What Does a Project Manager Do?

Project ManagerEvery major project needs a project manager to oversee every aspect of the operation. The goal of project management is to apply specific techniques and principles in order to meet the project goals. Read more to learn about the duties of a project manager and how they successfully finish projects.

What Skills do Project Managers Need?

Qualified project managers utilize a variety of skills and knowledge to accomplish their project goals. For example, project managers must have excellent budgeting and cost-analysis skills. This is because every step of the project must be micro-managed in order to be kept financially on-track. Budget miscalculations could cause major delays or even total project failure. Next, project managers must use their time and organizational management skills to track enormous amounts of data and follow-up with employees, customers and outside individuals. As part of this, project managers must have excellent communication skills and human resource training. Risk management is a unique skill that project managers must continually apply to different real-time and projected scenarios. Finally, project managers must have an in-depth understanding of the principles of quality control, logistics and operational management.

A Typical Day For a Project Manager?

The day starts early for project managers, who generally arrive at the office or work site before other team members. Project Managers normally start the day by checking emails and voicemails and deciding which ones are a priority and which ones can be followed up later. Project management software allows the user to check on the progress of different tasks, review risks and prepare later assignment delegations. The end result of all of this should be a busy to-do list with specific goals and expected outcomes. During the day, project managers will meet with key employees and outside professionals to discuss issues, changes and updates. Project managers must provide accurate and timely updates to the client every day.

Why Do Projects Fail?

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), projects typically fail because of poor planning and untrained employees. Additionally, lack of buy-in, vision and management support are major reasons for project failures. Planning isn’t just part of the initial stage, but should be involved during every step of the project. This is because extenuating circumstances, market changes and even unexpected mishaps may cause delays or complications. Therefore, effective project managers continually communicate with staff in order to forecast possible problems and solve minor issues before they develop into major project setbacks. However, if employees lack the right training or expertise, problems will be unavoidable. Finally, successful project managers elicit buy-in from all employees and management before the project even begins. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of losing management support along the way.

What are the Stages of a Project?

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), every project has five stages. The Initial stage begins with stakeholders and management analyzing operations, business needs, projected costs and available resources. The Planning stage breaks down different aspects of the project, such as work structures, assignments, schedules and budget. The Executing stage is when the appropriate material, financial and human resources are brought together as the project begins. The Monitoring and Controlling stage involves auditing, re-assessments and project adjustments. Finally, the Closing stage is a formal review and documentation of the project’s strengths, weaknesses and improvement opportunities.

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Overall, Project Manager are versatile management professionals who use a vast array of skills and knowledge to monitor and complete different aspects of major projects. Skilled project managers avoid project problems and failure through proper action, planning and communication. In the end, Project Managers are talented professionals who manage human, financial and material resources in order to reach project completion.