1.7 Role of the Project Manager – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Fifth Edition

1.7 Role of the Project Manager

The project manager is the person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives. The role of a project manager is distinct from a functional manager or operations manager. Typically the functional manager is focused on providing management oversight for a functional or a business unit, and operations managers are responsible for ensuring that business operations are efficient.

Depending on the organizational structure, a project manager may report to a functional manager. In other cases, a project manager may be one of several project managers who report to a program or portfolio manager who is ultimately responsible for enterprise-wide projects. In this type of structure, the project manager works closely with the program or portfolio manager to achieve the project objectives and to ensure the project management plan aligns with the overarching program plan. The project manager also works closely and in collaboration with other roles, such as a business analyst, quality assurance manager, and subject matter experts.

1.7.1 Responsibilities and Competencies of the Project Manager

In general, project managers have the responsibility to satisfy the needs: task needs, team needs, and individual needs. As project management is a critical strategic discipline, the project manager becomes the link between the strategy and the team. Projects are essential to the growth and survival of organizations. Projects create value in the form of improved business processes, are indispensable in the development of new products and services, and make it easier for companies to respond to changes in the environment, competition, and the marketplace. The project manager's role therefore becomes increasingly strategic. However, understanding and applying the knowledge, tools, and techniques that are recognized as good practice are not sufficient for effective project management. In addition to any area-specific skills and general management proficiencies required for the project, effective project management requires that the project manager possess the following competencies:

  • Knowledge—Refers to what the project manager knows about project management.
  • Performance—Refers to what the project manager is able to do or accomplish while applying his or her project management knowledge.
  • Personal—Refers to how the project manager behaves when performing the project or related activity. Personal effectiveness encompasses attitudes, core personality characteristics, and leadership, which provides the ability to guide the project team while achieving project objectives and balancing the project constraints.

1.7.2 Interpersonal Skills of a Project Manager

Project managers accomplish work through the project team and other stakeholders. Effective project managers require a balance of ethical, interpersonal, and conceptual skills that help them analyze situations and interact appropriately. Appendix X3 on Interpersonal Skills describes important interpersonal skills, such as:

  • Leadership,
  • Team building,
  • Motivation,
  • Communication,
  • Influencing,
  • Decision making,
  • Political and cultural awareness,
  • Negotiation,
  • Trust building,
  • Conflict management, and
  • Coaching.