If you’re wondering what a project manager? What does a project manager do? How to become a project manager? We’ve got the answers. There is a set process to becoming a project management professional (PMP) and landing a rewarding career as a project, program, or portfolio manager, but there is so much more to becoming a transformational leader. Here is what you need to get your project management career off in the right direction to being both a project manager and be transformational as well.
What is a project manager?
Every company will have a similar but slightly different project manager job description, but in general, the project manager is the key role behind project success. They are responsible for the guidance and support of stakeholders and in leading all of the activities throughout the planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing of projects. Ultimately, they are accountable to stakeholders and sponsors for the success or failure of the project. There are two other key strategic-level project-related functions that should be mentioned, program management and portfolio management.
What does a project manager do?
A project manager, with the help of their team, is charged with multiple responsibilities that span the five project management phases (sometimes called project management process groups) and the ten project management knowledge areas. These are covered further down in this article. At a high-level, their goal is to capture all stakeholder requirements accurately and successfully deliver the product or service that has been identified, within the scope of the project.
What does a program manager do?
PMI defines a program manager as being “a senior-level practitioner at the forefront of advancing your organization’s strategic goals. You manage multiple, related projects in a coordinated way, achieving benefits that could not occur if the projects were handled separately.”
What does a portfolio manager do?
The goal behind this role is to maximize business value delivery. PMI defines a portfolio manager’s role as implementing strategic initiatives to bridge the gap between business strategy and implementation.
Hierarchy: Project managers will report to program managers, who, in turn, will report to the portfolio manager. The portfolio manager will report to an organization’s executive team. Ideally, an organization will have an established Project Management Office (PMO) or a more strategic PMO or Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) that oversees all the activities of the Project, Program, and Portfolio Manager. This department can be internal or external and sets and maintains the direction, standards, best practices, and the status of project management across an organization.
Moira Alexander, PMP, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, is a recognized project management influencer, thought leader, a regular correspondent for PMI’s Projectified podcast, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PMWorld 360 Magazine, Founder of Lead-Her-Ship Group, and author of “LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership”. Moira has over 25 years of experience in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada and has been quoted in various publications including Forbes. She writes thought leadership content for top-tier publications and business blogs and oversees or writes sponsored content and software reviews on PMWorld 360 Magazine.