Project Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Understanding key project manager duties in relation to the four functions of management will help you successfully lead your projects.

A Framework for Understanding Project Manager Duties

Duties of a Project ManagerDuties of a Project Manager

The specific duties of a project manager vary from industry to industry, company to company, and sometimes even from project to project.

But there are some key duties and responsibilities that, if performed well, will help you successfully complete your projects.

Let's take a look at some of the more important project manager responsibilities and duties using the four functions of management as a framework...

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Leading
  • Controlling


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Planning is an essential project manager duty. Determining what needs to be done, who is going to do it, and when it needs to be done are all part of the planning process. Keep in mind that planning is an iterative process that takes place throughout the life of the project.

Some key planning duties include...

  • Define and clarify project scope
  • Develop the project plan
  • Develop the project schedule
  • Develop policies and procedures to support the achievement of the project objectives


Organizing is about setting up the project team's structure. A major driver in this aspect is the company's existing organizational structure. Companies are usually set up as functional, matrix, or projectized organizations. When organizing your project, you will need to take the company's structure into account.

Some of the key organizing duties include...

  • Define the organizational structure of the project team
  • Identify roles and positions
  • Identify services to be provided by external companies
  • Staff project positions


Leading refers to carrying out the project plan in order to achieve the project objectives. Leading the project is one of the more challenging aspects for new project managers because it involves a lot of "soft skills." Good leaders have developed skills such as communicating clearly, team motivation, and conflict resolution.

Some key duties for leading projects include...

  • Setting team direction
  • Coordinating activities across different organizational functions
  • Motivating team members
  • Assigning work


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Controlling is all about keeping the project on track. Project control can be performed using a three-step process...

  • Measuring: Checking project progress toward meeting its objectives
  • Evaluating: Determining the cause of deviations from the plan
  • Correcting: Taking corrective actions to address deviations

Some key controlling duties include...

  • Defining project baselines
  • Tracking project progress
  • Project status reporting
  • Determining and taking corrective actions

Understanding what some of the key project manager duties are in relation to the four functions of management framework will help you lead your projects to a successful outcome.

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