What do you do as a project manager?

What do you do as a project manager?

By Published On: 2. October 2023


Hi guys! Today we are going to talk about the role of a project manager. Get a cup of coffee and sit down comfortably, because this topic is definitely super exciting. A project manager is like the conductor of an orchestra. He has to make sure that each member plays his instrument well while contributing to the harmony of the whole piece. His role is to oversee and coordinate all project details, from initial concepts and strategies to final implementation. He must steer the ship in calm or stormy waters and ensure that it reaches its destination. Does that sound like a challenge to you? It's certainly not for everyone, but for those who enjoy organizing and mastering the dynamics of large groups, it could be the perfect career. Stay tuned for more info!

What exactly is a project manager?

A project manager plays a critical role in any organization that executes projects. You're responsible for ensuring that a project is successfully executed from start to finish by using resources effectively, keeping track of progress, and making sure that the project's goals are met. Now let's go into further detail and clarify exactly what a project manager is.

Tasks and responsibilities of a project manager

As a project manager, you have a variety of tasks and responsibilities. Your primary role is to oversee the process of project planning and execution. This includes setting project goals, planning the execution of the project, assigning tasks to team members, and monitoring the progress of the project.

You are also responsible for communication within the team and with stakeholders. You hold regular meetings, ensure clear and open communication between all team members and make sure everyone is on the same page. At the same time, you also need to be able to communicate with stakeholders and keep them updated on the progress of the project.

The skills of a successful project manager

There are certain skills you need to be a successful project manager. One of them is excellent time management. As a project manager, you are responsible for making sure the project is completed on time and within budget. This job requires efficient planning and organization to ensure that everything goes according to plan.

A good project manager must also have good communication skills. This is important to ensure that all team members and stakeholders know exactly what is expected and the progress of the project. In addition, the ability to identify and solve problems can save a project.

Finally, the ability to make decisions is another critical skill. There will be times when action must be taken quickly, and a good project manager must be able to make decisions under pressure.

Overall, a project manager is an indispensable role in any company that undertakes projects. With a mix of strategic planning, effective management and excellent communication skills, the project manager ensures that every project is brought to a successful conclusion. While duties and responsibilities may vary, the goal always remains the same: to successfully complete the project.

Presentation of the tasks of a project manager

A project manager acts like the captain of a ship - he steers your project safely through stormy seas, navigates between icebergs and keeps course towards the final goal. His job is by no means monotonous, but constantly changing, depending on which phase your project is currently in. He is not only responsible for leading his team, but also for all other aspects such as budget, quality, risk management and much more. But let's take a closer look.

Responsibility for the budget

Controlling the budget is one of the most important tasks of a project manager. He has to make sure that your project stays within the allocated budget and still achieves all the goals. But how does he do that? Through good planning and precise control. This is where organizational strength is needed: The project manager must keep track of all costs, from employee salaries to expenses for materials and software. If the budget is exceeded, he must react quickly and find solutions - be it through savings, alternative sources of financing or negotiations with the customer.

Quality assurance

Every project stands and falls with quality. That's why it's the project manager's job to ensure that his team's work meets the highest standards. He achieves this through regular quality checks and reviews. In doing so, he must also have a good eye for detail in order to identify and rectify any deficiencies at an early stage. Good communication skills are also required here, as he must be able to give his team clear and concise feedback and make suggestions for improvement where necessary.

But the responsibility for quality does not end with the project itself. The project manager must also ensure that the project meets the customer's expectations and requirements. Diplomacy is required here, because sometimes it is necessary to steer the customer in the right direction to find the best solution and avoid conflicts.

That was just a small sample of the many tasks that a project manager has in a company. Not to forget other tasks such as risk management, scheduling, documentation and much more. It is a demanding job that requires a lot, but can also be very fulfilling. If you have the right mix of organizational talent, communication skills and problem-solving abilities, you can achieve great things as a project manager.

Your daily work as a project manager

Imagine you accompany a project manager for a day. You quickly realize that there is no such thing as a typical working day. There is constant variety and ever-changing challenges. In the real life of project management, every day is a little different from the one before. The variety of tasks ensures that no two days are the same. Nevertheless, there are some basic processes and activities that determine your everyday work as a project manager.

Prioritize tasks and manage resources

Your day probably starts with a review of your to-do list. You need to constantly review priorities and focus your time and energy on the most important tasks. Often that means resolving emergencies and keeping the team on track.

At the same time, you need to keep track of the resources that are available for the project. You need to make sure that the right people with the right skills are working on the right tasks and that all necessary materials and technology are available. Efficient resource management is key to ensuring that each task and project stays on schedule and within budget.

Meetings and stakeholder management

A large part of your workday is likely to consist of meetings. These can be stand-up meetings with the team to review progress and resolve issues, client meetings to discuss project updates, or board meetings to present project reports and strategic plans.

At the same time, stakeholder management is a central part of your daily routine. Communicating with stakeholders, be it the customer, top management or other stakeholders, is one of your most important tasks. This includes providing regular updates, addressing concerns and complaints, and managing expectations. You need to make sure everyone is in the loop and that the project continues to have the support of all stakeholders.

As a good project manager, you make an invaluable contribution to the success of a company. The multitude of tasks you'll face on a daily basis range from managing resources to prioritizing tasks to communicating with customers and stakeholders. And while no two days are the same, you're essential to making sure projects are successfully delivered across the finish line. Share this text if you value yourself as a project manager!

How do you become a project manager?

Wondering how to step into the role of project manager and take the reins of a corporate project? Curious about what steps are required to take the lead over company projects and how you can master the path to get there? Well, there's no direct path, as there are many different factors that can increase your chances of becoming a project manager. But let's take a deeper look into the process of qualifying for this role.

Education and qualifications

Most project managers have a degree in a related field such as business administration, engineering, or information technology. A bachelor's degree is often a minimum requirement for this position, while some companies prefer a master's degree. It doesn't matter if the degree was completed full-time, part-time, or as a dual degree program. What is important is that you are able to understand complex interrelationships and think strategically.

In addition to the study qualification, many employers like to see additional certifications in project management areas. Such certifications are offered by various organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) or the International Project Management Association (IPMA). Popular certificates include the "Project Management Professional (PMP)", "Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)" or the "PRINCE2 Practitioner". These certificates testify to extensive knowledge in various project management methods and techniques.

Experience and skills

In addition to academic training and certifications, practical experience in project management is crucial. Many project managers start their careers in a different role, gaining experience in team-based projects before taking on full project management responsibilities. They often start as a team member and work their way up to the project manager position over time.

In addition, certain personal qualities and skills are essential. First and foremost, these include excellent communication skills. A project manager must be able to lead his team, communicate clearly and precisely, and motivate people. Furthermore, good organizational skills and the ability to work creatively and effectively under pressure are equally important. Problem and conflict resolution are among the most important skills, as is the ability to make decisions quickly and in a targeted manner.

In summary, the path to becoming a project manager is an interplay between your education, certifications, experience, and personal skills. And even if you don't yet meet all of these requirements, don't be discouraged. Everyone starts small, and with time and experience, you can grow and develop. Maybe you'll soon be sitting at the top of this exciting and dynamic career field as a project manager.

What do you earn as a project manager?

In the world of project management, earning potential is often a hotly debated topic. After all, given the level of responsibility this role requires, it's only natural that you expect to be paid accordingly. With profitability in mind, it would be useful to analyze the specific salary aspects of the profession in detail.

Factors influencing your salary as a project manager

Your salary as a project manager depends on many factors. First of all, the industry plays a big role. It's no secret that some industries pay better than others. As a rule, IT and engineering project managers come out ahead due to technical complexity and constant demand. Besides that, the size of the company and the region you work in also have a big impact on your salary.

Another significant factor is experience. Since projects are often complex and demanding, experience is valued particularly highly. An experienced project manager who has a proven track record of successfully handling complex projects is usually paid more than a beginner in project management.

The average salary of a project manager in Germany

According to the latest surveys, your average basic salary as a project manager in Germany is between 60,000 and 75,000 euros gross per year. Salaries vary greatly depending on experience and area of expertise and can be in the range of six figures for very experienced project managers and in technical or high positions at large companies.

That's a lot of money, of course, but don't forget that the role of a project manager comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only do you have to navigate the many facets of a project, but you also have to respond to many unpredictable challenges. You're the one steering the ship across stormy seas, and you're the one putting the pieces of the puzzle together to successfully complete a project.

In addition, if you are considering a career in project management, you should keep in mind that it's not just the salary that needs to be considered. Far more important are ultimately the satisfaction with the work itself, the working environment and the development opportunities.

Finally, there are several other benefits that make the role of project manager attractive, apart from the salary. For example, the promise of varied tasks, dealing with many different people and departments, and last but not least, the great feeling of having brought a project to a successful conclusion and thus made a valuable contribution to achieving the company's goals.

One thing is clear: If you have what it takes to be a project manager, you will be well rewarded for your hard work. But remember that in the end, a job isn't just about money. It's about finding a job you love and are good at. And once you find that job, the salary is just the icing on the cake.

Why should you become a project manager?

If you choose a career as a project manager, you are choosing a varied and challenging profession. There are many reasons why you should choose this career path. Perhaps you are interested in the variety of tasks and responsibilities, or the high degree of decision-making freedom and autonomy you can enjoy. Maybe you see yourself leading projects to success and making the difference in business. No matter which aspects motivate you, there are many good reasons to become a project manager.

The satisfaction of leading projects to success

There is hardly a more satisfying feeling than managing a project from start to finish and then bringing it to a successful conclusion. As a project manager, you are the creative mind and the decision maker. You can contribute your own ideas, shape processes and take perspectives. You oversee every step of the project, solve problems, make important decisions, and see the results of your work immediately and tangibly.

In addition, project managers make a significant contribution to the success of the company. By managing projects efficiently and successfully, they help the company achieve its goals. This makes the job not only satisfying, but also fundamentally important for any organization.

The opportunity to develop and perfect your own skills

As a project manager, you are constantly developing and refining a variety of skills. These range from technical skills to soft skills. You learn to plan, organize and manage complex projects. You improve your communication, negotiation and team leadership skills. You learn the art of making decisions under pressure, and you learn how to deal with uncertainty and risk.

These skills are not only important for the job itself, but they are also transferable and valuable for every aspect of your life. They can help you make better decisions, communicate more effectively with other people, and succeed in different situations. After all, life itself is a big project that needs to be managed.

In addition, the project management profession offers many opportunities for further education and career advancement. You can earn certifications, specialize in certain project management methods, and manage increasingly complex and challenging projects over time.

So by becoming a project manager, you are setting yourself on an incredibly dynamic and rewarding career path that is both personally and professionally enriching. Regardless of your goals and ambitions, this profession can be an excellent choice.

Challenges in the profession of project manager

While it may sound like being a project manager is a constant party full of successes and milestones, let's face it, every job has its tricky moments and challenges. Being a project manager is no different. Behind the glamorous notions of your role are some obstacles and pitfalls to watch out for.

Expectation Management

One of the most common problems project managers face is expectation management. Every stakeholder in the project - from team members to the CEO - has their own idea of what the project should accomplish and how it should get there. With so many differing opinions, it's incumbent upon you as a project manager to define and communicate exactly what you really want the project to accomplish and what resources are needed to get there. It is critical to clarify these expectations from the beginning and discuss them on an ongoing basis to avoid misunderstandings and disappointments.

It is also important to accept that, despite your best efforts, not all expectations can be met. As a project manager, you sometimes have to make unpopular decisions and clearly explain why certain deliveries or functions have to be changed or even cancelled. This requires strong assertiveness and confident communication.

Transformation and change

Another challenging aspect of project management is the constant confrontation with change. Projects are never static. They are constantly evolving and changing, just like your work as a project manager. With new challenges, shifting priorities, and unexpected twists and turns, you must learn to be flexible and adaptable.

However, this requires not only personal adaptability, but also the ability to lead the team through change. That may mean communicating change, defining new processes or roles, overcoming resistance to change, and reducing fears. It's a difficult field to navigate, but it's also an area where successful project managers excel.


The challenges of being a project manager are undoubtedly demanding, but they also provide an incredibly rewarding opportunity to gain professional experience and skills. Mastering these challenges can help you develop resilience, sharpen improvement skills, communicate and lead effectively, and ultimately add value to any project or organization. Stay tuned, explore, learn, and grow - the project management profession has a lot to offer!

Project managers and teamwork: how does it work?

In your role as a project manager, teamwork has immense importance. You are the heart and brain of the team and it's up to you to lead your team in the right direction and effectively manage the mix of different personalities and skills. You might be thinking, "Gee, that sounds really complex!". But don't worry! In the next paragraphs we will dive deeper into this topic.

Promoting a productive working environment

In a successful team, each member is responsible for the overall success. That means it's important to create a work environment where all team members feel comfortable, valued and motivated. This is where you come in. As a project manager, your job is to create the best conditions for productive collaboration. It's not just about logistical things like workspaces or work equipment, but also about the relationships and atmosphere within the team.

Lead as a good role model and exemplify values such as respect, responsibility and openness. Give your team regular feedback, recognize their achievements and ensure open communication. Hold regular meetings to monitor progress and quickly identify and resolve issues. So it's a lot about interpersonal skills, because after all, you're dealing with people!

Effective team communication and conflict management

Communication is the be-all and end-all of successful project management. Clear and open communication ensures that all team members are on the same page and know what they are doing and why. It allows them to express their ideas and concerns, coordinate their work and pull together. Sounds good, right?

As a project manager, you should also be a good listener. Take the time to listen to and consider the opinions and ideas of your team members. Each member of a team has unique experiences and perspectives that can be valuable to the project!

Conflicts? They are almost inevitable when several people work together. It is important that you as a project manager do not ignore these conflicts, but actively address them. When conflicts arise, you should remain neutral, understand the different sides and, ideally, work on a solution that is acceptable to everyone involved.

Overall, teamwork as a project manager requires a lot of empathy, leadership and communication skills. But I tell you: if you manage to form and lead a harmonious and productive team, then this is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have in your job! Because then individuals become a real team and individual tasks become successful projects. And that's a great feeling, isn't it?

Your role as a project manager in different industries

We've already talked about the general tasks and roles of a project manager. Day in and day out, as a project manager, you're holding several balls in the air and juggling between the expectations of different stakeholders in a project. But one thing we haven't covered yet is how the role can differ from one area to another. So let's take a look at how you can function as a project manager in different industries.

Project management in the IT industry

IT project management is a world of its own. The day-to-day tasks of an IT project manager often involve technical and detailed aspects. While the general roles and responsibilities are similar - you plan, budget, monitor and document all aspects of the project - you need more technical expertise in the IT industry.
As an IT Project Manager, you are responsible for navigating complex project requirements and working with developers, testers, and engineers. You'll keep an eye on the quality of the code and make sure the software or system meets stakeholder requirements. It's not uncommon for you to solve technical problems and make decisions that directly impact the final product.

Project management in the construction industry

On the other side of the spectrum, we find construction project management. While as an IT project manager you often move in virtual space, as a construction project manager you work in the physical world. You oversee the construction process from start to finish and make sure everything goes according to plan.
A typical day might include monitoring construction sites, meeting with builders, working on budgets and schedules, reviewing construction plans, and conducting job safety meetings. You'll also handle contracts, permits and regulatory requirements. Safety, in particular, is a major concern, as workplace accidents can result in significant costs and delays.

So there you have it. As you can see, the job of a project manager can vary significantly in different industries, although the basic principle ultimately remains the same: Plan, organize, direct and control projects. Regardless of the industry you work in, your main goal should always be to manage a project smoothly and successfully from start to finish. But depending on where you are, that could mean dealing with codes, blueprints, or something else entirely! It's a challenging profession, but definitely one that can bring great fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment.

How can you effectively organize and manage projects as a project manager?

Admittedly, the role of project manager is no easy task. You're constantly on the move, juggling various tasks and steering the course of the big ship. But don't worry, there are some tips and practices that will make it easier for you to organize and manage projects effectively. Let's take a look at these.

Use of project management tools

The fact is that managing all the project details, deadlines, work quantities and budgets at once would be a challenge for any mastermind! Luckily, project management tools exist to make this job much easier for you. These tools allow you to organize projects smoothly by providing a clear overview of schedules, milestones, resources, and budgets. Additionally, they can improve communication and collaboration within your team by providing a centralized location for file sharing, discussions, and updates.

But choosing the right software is just as important. There are countless tools out there, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are better suited for large teams or complex projects, while others are ideal for smaller teams or simple projects. Therefore, it's important that you choose software that fits your team's needs and requirements.

Effective management of the team and clear communication

Managing a team is not an easy task. It's not just giving instructions and waiting for the work to get done. You need to be able to inspire your team, make everyone feel like they are making a valuable contribution, and make sure everyone understands the common goal. This requires excellent communication, empathy and leadership skills.

In addition, clear communication is essential to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that all stakeholders are up to speed. This means that you need to communicate regularly with both your team and stakeholders and keep them informed about the progress of the project, any issues or changes in strategy. In addition, you should always be open to feedback and suggestions, because the best ideas can come from anywhere.

In short, as a project manager, you will contribute significantly to the success of the project and it will be your responsibility to organize and manage it effectively. By using the right tools and leading your team effectively, you will not only make your project a success, but also motivate your team and demonstrate the value of your contribution. So, let's get to it!

Necessary skills for a project manager

As a project manager, you are not only the commander of your team, but also the helmsman of your project. This job requires a wide variety of skills and knowledge. It is not only a question of technical expertise, but also of personal leadership style and skills. In this part of the article we will look at the necessary skills for a project manager.

Leadership and management skills

The leadership role of a project manager is crucial. You must be able to motivate and lead your team, foster open and constructive communication, and create a positive working environment. Managing a team requires the talent to manage different personalities, resolve conflicts and make decisions that serve the project team and its goals.

As part of managing a project, you'll also need to be able to effectively manage time, resources and budgets. It's about setting priorities, delegating tasks, meeting deadlines and monitoring the project as a whole to make sure it meets the defined objectives. So good project management also means finding a balance between quality, cost and time to ensure project success.

Technical and analytical skills

In a world dominated by technology, technical skills are critical. Not only do you need to understand the basics of the project, such as the technology environment and the market, but you also need to be able to oversee your team's work and understand their technical challenges. This includes the skills to read technical specifications, analyze data, solve problems and develop innovative solutions.

In addition to these technical skills, analytical skills are necessary. Whether evaluating data, assessing risk, or measuring performance, analytical thinking helps make informed decisions and identify potential problems early. This requires both quantitative and qualitative analytical skills to gain meaningful insights and make informed decisions.

Every successful project manager needs the aforementioned skills. It is a rich mix of personal, technical and management skills that make a good project manager. The ability to balance all of these components in a dynamic and often challenging environment is what will make you truly successful as a project manager. So, are you ready to hone your skills as a project manager and make your next project a success?

Personal experience as a project manager

As a project manager, you can look back on many different and exciting experiences. The following stories provide an insight into the multi-faceted life of a project manager.

Working with different teams

In your many years as a project manager, you've worked with many different teams - from technicians and engineers to designers and marketing experts. Each team is unique with its own strengths, weaknesses and working styles. As a project manager, your job was to understand and leverage the dynamics and individuality of each team to achieve project goals.

Developing a basic sense of how a group of people can work together effectively is critical. Some teams prefer a strict and detailed schedule, while others prefer a more flexible approach with plenty of room for creativity. It's important to recognize these differences and respond accordingly.

You had many challenges to overcome, most of which had to do with integrating new team members or resolving conflicts. However, each of these moments has shown you the importance of teamwork and effective communication. It is a fulfilling experience every time you see a team develop and grow together to make a project a success.

Managing crises

As a project manager, you can't avoid crises and upheavals. It's not always easy, but it's part of the job. The projects you managed were characterized by numerous unexpected problems and challenges. You were often forced to think and act quickly and find creative solutions to problems.

There was a project where, shortly before completion, it was discovered that a significant part of the product did not meet the customer's requirements. After initial moments of panic, you quickly pulled yourself together, re-evaluated the situation, and began to work out possible solutions. In the end, you were able to solve the problem at the last minute and complete the project on time. This experience taught you that crises are inevitable, but they also offer opportunities to find new solutions and grow.

As a project manager, you must have the ability to keep a cool head in times of crisis and tackle problems systematically. It takes courage, perseverance, skill and, above all, a good dose of composure. It's not always easy, but the experience you gain and the lessons you learn are worth it.

Overall, your personal experience as a project manager is one of constant growth, constant learning and countless challenges. But despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges, it's an incredibly fulfilling job that you wouldn't want to miss. It's the thrill of successful project execution and the satisfaction of having effectively led a team. There's nothing more uplifting than looking back at what you've accomplished together at the end of the project.

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About the Author: Sven Emmrich

Sven Emmrich avatar
Sven is a business graduate, DEKRA-certified coach and passionate entrepreneur. As CEO of Karrierehelden, he has been writing for many years on all career topics such as job applications and job changes, money and salary negotiations, leadership skills and management issues, psychology and personality development, communication and conflict management, self-confidence and entrepreneurship, and the line between work and private life with work-life balance... or much more work-life integration. Sven has coached over 1,000 academics, professionals and executives with his team and is happy to help you too.
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