.

Project Manager education and training requirements

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in either business or management is commonly required for Project Manager roles. Further study to obtain a master’s degree may also be requested for some project management positions.

Some Project Management candidates opt to pursue certifications in addition to their education, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute. The American Society for the Advancement of Project Management also offers Project Manager and Senior Project Manager certifications.

Project Manager experience requirements

Job postings for project management will commonly specify prior experience in any related leadership or management role, although direct experience as a Project Manager may not be required. Valuable experience for a candidate includes work in the field or industry the project is in as well as management experience. Although management experience in the potential employer’s field is ideal, a combination of experience in the industry and management experience in another area may be acceptable. 

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Frequently asked questions about Project Managers

 

What is the difference between a Project Manager and a Product Manager?

Project Managers and Product Managers work closely together to ensure their company produces quality products in an efficient manner. However, they have different areas of job focus that distinguishes their roles from one another. For example, Project Managers set budgets, organize team schedules and provide their team and other professionals with deadlines for different stages throughout the project’s lifecycle. When a project involves product creation, Project Managers ensure that team members stay within budget when designing products and remind them of upcoming deadlines.

In contrast, Product Managers are responsible for working with Product Designers, Data Analysts and Product Engineers to determine the types of products consumers need, along with the blueprints for a product and the materials needed to create it. They may also provide support to Project Managers throughout a project’s lifecycle to test and refine products as needed.

 

What are the daily duties of a Project Manager?

On a typical day, a Project Manager starts by reviewing upcoming deadlines for specific assignments. They check in with individuals in charge of those assignments and emphasize the importance of meeting their deadlines. Throughout the day, they participate in meetings with their project team to answer questions and announce changes to the current schedule or project budget. They also meet with members of upper management to relay their team’s progress and to advocate for additional funding or project extensions.

 

What qualities make a good Project Manager?

A good Project Manager has a natural ability to lead. This quality helps them oversee a team of professionals on a daily basis in order to achieve organizational goals. They have proficient knowledge of software programs and use them to create digital calendars or schedules to keep everyone on task. They also know how to motivate their team members and frequently implement different incentives to promote productivity. 

Further, a good Project Manager has an innovative mindset that enables them to make quick adjustments to project deadlines or particular assignments. A good Project Manager also makes sure to stay within their allotted budget to save company revenue.

 

Who does a Project Manager report to?

A Project Manager typically reports to the Director of Project Management in large corporations. These individuals oversee multiple projects at once and provide Project Managers with budget expectations and deadline requirements. In smaller corporations, a Project Manager may report directly to the Department Manager or Department Director. For example, a Project Manager overseeing the revamp of a company’s IT databases may report to the IT Department Manager or the Director of IT.

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