Roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager


Often, I see number of web searches made on this topic. So, I thought of presenting my views on the same.

The below four lines would be the starting sentences of a typical project team meeting.

“Is every one there?” Manager asked to his team in meeting.

Answer “Yes” came in asynchronously from all different voices.

“Is everything fine? Anyone facing any issues in their project objectives?” This is manager’s voice.

One member raised the voice and told “I have one issue regarding the database design”

………….. And it goes on for an hour.

Why am I presenting the dialogs at the first place to explain the role & responsibilities of Project Manager?

In the above conversation between PM and team, we understood project monitoring role of the PM. Actually, the role & responsibilities of a Project Manager is little complex and needs to be explained elaborately in clear terms for each project. Let me list down few important roles & responsibilities of a Project Manager.(This is not a complete list)

* The Project Manager is the person responsible for managing the project.

* The Project Manager is the person responsible for accomplishing the project objectives within the constraints of the project. He is responsible for the outcome(success or failure) of the project.

* The Project Manager is involved with the planning, controlling and monitoring, and also managing and directing the assigned project resources to best meet project objectives.

* The Project Manager controls and monitors “triple constraints”—project scope, time and cost(quality also)—in managing competing project requirements.

* The Project Manager examines the organizational culture and determine whether project management is recognized as a valid role with accountability and authority for managing the project.

* The Project Manager collects metrics data(such as baseline, actual values for costs, schedule, work in progress, and work completed) & reports on project progress and other project specific information to stakeholders.

* The Project Manager is responsible for identifying, monitoring, and responding to risk.

* The Project Manager is responsible to the project stakeholders for delivering a project’s objectives within scope, schedule, cost, and quality.

* The reporting structure of a Project Manager changes depends on organizational structure. He may reports to a Functional Manager or to a Program Manager.

In a bit exaggerating terms, Project Manager is the ‘God’ of his project and he is the one who decides the success of the project.

34 thoughts on “Roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager

  1. okeys guys.
    The rules of the project manager are an organized set of behaviors related to an identifable position.the project manager is responsible for a project rules and changing the environment.His role is difficult because he is managing the people who have dual responsibilities to the projects and to their line department.the various of rules of project are as follows.
    1 Leadership Rules.
    2 Balancing Rules.
    3 Information Rules and
    Decision Rules
    Prem Koirala….

  2. Pingback: Project Manager’s Essential Soft Skills | Leadership Champions

  3. In a simpliyfied and short description about the role and responsibility of a project manager would be:
    “An individual responsible for planning, organizing, directing and managing the day-to-day activities of a project(s), and for delivering the project objectives to the Sponsor and Steering Committee.”

  4. HI,… NORTH WEST UNIVERCITY 20 YEAR STUDENT,….BIENG A PROJECT MANAGER MEANS HAVING MANY RESPOSIBILITIES, E.G. I IN MY OWN WORDS I WOULD SIMPLY SAY THE PM IS THE RADDER OF HIS OWN PROJECT WITHOUT HIM AND HIS CUMPAS( PROJECT LIFE-CYCLE BIENG THOUROUGHLY FOLOLOWED AND ITS PHASES) THERE IS NO PROJECT SUCCESS AT ALL. EVEN IF THE PROJECT IS TEMPORARY HE HAS TO SEE TO IT THAT ITS MORE SPECIFIC, OF QUALITY AND ENDS PERFECT.

    • Hi Murtaza, Thanks for the comment. As you mentioned it is a small list of main responsibilities of a PM. A PM has very long list of responsibilities with which we can write a big book.

  5. Just want to add few points on ‘making sure that an IT project is successful’:

    Generally we consider, once system is ready from technical point of view, project is completed or system is ready for productive use. This is a major misunderstanding or underestimating the scope of project work as a project manager.

    There is three more part to it apart from readiness of the system;

    1) Data – Largely depending on users to provide necessary data for the system to productive, I have seen number of project managers taking this very lightly and late in the project. If you system is largely depending on master and transaction data, this could be major set back.

    2) Training – All system users must be trained just before going live, number of times it happens that users are trained 1 to 2 months in advance and they always have argument that they forgot what was told to them. There should be multiple level of training to be provided and define champion user role to take care of it. (e.g. System training at beginning of the project if you are using ready application, key/champion users training – class room and hands-on, train during various level of testing, end-user training – champion users to take care, and refresher course just before system go-live)

    3) Operation Procedures (including SOP) – How to operate solution/system provided by a technical team is generally not documented until go-live, this is another area of the risk project may fail as users are not given specific instructions. Champion users are to be made responsible to create SOPs for the project.

    4) Just additional note: Readiness of the system can be decided based on user acceptance test results.

    Out of total four major tasks of an IT project (i.e. Readiness of system, availability of correct data, end-user training and Operational procedure), we can take care of only the 1st point make sure that system is ready, remaining three tasks to be done by customer/user organization, we may help them by providing support for these activities, but ultimately they have to do it and ensure that it is correctly done before system can be made operational.

    I cannot believe project would not be successful if as a project manager we take care of all above four points (excluding political reasons).

  6. I am tech lead and offered a role of acting project management of my current project. i would be working with my current offshore project manager and work with him parallely for couple of months which would actually help me to understand how the project is been taken care.

    so what would be my approach to this.. what kind of pre requistes should i posses and how do i set my expectations and day to day works. please suggest

  7. Hi ,
    Im working as a Application Developer since 3 and half years , prior to this i have the experience in working on technical projects and also working with clients . What are my possible options to become a project manager . I have the basics of the project managerial activities and work options. How do i approach towards being project manager . Is PMP a mandate for becoming Project Manager ?

    Regards,
    Raj Dontham

    • Hi Raj,

      Good to know that you have a wish to become a Project Manager. First and foremost point I want to tell is – PMP is a kind of a medium through which you get to know end-to-end project management processes & it really an additional qualification for a project manager. It increases your chance to get promoted or getting an offer. Having said that – what really takes you to a manager role is ‘Communication’ and the thought process you are presenting in those communication opportunities. Even I started my career as technical person & I understood this important piece after losing certain critical communication opportunities. Getting PMP training will surely help you in improving the thought process & present different real time scenarios but the success as PM depends on how well we implement those ideas in our decision making.

  8. I’m starting as Project Manager in a project that went live 7 months ago, the account is in red based on numbers, several PMI’s have passed thru the account without success, I’ve noticed there is no baseline info or %’s for these past months, they are no real figures based on escalations or any other issues on a determined dept…. ‘

    I really want this to work, I have experience, but the lack of data and significant processes are making this very difficult to achieve.

    • I’m sure you are well beyond use for this comment, but I figured I would leave it for future references. You cannot manage or execute a project without baselines or data to create baselines. If this information does not exist you must first alert your project sponsor and inform that these things must be created. It will require you to do research to get the financial health of the project and work remaining/work completed. When these things are secured you have to plan and scope the project. If these things are not secured, you must proceed as if you are starting a new project and start with project initiation, etc. The key message I want to convey here is you CANNOT manage a project without understanding what your baseline is, what your scope of work is and where are you currently…

  9. Question
    If a project manager orders a functional manager to stop further progress baesd on cost overruns and if failure occurs for that reason, who is at fault?

    • The project manager normally does not have the authority to “order” a functional manager to stop, notmally a project manager would escalate to the project sponsor, who would “order” the Functional Manager to stop.

      Quick answer, the project manager is always at fault for project failure. These cost overruns did not just happen in one day, there was a trend that the PM should have been monitoring and correcting well before it was too late.

  10. I’m secconding what you have captured on the state of Project manager, but still i have a question on what is the role of Project management in respect of time,scope,quality and environment

  11. project manager’s responsibilities are so diverse that he has to manage a to z of all project related matters, however, seldom a project manager has any authority (not only personal experience, but more of regional trend) to decide on even trivial matters due to bureaucratic style of general managers who seem to know all, but never has the time to think about a PM’s dilemma in front of his clients and team members, wasting crucial time and treating all project related decision in his own perspective for whatever reasons. It is widely recognized that it is responsibility of GM/OM for the P&L of the complete unit he manages, however, the general notion and tutoring that PM’s are owner of a project rarely is true due to no or very limited authority. I know so many PM’s in my industry who are project coordinators than a real PM. But that’s life……

    • L Narayan,
      You have very well captured the true state of Project manager. S/He is responsible for the success of project but with little or no authority.

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