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What is a Project Manager, Anyway?

The phrase “project manager” is at once self-explanatory (it’s a person who manages projects, duh) and vague: What defines a project? How does someone manage a project? What does a project manager really do, anyway?
Generally, project managers oversee a project — redesigning a website, constructing a new building — from start to finish, making sure that every task gets done correctly, on time, and on budget. While a project manager may not ever write a line of code or lift a hammer, they have a huge amount of responsibility for the success or failure of the final result.

Dice recently published a day-in-the-life blog post following a project manager from morning to night. It’s an interesting look at the decisions, small and large, a project manager has to make.

Not only do project managers have to make numerous decisions, they also have to keep in mind how each and every decision impacts the rest of the project. The job requires attention to detail while maintaining a high-level view of the entire project.

And did I mention that project managers are crucial to success or failure? CIO Insight looked at the problematic launch of and compiled a list of mistakes related to the site’s project management.

One person who knows a ton about project management is Steve Caseley (that’s him with the coffee mug). He’s overseen projects large and small, from Canada to Europe.  His in-progress course, Project Management for the Real World, offers a practical look at project management from someone who lives it.


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