Project Manager: What Is & Functions

Project Manager: What Is & Functions

What is a project manager?

A project manager is responsible for guiding a project from the beginning to its closure. The project manager leads the project with the goal of achieving specific objectives within a well-defined timeline and budget. To accomplish this, they are responsible for planning, organizing, controlling and executing the entire project, and for managing each team member and guiding them to achieve the project goals. Project managers is a defined role, whose main skills are leadership, good communication, good time management, problem-solving, strategic-thinking, adaptability, expertise….

What are the functions of a project manager?

Now we will explain the functions of a project manager in detail…

The main goal of a project manager is to lead a project to achieve a specific project objective within the timeline and budget. But there are other functions within the project manager role that we must include:

  1. Project planning: The project manager is responsible for defining the project goals, scope, deliverables, schedule, budget, and managing resources efficiently…
  2. Team management: The project manager is responsible for leading, inspiring and motivating their team to work efficiently and effectively towards the specific goal. They must behave as a leader and have a clear vision on how to accomplish those goals.
  3. Risk identification and management: The project manager must analyze the context, identify possible risks, anticipate them and address potential issues, and mitigate their impact or prevent it by developing a contingency plan.
  4. Communication: The project manager must have clear his plan, and communicate it clearly and effectively to his team, sponsors and stakeholders. Good communication and active listening is important.
  5. Monitoring and control: The project manager needs to monitor the project plan progress and take action if any changes occur.
  6. Project closure: The project manager needs to ensure that deliverables, objectives are completed, and the team members are released.

Technical knowledge that a project manager should have

A project manager must know anything related to the project they are working on. This includes:

  1. They must know everything related to project management methodologies, sops, best practices and project management softwares that can help out the process.
  2. They need to have knowledge about technical aspects of the project, such as software development, or any other relevant field.
  3. In order to lead a project to its goals, they need to know how to plan, resource allocation, task schedule and manage possible risks.
  4. Understanding of the financial management of the project.
  5. They should know about quality assurance and control and monitor processes.
  6. They must know perfectly any compliance requirements related to the project.
  7. Project reporting and documentation.
  8. Knowledge about other industry standards and their practices.
  9. Communication strategies, they must know any tip or psychology in how to effectively communicate with your team members and stakeholders.

Difference between Project Manager and Product Manager

A project manager is responsible for guiding a team to the accomplishment of the specific goals within a specific timeline, budget and to any quality standards. The main focus is to successfully complete the project.

On the other hand, a product manager is responsible for developing and managing a product throughout its lifecycle. During this process, they define the product vision, strategy and roadmap. Their main focus is to ensure that the product meets the customer's needs.

A project manager is focused on completing specific project objectives, and a Product manager is responsible for the life cycle, development of a product. About project management phases and goal hierarchy project management to learn more about the subject.

10 skills that a Project Manager should have

Leadership: A good project planner must be a good leader, and be able to guide and motivate the team towards the goals.

Effective communication: A good project manager must also be an effective and good communicator, and that means being able to effectively transfer the information required  in a clear and concise way, avoiding any misconception.

Visit type of communication styles to know how many exist and which ones to use.

Planning and organization: A project manager must be able to efficiently and effectively plan and organize the team and the project, set the specific goals and deadlines.

Time-management: It's really important that the project manager manages time effectively by prioritizing tasks and setting deadlines to each one. The project manager must ensure that the project stays on schedule.

Problem-solving: Be able to identify problems or risks, and find an effective solution to each one.

Budget management: A good project manager must manage the budget effectively and make financial decisions accordingly to it.

Risk management: A project manager must be able to identify and manage any risk related to the accomplishment of the project goals.

Adaptability: A project manager adapts to any change and circumstances, and he make the necessary adjustments in order to avoid delays.

Technical knowledge: The project manager must have technical knowledge related to the project, in order to make effective decisions.

Tools used by a Project Manager to manage projects

In order to manage projects effectively, project managers use a wide range of tools to make it possible and some of them are:

Project management software: There are a lot of softwares that ease our work, such as Asana, Trello, Microsoft Teams, ClickUp among others, allows task assignment, deadline management, project progress tracking…

Online communication and collaboration: There are tools such as Slack, Microsoft teams, Zoom, Loom among others that allows real-time communication, ease online collaboration and remote work.

Process creation software:  Creating processes for a company's life is fundamental. That is why tools such as Uphint allow project managers to create step-by-step guide templates in an automated and quick way to be saved. Thus, when a new member joins the team, only the step-by-step guides need to be passed on.

Resource management software: tools such as Resource Guru, Float, among others, allows managing the time and resources of the project team.

Time tracking tools: tools such as Harvest, Toggl, among others, allows tracking the time spent on each task and project.

Kanban boards: tools such as KanbanFlow, LeanKit, among others, allows visualizing the project's workflow and managing the production process.

Gantt charts: gant charts tools such as GanttProject, Smartsheet, among others, allows visualizing and planning the project on a Gantt chart.

Risk management tools: tools such as Risk Register, among others, allows identifying, evaluating, and managing the risks associated with the project.

Budget management tools: tools such as QuickBooks, Sage, among others, allows managing and tracking the project budget.

What mistakes can a project manager not make?

There are certain mistakes that need to be avoided in order to achieve success and accomplish the goals effectively. Let's check on some of them. 

Lack of communication: If you fail to communicate effectively with the team, clients and stakeholders that can lead to misconceptions and misinformation that will guide us to failure.

Lack of leadership: A project manager must be able to inspire, motivate and encourage the team to achieve the goals and objectives.

Failure to manage risks: being able to identify potential risks or issues, and take steps to develop a plan to overcome them is essential to make.

Inadequate resource management: A bad management of resources can result in delays, costs, and lower quality in the deliverables.

Poor planning: Bad planning can lead to missing important deadlines, cost money and other issues that can derail the project.

Inability to adapt to change: Unexpected challenges and changes may arise during the process of the projects, and the project manager must be the one to adapt and make the necessary changes.

Failure to track progress: If you don't track the progress and adjust the plan with any change necessary during the process, we will miss tons of deadlines.


The success of any project depends on the skills and the tools that a project manager has. A good project manager knows everything about achieving success and the best practices to do so. But they have reached that level, because they have an enormous experience on the field. The only way you can become a good worker is by making mistakes and learning from them.

Continue reading how to write a how to guide and kanban methodology.

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