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The role of a project manager

by Jiljuana Coleman

Project management is a field in which subject matter expertise, business acumen, skills, and training are combined to oversee a specific endeavor. The person charged with directing the project is called a Project Manager (PM). The PM is assigned to project oversight, resource management, and team success. PMs are trained to meticulously execute strategy while handling competing agendas, budgets, and the constraints of scope and time. Most people equate the roles of project managers (PM) to that of program managers (PgM). The terms are often used interchangeably; however, the functions are quite different. PMs are typically a dedicated resource for a specific project juxtapose to PgMs who manage related projects concurrently.

Jiljuana Coleman (Courtesy Photo)

To fully grasp the role of a PM, we must first review the definition of a project. A project is a temporary initiative that creates a unique service, product, or result. Projects have planned start and end dates.

At any phase of the project, which are listed below, the project can be canceled if the purpose behind the project is no longer viable or attainable. The project phases are: 1) Initiating, 2) Planning, 3) Executing, 4) Monitoring and Controlling, and 5) Closing.

Each phase has certain criteria and metrics that are project specific. Project managers are extreme multitaskers who can handle competing demands and are trusted by companies, both large and small. These companies hire PMs to utilize their expertise to advance their company’s strategic goals and competitive advantage.

A successful project manager is an extreme multitasker who is efficient in both time and resource management. Additionally, successful project managers are skilled negotiators and communicators. PMs are an invaluable asset as they never lose sight of the big picture.

Jill Coleman is a certified project management professional (PMP) ® . She can be reached at

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