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CAREER / 22 February 2017
Career Spotlight: Who are Project Managers and What Do They Do?
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Gisel Malek
Content Marketer

You’ve heard of this position, you’ve even scrolled through it when looking at jobs in between classes or during your break. But you don’t really know what a project manager does. It sounds simple. You’re not sure what kind of projects or in what capacity, but the job seems pretty self-explanatory. 

Well...project management is a pretty complex occupation if not one of the most complex to understand. We’re going to break it down. 

“Project management [refers to] overseeing all of the different projects or initiatives of a company and monitoring their progress and completion,” says Ethan Wasserman, partner and project manager at Clutch Maven, a Florida-based marketing company. 

Breaking it Down

The project manager is responsible for day-to-day management of the project and must be competent in managing the six aspects of a project, i.e. scope, schedule, finance, risk, quality, and resources. Project managers work on specific projects that have definite outcomes, have time limits and have to stay within a budget.

These tasks typically include:

Skills Required For Success as Project Manager


Project managers must have a diverse range of abilities, but I would say most importantly they need to be flexible. This can mean being able to quickly adjust to taking on a new direction to better execute a project or to meet a new deadline. Or, it could mean being adaptable to work with an array of personality types. In this role, sometimes you will need to react quickly and strategically so being able to adapt to new circumstances is necessary. 


Project Managers have to stay on top of their teams to make sure deadlines are met. I think it all comes down to communication and accountability. The team should have some sort of idea what the others are working on. This way each person knows they have to hold their weight and have others relying on them. Setting expectations and creating tentative schedules of when tasks will be completed helps to instill this among the team. They are responsible for separate aspects, however, as a whole, they must work together to finish a project within the designated deadline. Frequent check-ins ensure everything gets accomplished and on time. You are only as strong as the weakest member of your team. 

Decision Makers 

If you want to do A, but everyone else wants to do B, it can be quite a difficult situation. It can also be a great opportunity to test yourself -s ee if you what it takes to lead a team. Anyone can tell someone what to do, but it’s much harder to make the right decisions that will garner successes. If everyone chooses to go one way, there obviously must be a reason why. It would then be wise to give your team the opportunity to explain why that reason is, and if you agree, no one would think less of you. If fact; it would be the opposite. However, if you listen to the reasons why and still think you should do something else, that is your right and your team should stand by your side.  

Taking Ownership 

As a leader, you are required to demonstrate a sense of ownership. Leaders that fail are the ones that are too stubborn to accept their own faults. If you continue making the same mistakes, you will fail. Failure itself is not a bad thing, in fact; it allows you to make things right, learn and move forward. The trick here is to direct your focus on how to fix a problem, not just presenting it. No one wants to hear problems, even though they are bound to come up. Test your creative and analytical skills by listing out at least 3 options to every solution. This gives your boss options and opportunity to take the appropriate steps to repair the situation the best possible.  

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