Duties of a Project Manager

By Cynthia Snyder Stackpole

A project manager isn’t always the highest authority in a project. Often, that role belongs to whoever manages the project manager — including, possibly, members of senior management. Rather, the project manager is the person who ensures that aspects of the project are integrated and assumes hands-on responsibility for successes as well as failures.

In project management parlance, the person who champions (and funds) a project is the project sponsor. Although the project manager may work for the project sponsor, the project often also has a customer — outside the project manager’s own company or within it — for whom the end product is produced.

The project manager manages these essential pieces of a project:

  • Scope: Define and organize all work that needs to be done in order to meet the project mission and create deliverables.

  • Schedule: This element, which you create by working with Project, includes the estimated steps and associated timing involved in reaching the project goal.

  • Resources: Assign resources and track their activities on the project as well as resolve resource conflicts and build consensus. This part of the job also involves managing nonhuman resources such as materials and equipment.

  • Cost: Estimate project costs and apply those estimates across the schedule to create a time-phased budget.

  • Communication with the project team, management, and customers: Communicating the project’s status to its stakeholders (everyone who has a legitimate stake in its success) is a key responsibility.

Creating a logical balance of the defined variables of scope, time, cost, and resources is at the core of a good project manager’s job throughout the life of a project. Managing a project requires overseeing all its variables to ensure that the project goals are accomplished on time, within the limits of the budget, and using the assigned resources while also addressing risks, managing change, and satisfying stakeholders.

Sound easy? Maybe not. However, one thing is certain: Having software to help organize and structure the work makes managing the project less daunting. That’s where Project 2013 can help.