16 Jul 2020

What does a Project Manager do?

What does a Project Manager do?

Project management is becoming more prevalent in many organisations and industries as a skill set and profession.

Organisational and corporate leaders now acknowledge that Project Managers add real value, increase efficiency, and importantly reduce risk.

So what is it that a Project Manager actually does and what skills do they need to excel in today’s workforce?

For a complete overview download our free Project Management Careers Guide, but to start let’s take a look at some of the key responsibilities and skills a great Project Manager needs today.


The Project Manager is the key person who ensures that the project is delivered on time and on budget. So at the very heart, being a Project Manager is simply making sure the job gets done.

From start to finish, it’s the Project Manager’s role to make sure tasks both big and small are completed on time and to required standards and expectations. But it’s much more than that. Here’s a list of some of the typical requirements of being a Project Manager.

  • Project planning: Plan out the required tasks along a timeline that needs to be completed to meet the project’s goals.

  • Risk assessment: Identify and manage any risks associated with completing the project.

  • Budgeting: Assist in formulating the project budget then report on how the project is tracking against its financial metrics and milestones.

  • Stakeholder engagement: Work with project owners and stakeholders to articulate the project goals and outcomes.

  • Good communication: Schedule and assign the work that needs to be completed and communicate what the expected quality or standard is attached to each deliverable.

  • Leadership: Ensure team members remain motivated, on task and effective in delivering their allocated assignments and tasks.

  • Time management: Ensure the project is running on time and resources are being deployed effectively and as set out in the project plan.

  • Adaptability: Adjust and update the project plan to accommodate agreed changes when necessary.

  • Reporting: Monitor progress and regularly report back to key stakeholders highlighting any challenges, risks and of course successes.

  • Project learnings: Once the project is complete, review and report on the project outcomes and how it was managed and executed, making any recommendations for future improvements.

What is actually required of you as a Project Manager will vary from project to project – and from organisation to organisation. The key is to pay attention to detail, create the execution road map for the project and make sure it delivers as promised.

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


Successful project professionals require two different but complimentary skillsets. The first is what we call the technical skills. These are those skills that can usually be easily learned, such as data collection and management, risk management, budgeting and scheduling. It also includes learning how to deploy particular project management methodologies such as Scrum or Waterfall. 

Technical skills are usually applied to repetitive or manual tasks and can be managed today mostly via project management software tools, which are becoming more and more sophisticated all the time. But as technology takes care of these kinds of technical tasks, the role of the Project Manager is evolving to one that is much more centred on the behavioural skills. These are the more human skills that are so critical in today’s workplace.

The ability to communicate, influence and lead are really what underpins successful projects. Your ability to motivate and coach team members as well as confidently communicate with all stakeholders can centre the Project Manager at the heart of mission critical projects for an organisation.


So, as you learn more about the role of the Project Manager, remember that it’s far more than just managing a project plan and a set of tasks. Today as you progress in your project management career the emphasis will become less about managing tasks and much more about communicating, motivating and being strategic.

project management career guide