24 Nov 2020

Project Manager Job Description: What Skills Do You Need?

Career
Project Manager Job Description: What Skills Do You Need?

Whether you’re looking to hire or are a project manager wanting to build on your project management skills, you can use our project manager job description below as a starting point.
 

THE ROLE OF A PROJECT MANAGER

The project manager is the key point of contact for driving a project forward, managing stakeholder engagement and ensuring that the project stays within budget and is completed on time. Project managers handle the "project life cycle". This includes the following stages:

  1. Initiating: Before the project commences, the project manager defines the main objectives, purpose, and scope, shared expectations, and determines how to move the project forward. 

  2. Planning: Project managers work with stakeholders to create a project plan. Scope, cost, timelines, and risk are all defined. This is not set in stone; it is an evolving plan that doesn't end until the project does. 

  3. Executing: This is the phase where the team executes the work defined in the project plan.  

  4. Monitoring: This phase begins at the beginning of the project and continues until closing. During this phase, a project manager monitors project progress and the budget, as well as making sure key milestones are reached, and compares performance against the plan. 

  5. Closing: Reviewing work that is completed, archiving work, releasing resources, and formally signing off on the project are all a part of the closing phase. 

 

Want to learn more? Check out our guide on the Project Management Career Path

 


PROJECT MANAGER KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Here is a list of the project manager duties that generally apply: 

 

Planning and scheduling:

  • Develop a detailed project management plan to track project progress 

  • Define the overall scope of the project and prioritise the tasks of the project 

  • Create and update project documentation 

  • Create accurate forecasts for revenue and resource requirements 

  • Ensure project tasks are executed and reviewed within scope 

  • Conduct a risk assessment to identify risks, and plan a response to treat the risk

 
Stakeholder engagement and leadership:

  • Manage project expectations with external and internal stakeholders 

  • Run project status meetings, daily stand-ups, site specific project meetings and retrospective meetings 

  • Focus on client satisfaction and liaise with contractors and suppliers

  • Mentor and supervise project team members 

  • Act as the main client contact for project activities 

  • Conduct workshops and training

  • Evaluate team performance 

 
Reporting and project reviews:

  • Coordinate and monitor projects through the entire project lifecycle 

  • Report and escalate issues when necessary 

  • Manage project performance with appropriate KPIs 

  • Continuously follow up on the progress, risks, and opportunities of the project 

  • Measure project performance using appropriate systems, tools, and techniques 

  • Make recommendations for project improvements 

  • Monitor project safety and ensure safety control measures are in place

 

PROJECT MANAGER REQUIREMENTS

Here are the common requirements of a project manager:

  • Previous project planning and team management experience

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to lead and motivate

  • A high level of organisational skills and attention to detail

  • The ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines

  • The ability to work autonomously

 

PROJECT MANAGER EDUCATION

Often job advertisements will state the applicant should have “relevant tertiary qualifications”. For a project manager relevant education could include:

  • Higher education: An undergraduate bachelors degree or postgraduate masters degree in project management.

  • Vocational Education and Training: A vocational training course, such as a diploma or advanced diploma in project management.

  • Short courses: If you have completed education in another area of expertise, you could build on your project management education by undertaking short courses with specialised content, such as change management or stakeholder engagement.

There is also the option of certifying your project management skills, which will show potential employers that you have the project management competency required to fulfill the role of a project manager. Visit AIPM’s national project management certification page to find out more.

Based on the above job description, you can get a sense of what project managers do. Project managers plan, organise, and direct projects through to their completion. Project managers are responsible for handling budget, time, and scope. It's important that project managers help reduce cost and maximise efficiency, which ultimately increases revenue. 
 
A project manager's job is vast and ever-changing. Every day can be unpredictable, but one thing stays the same – project management is an exciting and fulfilling career path.

 
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