April 27, 2023
min read

What is a Project Manager?

Benedikt Bischof
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Managing daily tasks is a unique process for every individual in the workforce. But when it comes to coordinating efforts across multiple people, allocating resources over an extended period, and handling budgets that surpass a single person's wage, a more specialised approach is essential. This is where the invaluable role of project managers comes into play, as they expertly navigate the challenges of fast-paced and dynamic business environments.

If you're considering a career as a project manager or simply want to learn more about this in-demand profession, keep reading. We'll explore the key skillsets, daily responsibilities, and potential earnings associated with this exciting field.

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What is a Project Manager?

In a nutshell, a project manager is the driving force behind every aspect of a project, from initiation to completion. As the central figure in ensuring a project's success, their role is crucial.

Project managers collaborate with their teams to establish clear objectives, timelines, and budgets. Utilising specialised management tools, they skillfully navigate the complexities of project execution while demonstrating strong problem-solving and communication abilities.

Where do Project Managers work?

Project managers are essential in businesses of all sizes, from fledgling startups to large enterprises. While smaller teams may have a single project manager who takes on various responsibilities, larger organisations often employ multiple dedicated project managers to oversee their extensive operations.

Moreover, project managers are in demand across a wide array of industries, as effective workflow management is crucial in every sector. Whether it's IT, marketing, construction, or any other field, you'll likely find at least one project manager contributing their expertise to ensure successful project outcomes.

What does a Project Manager do?

Having outlined the role of a project manager, let's delve into the various tasks and responsibilities associated with this position. Although specific duties may vary depending on the company and team size, there are several core responsibilities that project managers typically undertake:

Project Planning

When a company secures a contract, the project manager takes the lead in ensuring its successful completion. This entails defining the project's scope, timeline, and budget. A detailed plan is crucial for efficient resource allocation and preventing potential setbacks from the outset.

Team Management

To ensure a project's success, the project manager must delegate tasks to team members based on their respective skill sets. This involves assembling a team and clarifying each member's roles and responsibilities.

Supporting the team throughout the project lifecycle is vital. The project manager facilitates regular meetings to encourage clear communication, prevent or resolve conflicts, and ensure everyone is working towards common goals. Motivating the team is also key to maintaining productivity and engagement.

Quality Control

A project's value is determined by its ability to meet the client's needs. To guarantee this, the project manager establishes quality standards and ensures the team adheres to them. This process involves creating a quality plan, consistently monitoring the team's progress, and managing stakeholder expectations.

Risk Management

Regardless of a project's size, it's important to have someone who can identify and address potential risks. Large-scale projects, in particular, may put jobs and entire companies at stake.

The project manager is responsible for detecting potential risks early on and developing strategies to mitigate their impact. In doing so, they reduce uncertainty within the team and reinforce their leadership role.

What are the skills of a Project Manager?

Now that we've explored the primary responsibilities of a project manager, you might be curious about the skills required for someone to excel in this role. Let's examine the key competencies a successful project manager should possess:

Hard skills

Project Management Methodologies: Given the varying sizes and complexities of projects, it's crucial for a project manager to be well-versed in different methodologies, such as Waterfall, Agile, and Scrum. Understanding how to apply these principles in real-world scenarios enables a project manager to choose the most effective approach for each unique situation.

Reporting and Analysis: Clear communication of progress and data is key when dealing with executives, who typically prioritise hard facts over casual conversations. As such, a project manager must know how to convey information about tasks succinctly and support their statements with accurate figures and other relevant details. This solidifies executive support, whether in terms of personnel or financial resources. To generate these insights, project managers must be proficient in various analytical tools and techniques.

Soft skills

Communication: A vital skill for anyone working within a team, communication is particularly crucial for project managers. This encompasses explaining complex technical concepts to stakeholders, ensuring the team understands all aspects of the project, and maintaining a shared vision. Emotional intelligence plays a key role in finding the right words and tone for different people and situations.

Time Management: Among the many important resources to consider in a project, time is a crucial factor that affects all others. Effective time management involves prioritizing tasks, setting realistic deadlines, and promoting a healthy work-life balance for team members to optimise productivity.

Leadership Skills: Exceptional leaders do more than simply issue orders; they guide their teams towards achieving goals and provide support throughout the project. Project managers must be prepared to act as cheerleaders for their team members, offering motivation and encouragement to help them reach their full potential.

Project Manager Tools

There are many tools that assist with project management. Here are some examples: 

Project management software: Software is helping almost every profession nowadays to work more efficiently, and project management is, of course, no exception. While with a broader view, a lot of software can fall into this category, let’s think here about planning tools like Jira, Trello and Monday.com.

Communication tools: As stated above, communication is essential for project managers. For quick communication, there are helpful instant messengers like Slack, and for more in-depth talks, there are conferencing apps like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.

Resource Management tools: Keeping track of a lot of numbers and info at once is an essential part of a project manager's work. Luckily there are valuable tools like Google Spreadsheets, Ganttic, and Resource Guru.

‍To-Do Lists: Simple checklists help to keep track of the day-to-day tasks and can support even the most clear-minded in remembering everything that needs to be done. Tools like Todoist, Any.com, and Any.do are some of the most used ones.

How to become a Project Manager

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a project manager, as people often take different paths to enter this profession. Some pursue formal education, while others are self-taught. Here are a few steps to consider as you embark on your journey to becoming a project manager:

  1. Learn About Project Management: Before diving into the field, it's important to understand what project management entails. While it may be an attractive career choice for many, it might not suit everyone's preferences. Gather information by watching testimonials on YouTube, reading blogs, or taking a free introductory course to see if project management aligns with your interests and goals.

  2. Pursue a Degree or Certification: While there are ample self-learning resources available, a structured educational environment, such as a boot camp or university program, can be advantageous. Most project managers (around 82%) have either a Bachelors or Masters degree.

  3. Develop the Essential Skillset: As a project manager, you'll need to master a variety of skills, which we covered earlier in this article. Being proactive in developing and refining these skills is crucial for thriving in the workplace and securing a job in the field.

Gain Experience: Once you feel confident in your skills and knowledge, seek entry-level positions that allow you to gain hands-on experience. These roles typically understand that you may not be an expert yet and provide an opportunity for you to learn and grow in a professional setting.

Salary of a Project Manager

Apart from feeling fulfilled by your job and having a good work environment let’s be real: salary is also pretty important. So, if you are interested in becoming a project manager, I have some good news - the salary is pretty competitive. Let’s talk numbers:

While a project managers salary doesn’t scale that much with the industry sector you are working in, those working in finance and information technology tend to get a bit more with an average salary of $92,000 in the US.

Find a Project Manager Job

It’s time to search and apply for jobs, as doing something for a living might be the best exercise and essential in becoming a pro in this field. There are a bunch of different site you can use to help your job search from local to international (LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed). Good luck!


What industries employ project managers?
Project managers work across various industries, including IT, construction, healthcare, finance, marketing, and many others. Their skills are valuable in any sector that requires the completion of complex projects.
Is a degree required to become a project manager?
While a degree can be beneficial, it's not always a requirement. Many project managers gain experience through on-the-job training, certifications, or self-study. However, having a relevant degree or certification can make you more competitive in the job market.
What certifications are available for project managers?
Popular project management certifications include the Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner.
What is the average salary for a project manager?
Salaries for project managers vary depending on experience, industry, and location. Entry-level project managers typically earn lower salaries, while experienced professionals in high-demand industries can command higher compensation.
What are the key skills for a successful project manager?
Some essential skills for project managers include leadership, communication, time management, risk management, problem-solving, and a strong understanding of project management methodologies such as Agile, Scrum, and Waterfall.
How can I gain experience as a project manager?
One approach to gaining experience is to seek entry-level positions or internships in project management. You can also volunteer for project-related tasks in your current job or within community organizations. Networking with professionals in the field and joining project management associations can also be helpful.
Is project management a good long-term career choice?
As businesses continue to evolve and tackle increasingly complex projects, the demand for skilled project managers is expected to remain strong. The role offers a dynamic and rewarding career path, with opportunities for growth and specialization across various industries.


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min read