What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Project Manager?

Updated Aug 3, 2022.

Project managers are one of the key players in project management and are widespread across virtually all teams and industries. As a result, they are crucial to the project's progress. 

But how did project managers become so sought after?

In the late 1980s, software development giant Microsoft launched a challenging project that immediately witnessed coordination challenges, which affected the project due to the large number of teams involved. 

Microsoft decided to pick one person (a functional manager) to organize and coordinate the project. This move by Microsoft birthed the role of project managers in today’s world. 

Perhaps, you have little or no experience as a project manager. Or, you are a business owner or executive looking to learn more about the basics of project management. You are reading the right guide. 

This article will show you the project manager roles and responsibilities, including their salary range and essential project management skills needed to become a successful project manager.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Project Manager?

To keep the project moving forward, project managers need to understand the project goals and the overall organization’s objectives.

1. Customer Satisfaction

Effective project management focuses on customer satisfaction. Satisfying the clients' needs is an essential responsibility of the project manager. For any project to be successful, the results should please customers. Therefore, they should know how to make practical discussions with customers to understand their needs, views, and concerns. 

Good project managers deliver results on time by avoiding mistakes and delays. In addition, project managers are responsible for minimizing uncertainty and ensuring proper risk management to avoid project failure

The project manager’s job is to involve clients throughout the project management cycle. They should keep clients updated about the project status through project management reports such as project status reports.

2. Time Management

Time management is the appropriate use of time given to complete a project. Therefore, one of the top project manager's responsibilities is to schedule the project wisely to ensure they accomplish all major project milestones before the allocated time runs out.

Managing time, structuring tasks, and assigning them to competent team members is one of the project management skills every project manager should possess. To manage time effectively, project managers should avoid unnecessary meetings, complicated work structures, poor communication, procrastination, limited resources, and poor decision-making to manage time effectively.

Create and maintain time schedules to ensure you deliver projects on time and avoid disappointing your clients. Clients are the ultimate judge of a project’s success or failure. As a project manager, meeting deadlines is vital.

Successful project managers know the importance of setting realistic deadlines. In addition, regular and effective communication with your team throughout the project life cycle is essential.

Project managers' work includes defining, sequencing, estimating activities' duration, and developing and maintaining a project schedule

Project schedule Template
Source: Vertex42

3. Budget Reporting and Evaluation

A budget is a financial report calculating the amount needed to complete a project. This report shows the actual income required for the task, the amount spent, and what amount remains. Budgets give a spending plan and allow the prioritizing of the project's needs. 

Project managers know how to evaluate budgets to control and track expenses. One of the advantages of budget reporting and evaluation is how it helps project managers to detect errors and miscalculations on time. Budgeting also reduces wastage and loss of income. 

The project manager must learn to spend within the approved budget. They should frequently review and evaluate the project plan and budget to ensure that the project work does not exceed the set budget.

Project management is all about keeping the project within the budget constraint. A project fails even if the project deliverable meets the client's expectations and arrives on time.

4. Schedule Management

Skilled project managers can set effective project schedules and organize regular team meetings with team members and key stakeholders. 

Holding timely meetings is a requirement for the success of a project. These meetings keep the project manager informed and aware of the project's progress.

Project managers need to create an effective team meeting agenda to increase the productivity and success of the meeting drastically. 

5. Recruitment of Project Team Members

The project manager’s job involves selecting hard-working team members for a particular task. During recruitment, the project manager must choose experienced, diligent and motivated people for making a better team. 

According to the Project Management Institute, project teams do the project's work. Therefore, the project manager job description involves the recruitment of team members. 

They should consider recruiting or assigning responsible members that fit the requirements needed to perform the assigned task, have positive energy and have excellent communication skills. Properly brief each team member on their role and involvement in the project, and create clear success criteria. 

The project manager monitors the team to develop and achieve the goals of a successful project. Then, they work hand in hand with the project coordinator and other team members to follow the project plan.

6. Task Coordination

Task coordination involves the planning, arranging, and making strategies that will bring successful outcomes to a project. The project manager is responsible for managing all projects and creating the project management plan. 

Proper project planning, supervision, and execution of critical projects are the hallmarks of experienced project managers. In addition, a capable project manager must know how to prioritize tasks, properly handle project dependencies, and coordinate and monitor tasks assigned to others to ensure timely delivery.

7. Activity and Resource Planning

The majority of projects fail because of poor planning. A project management professional knows the crucial role project planning plays in ensuring the project meets the assigned deadline.

Some of project managers' crucial project management roles include defining the project’s scope and the available project resources, including human resources. 

The project manager’s role includes managing the project objectives, project goals, project deliverables, resource management, and stakeholder management.

You can not have a successful project management career if you struggle to set realistic time and resource estimates for the project. Projects are by nature unpredictable and subject to change. The project manager role includes adjusting to project changes, including scope creep

8. Analyzing and Managing Project Risk

Risk management is an essential component of the project manager's job description. For example, a typical project management knowledge is that the more extensive or more complex a project is, the more likely the project will deviate from the initial project plan.

Projects are prone to challenges. Good project managers have the necessary project management training and know-how to identify, analyze, and manage potential risks before the launch of the new project. In addition, they know the measures to take to avoid or reduce the impact of project risks.

Simple Safty Risk Register Template
Source: Smartsheet

9. Managing Project Reports and Necessary Documentation

The project manager is responsible for creating and presenting the appropriate documentation to the necessary vital stakeholders. In addition, this individual is responsible for archiving these documents for future reference. 

Project reports make it easy to track the effectiveness of the project manager’s time, the project’s progress, and the project’s success. 

Some of the project reports and necessary documentation essential for monitoring progress made on the project include project plans, status reports, project health reports, project risk reports, and team availability reports. Status reports show the project's progress within a specific period. 

What Does a Project Manager Do?

The project manager's primary responsibility is to manage the project resources to align with the project’s objectives. To complete a project successfully, the project manager has to handle the planning process effectively and manage the project schedule effectively.

1. Communication

The project manager is responsible for answering emails relating to the project execution. In addition, the project manager is actively communicating with key project stakeholders to update them on the progress made at intervals.

2. Team Meetings

They are responsible for organizing and overseeing meetings to tackle any new or pending issue team members face. In addition, team meetings are crucial for communication between management and employees.

3. Reviewing the Appropriate Documentation

Reviewing all necessary documentation needed to assess the project’s progress of team members, the budget, scope, schedule, and risks involved are a huge part of what the project manager does. 

4. Assigning Tasks

The project manager is responsible for assigning tasks and resources to team members. They have to deal with project changes and can reassign or reallocate tasks and resources. Task management software helps assign tasks to individuals and teams.

5. Collaboration

Project managers collaborate with program managers, portfolio managers, and the project management office (PMO) to successfully execute complex projects.

Project Manager Salaries

According to PMI, the average project manager's salary was $115,000. However, based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics research, project management professionals earn a median salary of $77,420 (as of 2020).

Project Manager salary in United States
Source: Indeed

The highest paying cities in the United States for project managers include

  • Washington, DC: $92,821 per year
  • New York, NY: $88,289 per year
  • Atlanta, GA: $87,396 per year
  • Seattle, WA: $85,383 per year
  • Los Angeles, CA: $84,174 per year

Some alternative job titles that relate to the role of the project manager include

  • Project Coordinator: $49,000
  • Assistant Project Manager: $53,000
  • Senior Project Manager: $85,000
  • Project Management Specialist: $92,221
  • Project Management Consultant: $120,000
  • Program Manager: $125,000
  • Portfolio Manager: $138,000
  • Director of Project Management: $144,000

What Makes a Good Project Manager?

There are certain qualities that an effective and successful project manager must have, such as the ability to meet or exceed clients’ or stakeholders’ expectations and deliver the project on time and budget.

They should have project management certifications such as the Associate in Project Management and BVOP Certified Project Manager. In addition, this individual should also possess advanced project management certifications such as the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) that teaches you everything you need to know about agile project management and handling agile teams.

1. Good Communication Skills

A good project manager should know how to hold meaningful and effective communications with different people. They must be able to explain tasks, instructions, and responsibilities to the project team. 

Excellent communication skills are a vital skill every project manager should have. The project manager should be open to sharing ideas, holding essential discussions, and sharing feedback.

2. Problem-solving Skills

The project manager must be able to detect problems before they escalate, determine the cause, and find solutions to them. While planning the project, they have to predict possible setbacks and proffer solutions to them just in case.

The making of a good manager at all levels is the ability to settle disputes or misunderstandings between team members. Your job is to identify and solve problems that can negatively impact the project’s progress.

3. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are vital for any individual leading a team. For example, a project manager needs to have strong leadership abilities to carry out their management duties effectively. 

They must be able to push and encourage their team towards achieving their goals. Being a good leader means understanding the team members being transparent and open to changes. 

A good project manager is responsible for the activities of his project team members. Successful managers have focus, know how to prioritize, and are good at motivating and finding solutions.

4. Technical Know-how

Basic knowledge of technical skills is a requirement for a project manager. In addition, a project manager should be able to handle some simple project management tools to make work easier and faster. 

Technical knowledge assists the project manager in creating schedules, planning, and managing the project. However, this varies with the type of project at hand. Therefore, knowledge of agile project management and integration management is a massive plus.

5. Decision Making

A good project manager must be able to make decisions that will benefit the project. This vital skill reduces possible setbacks and helps achieve the project without problems or complications.

6. Encouraging and Motivating Qualities

Effective project managers are good at uplifting the spirits of their team members. They must understand each of them and encourage their work output through appreciation, positivity, rewards, and asking for their opinions. Project managers must also learn to inspire and show respect to their clients.

Project Management Software is Key for Effective Project Managers

Project management is easy with the right project management tools such as ClickUp, Monday.com, Wrike, Teamwork, and Smartsheet. You can save time on projects and drastically improve your productivity and team by simply using the best tools available. 

The proper project management application helps you create and track tasks easily, automate your manual tasks, document all processes, and keep everyone involved on the same page.

  • Communication: Using the right tool helps you easily communicate with your team, key stakeholders, and clients. You can use top communication features such as chats, emails, comments, and @mentions to communicate with everyone involved.
  • Tasks: Effective project managers use software tools to easily create, assign, and track tasks. 
  • File-Sharing: You can quickly and securely share your files and project deliverables (in file format) with the necessary parties with just a click on your dashboard.
  • Views: Project managers’ work is easy with the right software tools. Some of these views include Gantt charts and Kanban boards.
  • Integration: The best project management tools integrate with your everyday tools. Integration cut across email marketing, CRM, communication, video conferencing, file sharing, and productivity tools.

Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.