What does a project manager do? (Part 3)

Continuing with my previous posts (Part 1, Part 2) about what a project manager does, here’s Part 3.

The last post got us to an answer, but it’s still very generic. So let’s add a little more detail.

A project manager communicates, organizes, and pilots:

  • What (the tasks which need to be performed)
  • Who (the persons performing, supporting, or requiring each task)
  • When (the deadlines by which each task needs to be performed)
  • Where (the environment in which the task is being completed and communicated)
  • Why (the relationship of the task to other tasks, the project as a whole, and the overall goal)

What about ‘how’? In my experience, the project manager should never define how someone performs a task. That person is performing that task because (presumably) s/he knows what s/he’s doing. Telling someone how to do their job doesn’t usually go over very well.

So here’s the answer I ultimately came up with: A project manager communicates with team members and stakeholders; organizes tasks, resources, and project details; and pilots the project toward a successful completion.

And one final addition: every project is different, which means every project manager probably defines what s/he does in a different way. So how do you define it?


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