So What is a Project Manager?

Fri, 2014-03-07 12:30

Last Updated: 2017-05-10 03:11

Many of us may think we know what project management is, but if asked, could we confidently answer the question of what a project manager is? Or better yet, what makes a good project manager?

As a basic definition, a project manager is simply an individual who leads a temporary endeavor or project to completion. Project managers reach across a broad array of professions, working in fields such as information technology (IT), construction, and engineering. Project managers coordinate the work of multiple professionals to complete projects on a schedule, within budget constraints, and according to client specifications.

What is a Project?

Let’s take a step back and focus on the question of “What is a project?” 

Most efforts in a typical business are focused on repetition and continuation. You are constantly searching for new customers to service and new markets to explore. You repeatedly take orders, manufacture products, and ship items. These kinds of things function in a never-ending cycle. Each process may end, but it simply leads to the next step in the cycle. In this world of continuation, change is the great enemy. Beginnings and ends are mostly avoided, due to being at odds with the fluid on-going cycle that supports daily business functions.

A project, on the other hand, has a distinct beginning and end. It has a very unique process that will never be repeated in exactly the same way again. Change is in its nature and is often the focus of its efforts.

Project Managers Implement Change

So connecting the dots, a project manager is a manager who is focused on the temporary and on change. A project manager is the person responsible for leading a project from its inception to execution. Project managers must have the discipline to create clear and attainable objectives and the ability to see them through to successful completion.

Project Manager Graphic

Project Managers are Leaders

Project managers work in a complex environment where they are responsible for leading the efforts of many different professionals. They bring people from different organizational silos together in order to accomplish a project. Part of the project management process is deciding what role individual members will fulfill in bringing a project to a successful completion.

Becoming a project manager is a logical career move for people with extensive experience in their field. Common fields for project managers include property management, construction, business management, real estate, software development, research, and education. Project managers are typically people who enjoy directing others and getting caught up in the details of large projects.

To find out more about how you can become a project manager, visit the PMP Exam Prep page on our website and learn more about our project management course.

By Danielle Whitman


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