14 Key project manager roles and responsibilities

Key project manager roles and responsibilities

Being a Project Manager is like being an artist, you have the different colored process streams combining into a work of art.” – Greg Cimmarrusti

At the heart of successful project management is a project manager, who like the ‘captain of a cruise ship’, ensures a smooth ride. When it comes to the roles and responsibilities of the project manager, it starts with creating strategies, delegating tasks, monitoring progress, budgeting, ensuring coordination among team members, and collaboration.

However, if you think you could master these skills, and become a successful project manager, slow down, my friend! There is still a lot to come. Intriguing tasks like team building, acting as a bridge between your team and the client and ensuring timely completion are all part of the project manager’s tasks.

Project manager roles and responsibilities

Roles define what you need to do for the project. These roles define how you relate yourself to your team members and customers. Responsibilities are further dependent on your role.

Responsibilities are day-to-day activities and tasks that you do every day in the office. These activities and tasks together contribute to accomplishing your role as the project manager. These responsibilities may vary depending on the stage of the project and several other reasons.

So without further ado, let’s discuss the roles & responsibilities in detail along with actionable tips and examples.

Project manager roles and responsibilities

1. Defining goals and roles

Let’s take an example of a website-building company. You will first start by making a bigger picture of the major attributes to which your company contributes. This primarily depends on your customers or the niche in which your business serves.

Defining the role of HR would be limited to hiring and other practices related to administration. Similarly, developers would focus on coding and developing websites.

However, as a project manager, your role would be the center to hold the entire project together. Ensuring enough manpower and resources, and conveying task details to individual team members are all roles of a project manager.

2. Keeping the team close-knit

Focus on building a team that ‘works together’. Start by defining primary roles for the departments. To simplify this process, define goals! When you know what your goals are, you will be able to define roles for each department with ease.

With clearly defined roles, maintaining harmony in the team and fostering trust within its people is the next process so that everyone can achieve more and achieve faster.

For this, you need to ensure that:

  • Every member of your team gets regular feedback.
  • Everyone understands their tasks.
  • Everyone communicates well.
  • The team has enough resources and tools for effective collaboration.

3. Delegating work effectively

As a project manager, it becomes critical to delegate tasks to your team members effectively. It is a leadership style that every project manager has to learn and adapt. You should not misuse this responsibility by blaming or degrading your team members.

You should understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and delegate the tasks to them accordingly. Your team members must be able to prioritize tasks.

This is where you need to think smart!

Think out-of-the-box!

How about getting help from a project management tool?

This will simplify not only the task delegation process but also help manage the project schedule effectively.

ProofHub is an all-in-one project management and team collaboration tool. You can use this tool for delegating tasks, monitoring progress, communicating with your team members, and also for real-time collaboration.

4. Employee feedback

Of all the roles you are involved in as a project manager, gathering employee feedback plays the most crucial role. As the project progresses, it is essential to review the performance of your team members.

It is obvious that over the course of the project, the roles of different individuals may change. Therefore, such reviews will help in providing feedback to your team members about updates.

It is important to note here, that the objectives of the company might not have changed, but the way to reach there would have. This is the reason why you need to be in close proximity to your team at all times.

5. Planning everything from execution to delivery

Ideally, you should have a strategy to achieve more in less. By more I mean, more outcomes, more quality, and more client satisfaction, while less refers to fewer resources and less time. In simple words, you must chalk out a pathway that will help you to complete the project successfully and efficiently. You could use approaches like Agile, Waterfall, etc. However, remember that your team should also be comfortable working in this environment.

All in all, for strategies and planning your project manager skills should involve

  • Breaking the project into tasks and sub-tasks.
  • Define the scope of the project
  • Steady progression by taking up tasks in small chunks.
  • Setting an appropriate schedule for the development of certain deliverables.
  • Defining milestones.
  • Highlighting the project dependencies.

6. Directing the team to achieve a common goal

You should ensure that your team is on the right track toward success.

Have you ever seen what a good shepherd does?

He guides all his sheep and goats on the track toward greenery.

Similarly, keep your team members motivated, so they continue moving on the right track. It is your responsibility to ensure that your team showcases their full potential. In some instances, you will have to own up to tasks of other domains.

For wisely directing your team your project manager’s attributes must be similar to those of human resources like

  • Negotiating current employees’ job responsibilities
  • Managing their time, and achieving their commitment to the project
  • Bids may be required
  • Contracts will need to be reviewed and keeping everyone in check to make sure that the team moves along by the plan.

Moreover, implement Agile practices in your teams. This is how you can improve the accountability of the team members. This would help the team become cross-functional which would mean that you will be making the team:

  • More adept at taking on challenges and dealing with changes in client requirements.
  • More capable of coordinating with clients and juggling responsibilities.
  • More comfortable with changing roles and working in more niches than just one.

7. Managing time 

Time is the most crucial resource in project management. This decides the base on which the entire project revolves. You should be able to negotiate deadlines on behalf of your team members.

Effective time management is possible through strategic planning and scheduling. Delegate tasks to your team members and set a deadline.

Identifying bottlenecks early also plays an important role in the timely completion of a project. When you forecast your available resources effectively, you will be able to face sudden challenges related to resources and avoid the project delays.

Pro Tip: I always encourage my team members to use the Pomodoro Technique. This basically means they work with full focus for 25 minutes, and then take a break for 5 minutes. This technique prevents burnout and improves the overall productivity of my team.

Stop wasting time manually scheduling your team’s resources. Find the best resource scheduling software for your needs with just one click!

8. Monitoring progress and tracking roadblocks

This is the most time-consuming part of your daily work routine. There are a lot of technicalities related to this phrase. Excessive monitoring may cause resentment among your team members. However, you need to montior your project scope and project progression, so that the project can be completed on time and within the defined budget.

Project management software comes in as a savior at this point. With ProofHub you have complete control over your team. You can view task progression, workload of your team members and project timeline with Gantt charts. These details will help you to manage resources and identify bottlenecks, and areas for improvement of your team.

Further, you need not overburden yourself with responsibilities. Automation (in the form of automation of repetitive tasks) comes in handy and ensures that project progression is not hindered.

9. Conducting regular meetings

The first thing before conducting meetings is that you should prepare an agenda. This will ensure that your team is aware of the purpose of the meeting.

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together”. – James Cash Penney

Regular team meetings depend on the project methodology you are working on. In Scrum methodology, there is a 15-minute meeting every day. This is the time for you to establish a status quo with your new team members.

If you are using a project management tool, then it is not important to have daily meetings or long meetings. As long as your team members are on the same page, you can let them work independently. Modern workplaces have very short meetings that are mostly focused on the agenda that is shared well before the meeting starts.  

On a project management tool, your team can collaborate, discuss, and share files in real-time on the centralized platform, thereby eliminating the need for physical meetings.

10. Establishing a shared vision

Your vision should match the vision of the business. This is how you will be able to focus your efforts in the right direction. 

Then comes the part where you convey this to your team members. Having all your team members on the same page is necessary for motivating and inspiring the team. 

In order to establish a shared vision, you need to bring enthusiasm and positive vibes into your team. This helps your team to understand the workload and make all possible efforts to convert goals into missions. 

You are responsible for setting the appropriate tone for smoother sailing down the road. 

A vision fosters team cohesion boosts creativity and motivation, and imbibes a purpose that helps in the successful and timely completion of the project.

11. Managing documentation and reports

As the project progresses, there will be hurdles, milestones, and other issues that may creep up. You need to maintain a record of time and budget.

These documents and reports will come in handy for identifying areas where there is a need for improvement in future development programs. Also, these documents will help you to prepare reports for submission to clients.

Further, these documents play two additional functions, in the overall project progression –

  • To maintain a record of what has been done in the project and who has been involved in it.
  • To ensure that the project satisfies all the project requirements.

Pro Tip: Not a biased one, but how can I not say this? ProofHub is your best friend for managing documents and reports!

Depending on the size of the project, you will have to manage various documents and reports. ProofHub offers you visualizations, reports, and data dashboards to simplify this complex task.

Further, ProofHub acts as a centralized platform for storing all information related to the project such as – who is responsible for what, who reviewed them, the completion date of various tasks, etc.

12. Coming up with a plan B

A major responsibility comes with the fact that as a project manager, ‘you should always be on your toes’. Not literally! You will hurt yourself in the process.

Preparedness for unforeseen events and circumstances is essential for ensuring that the project is risk-proof.

In order to keep a cycle moving, you pedal continuously, even if the roads are bumpy.

Similarly, for a project to have a steady progression, you need to keep putting in effort. As a project manager, you should be familiar with the basics of project risk as well as change management.

You must know how to:

  • Arrange for extra resources.
  • Manage time in difficult circumstances.
  • Have an alternate plan to justify the client’s expectations.

13. Managing project budget

Completing the project within the set budget and time defines the success or failure of a project. It is the responsibility of a project manager to negotiate the right budget with the client and complete the project within it.
As a project manager, you need to monitor the project scope, schedule, and resource requirements closely as these changes can directly affect the overall cost of the project. For a better understanding, you should know the project management triangle, and how the cost, scope, and time of the project are connected.

For better cost management, you must know how to:

  • Understand budget planning and estimation techniques like bottom-up estimating, analogous estimating, and parametric estimating.
  • Use project management tools to generate real-time budget reports and track actual expenditures.
  • Collaborate with the finance team to manage budget changes and reallocate funds as needed

14. Coordinating with the clients

Your responsibilities also include coordinating with the clients. Not as easy as this sounds, this can in some instances become challenging.

You are primarily responsible for negotiating the requirements of the project with the clients. It is necessary for you to bring clarity to the clients about how they should go about the project and everything that the team can do for them.

As a PM, you become the bridge between all the stakeholders of the project. Any changes or feedback from the client should be conveyed to the individual team member in the most effective manner.

Bear in mind, the following points for smooth coordination

  • Share feedback often for continuous improvement of your team, as well as the performance of the whole project.
  • Appreciate positive feedback and celebrate accomplishments.
  • Avoid the blame game, especially in case of negative reviews.

What does a project manager do?

A project manager oversees the planning, execution, and completion of a project. They play a crucial role in task coordination, resource management, progress monitoring, stakeholder communication, research, and ensuring that project meets its goals on time and within budget.

A project manager is reponsible for the project from initiation to the finishing of a project and for this, you will have to polish your leadership skills, coordination abilities, and motivational skills continuously.

The importance of a project manager

89% of organizations have a project management office. This shows the growing necessity of PMO in almost every business.

importance of a project manager

Let’s briefly discuss the importance of a project manager – 

1. Realistic planning  

A successful project depends hugely on planning and creating a strategy. Never underestimate the planning phase. Random forecasting and approximate delivery dates are recipes for project failures.

This is where you lay the foundation for the project. The smooth project progression and the timely completion of the project depend completely on effective and realistic planning. 

2. Set clear focus and objectives

Try letting your team members work on a project without proper objectives and focus. You will see them create a muddle out of the project!

As a project manager, it is your responsibility to set guidelines for the steady flow of the project. Right from start to end, you need to ensure that your team members stay on track in order to ensure timely completion of the project. This is like herding a sheepfold safely from the barn to the pasture.

3. Simplifying complex issues 

Your expertise as a project manager shows when you break down tasks into manageable chunks for your team. This helps them in setting priorities as well as milestones.

This will contribute towards the timely completion of the project. You will be able to handle complex issues with better agility when working on small tasks.

“I would like to take you back to 2017, the controversy around Google’s diversity memo. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, and Alphabet Inc. handled this incident with transparency, inclusivity, and grace.

His skills as a seasoned manager were on display when he organized town hall meetings to address this issue. He did not focus on trying to silence the employee and ignore the issue but rather chose to openly discuss this issue portraying diversity and inclusion. He also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to a supportive and inclusive work environment.“

Although the example is of a CEO, while we are talking about project managers, my aim here was to portray how to act quickly and respond to critical issues effectively. These are the skills that define a successful project manager and sets them apart.

4. Quality control

A team can complete projects on time, but the essential component is ensuring quality. Completed projects may become useless if they do not fulfill quality requirements. 

A project manager ensures the quality of the project by defining standards. This lets the team members know what they are aiming for. 

5. Cost factor

As per a study, 9.9% of every dollar is squandered due to poor project performance. A project manager helps in saving a lot of money for the organization.

As a skilled project manager, you should be able to improve efficiency, mitigate project risks, and optimize cost of the project. All these factors help in combating the waste of resources and help in the growth of the organization.

What qualifications do you need to be a project manager?

Let’s now talk about the point of qualifying to become a project manager.

If you believe you have the capabilities of being a project manager, you need to authenticate them in the form of certificates or experience.

Getting a (PMP)® certification is one of the key requirements for becoming a project manager. Having the project management certificate can make you stand out among your competition. They showcase leadership and expertise in working.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®

This certification is valid across the globe. However, to get the PMP certificate you need commitment and perseverance. Along with real-world project management experience, the basic requirement to qualify for this certification includes:

👉A four-year degree 

👉36 months of professional experience leading projects in the past eight years

👉35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® certification

Or in case you have a High school diploma, then you will require

👉60 months of experience leading projects in the past eight years

👉35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® certification

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the apex body that has the ultimate control over issuing the (PMP)® certification. 


So, fellow project managers, we’ve journeyed through these 14 key roles and responsibilities that define our craft. From captains of the ship to expert jugglers, we’ve explored the diverse landscape of project management.

Now, you might wonder, “Can I embody all these roles? Can I excel in each responsibility?” Absolutely! No project manager starts as a master of all trades. It’s a continuous learning process, filled with triumphs, setbacks, and “aha” moments.

Embracing these roles isn’t about rigid checklists. It’s about adapting and evolving as each project unfolds. It’s about harnessing collaboration, communication, and innovation to guide our teams to success.

Cheers to the adventurous road ahead!


What are the two types of project managers?

Traditional and Agile are the two types of project managers, traditional project managers use pre-existing structured methodologies, and agile project managers use adaptive and iterative approaches.

What skills are required to be an effective project manager?

Effective project managers require leadership, organization, communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and client management skills to successfully plan, execute, and complete projects within the set time and budget.

What are the main challenges faced by project managers?

Managing scope creep, understanding priorities, communication issues, resource utilization, and meeting project deadlines are some of the challenges faced by project managers.

How does a project manager plan and organize projects?

A project manager plans and organizes projects by defining project objectives, setting timelines, allocating resources, identifying priorities, setting milestones, budgeting, and developing an efficient management plan.

What is the difference between a project manager and a project team member?

A project manager is responsible for the execution and completion of the project, while a project team member is an individual contributing to specific tasks or activities.

What tools and software are commonly used by project managers?

Project managers commonly use project management software or tools for simplifying the overall project progression. The most preferred tools include ProofHub, Asana, Microsoft Project, etc.

How does a project manager track and measure project progress?

A project manager tracks and measures project progress by using key performance indicators (KPIs), milestones, regular updates, and progress analysis reports, with the help of project management software.

What are the qualities of a successful project manager?

Effective communication, strong leadership, organizational skills, adaptability, problem-solving abilities, risk analysis, client management, and the ability to motivate and empower team members.

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