What Does a Project Manager Do?
A project mangers core role is to meet project objectives and goals using the resources and expert knowledge available to them, working within the projects constraints.
Depending on the size and set-up of the organization that the project manager works for, they will have different levels of decision making authority. Some PM’s are given a huge amount of freedom and control, while others work with more constraints. Typically, smaller companies give more freedom to PM’s, and the relationship between the manger and their superiors tend to be a little more informal. Medium to large sized corporations need to have more controls in place and documentation is more important for future reference. In this type of company, that many have several PM’s working within a portfolio of projects, the PM often has less control over final decisions. Often in these corporate businesses, the manger will report to a functional, portfolio or program manger.
The required skills of the PM are manifold and in some cases expert knowledge of the industry are desirable. For example, it would be better to have someone with a background in construction to manage construction projects; as a person with a background in fashion show management would obviously know far less about the construction industry and would lack expert knowledge, contacts and a knowledge of safety requirements, laws and other constraints.
PM’s often work closely with their superior manger as well as team members. It is essential that they be excellent communicators in order to keep key stakeholders informed of progress. They also need to be leaders and find ways to encourage teams of people (many of whom have never worked together) to bound, work to their strengths and share a common vision. The PM will also have good negotiation skills as they will be involved in agreeing contracts with with parties from outside the organization, as well as sharing resources in demand from within the company.