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What is a project manager? The lead role for project success

What is a project manager? The lead role for project success

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. Here is a look at the project manager role, responsibilities, relevant certifications, expected salaries, and job-seeking tips.

What is a project manager?

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.

If you are looking for a career in IT and wondering if a project manager position is right for you, IT Career Roadmap: IT project manager may be the best place to start. Also, consider if you have what it takes to be a great project manager.

Project manager responsibilities

A project manager, with the help of their team, is charged with multiple responsibilities that span the five project phases of a project life cycle (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing) below.

The project management phases intersect with 10 knowledge areas. The knowledge areas include integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk procurement and stakeholder management.

  1. Initiating phase
    1. Integration management: Developing a project charter
    2. Stakeholder management: Identifying stakeholders
  2. Planning phase
    1. Integration management: Developing a project management plan
    2. Scope management: Defining and managing scope, creating a work breakdown structure (WBS), and requirements gathering
    3. Time management: Planning, defining, and developing schedules, activities, estimating resources and activity durations
    4. Costs management: Planning and estimating costs, and determining budgets
    5. Quality management: Planning and identifying quality requirements
    6. Human Resource management: Planning and identifying human resource needs
    7. Communications management: Planning communications
    8. Risk management: Planning for and identifying potential risks, performing qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, and planning risk mitigation strategies
    9. Procurement management: Planning for and identifying required procurements
    10. Stakeholder management: Planning for stakeholder expectations
  3. Executing
    1. Integration management: Directing and managing all work for the project
    2. Quality management: Performing all aspects of managing quality
    3. Human resource management: Selecting, developing, and managing the project team
    4. Communications management: Managing all aspects of communications
    5. Procurement management: Take action on securing necessary procurements
    6. Stakeholder management: Managing all stakeholder expectations
  4. Monitoring and controlling
    1. Integration management: Monitoring and controlling the project work and managing any necessary changes
    2. Scope management: Validating and controlling the scope of the project
    3. Time management: Controlling the scope of the project
    4. Costs management: Controlling project costs
    5. Quality management: Controlling the quality of deliverables
    6. Communications management: Controlling all team and stakeholder communications
    7. Procurement management: Controlling procurements
    8. Stakeholder management: Controlling stakeholder engagements
  5. Closing
    1. Integration management: Closing all phases of the project
    2. Procurement management: Closing all project procurements

In addition to technical knowledge, here are eight project management skills in high demand. Among these, soft skills like these 11 communication skills of effective project leaders can also help project managers excel in this highly sought after role. To step things up here are six traits of highly effective project managers that can help set you apart as one of the truly great ones.

Project manager certifications

Becoming a certified project manager can open up doors for career opportunities and higher paying jobs. There are various educational institutions offering project management certifications with multiple specializations. The most widely recognized institution is the Project Management Institute (PMI), but there are others. Here are the top 11 project management certifications for 2017. If open source project courses are of interest, also consider some of these free project management courses to help improve project-related knowledge and skills. Many businesses are adopting agile as the preferred project methodology, creating the need for employees to develop their knowledge in this area. Here are seven agile certifications to take your career to the next level.

Project manager salaries

The high level of skills and responsibilities of project managers has garnered high salaries. According to PMI’s ninth edition salary survey, the annual median U.S. project manager salary was $108,200. Here are the annual median salaries by certification status and experience.

Certification statusMedian salary
Project Management Professional (PMP) $111,000
PMP with less than one year of experience $95,000
PMP between 1 to 5 years of experience $104,000
PMP with 5 to 10 years of experience $120,000
PMP with 10 to 20 years of experience $124,000
PMP with over 20 years of experience $133,000

Project manager jobs

The great part about a career in project management is that virtually every industry sector worldwide needs project managers with various specializations, making it a good career choice. Companies in the healthcare, aviation, technology, software development, engineering, construction, real estate, publishing, financial, marketing, manufacturing, education, insurance, government and many more need and seek good project managers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics outlook for project managers is bright. Essentially, any business that has projects needs project managers. Here are just a few of the many different types of project managers companies are hiring within different sectors.

Websites to go to find jobs in the project management space:

Project manager resume tips

Landing a job as a project manager means paying close attention to what your resume says about your skills and abilities. Because your resume is an extension of you professionally, create the best first impression to ensure it gets noticed and lands an interview. An employer has to value your resume enough to want to pick up the phone. Here are five secrets to creating the best project management resume to help land a position as a project management professional and other tips and templates to create a polished resume to showcase your experience.

Once in an interview, the tough part begins, makes sure you know the 12 questions project managers should be prepared for in a job interview. Before your next interview, spend time doing some research in preparation for your response:

  • Research the industry the business resides in.
  • Research the nature of the business, its activities, products/services, stakeholders, etc.
  • Review the business vision, mission statement, short-term and long-term objectives.
  • Search for information on the management team and overall business culture.
  • Determine how your role as a project manager and leader may impact that particular business, and in turn, also how it may be impacted by that business.
  • Think about how you can best utilize your training and experience to advance projects successfully.

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