What is a Project Manager?

Project managers are individuals who are responsible for an entire project. A project manager will not be responsible for the nitty-gritty of completing every individual task, and it is rather unlikely that they will even have the skill sets to complete every aspect of an entire job. The project manager is simply the last word for all decisions. They usually are responsible for the ultimate success or failure of a project unless there is overwhelming evidence indicating another reason for success or failure.

What skills, then, are actually needed by a successful manager? One critical skill is that of being an effective team leader. An inquiring mind is also quite a useful asset. One must be capable of gathering information from necessary sources, and to quickly organize the information to successfully make predictions and good business decisions. All these skills are needed to plan and implement a project. An extensive amount of planning and evaluation is necessary. Those who do not plan and schedule very well should consider another career. Moreover, because a manager sometimes must share the plan with customers and persuade them that the idea is a good one, he or she also requires excellent presentation skills.

Once a path has been chosen, the manager needs objectivity and vision to assess the progress of the plan, adjusting as necessary to meet budget and time constraints and streamlining to remove ineffective actions where possible. The manager’s leadership is key to keeping the team motivated and on track. Being decisive does not mean being stubborn: an effective manager is realistic about when something is not working and adjusts accordingly. Another important factor is a commitment to quality and imparting a sense of high standards to the team so it can be incorporated into the project at every step.

The project manager serves as the compass for the project, keeping the goals in focus and charting a plan to get there even if there are some wrong turns and adjustments are necessary along the way. In addition to developing the plan, they also help define the goal to begin with. They also try to anticipate risks and develop contingency plans to adjust for them if needed. If changes are required to the scope of the project, then the project manager communicates with the client to document those, including determining the costs and the impact on the project.

Evaluating both team assets and liabilities can lead to good leadership qualities. A good project manager can also use their knowledge and aspire to successful results from the team effort. Diplomacy and assertion, as opposed to aggression, would be the best combination of skills in this field. While clear lines of communication to the team are also essential. However, on a more important note, the schedule may be the job for the manager to be responsible of, but the team should also be required to contribute as well.

The Project Management Institute also called PMI was created in 1969. Providing the project managers training so as to make them more successful and skillful, was the main objective of this organization. In order to achieve these principles, the directors created a set of standards and guidelines in 1981. This was known as the PMBOK, short for Body of Knowledge for Project Management. This is reviewed often and should be studied by those who wish to begin a successful career as a project manager.