The duties of the project manager – an open list

Being a project manager isn’t always an easy job. Besides the technical responsibilities many of you have, an awful lot of duties line up to be taken care of.

As we started writing these down, we realised the list keeps growing and growing the more time you spend thinking about it. We organised those duties into three phases: start, execution and closure. We are not following any formally strict scheme here, but are merely simplifying things with these three rough categories. Also, consider it an open list, an inspiration. It is by no means complete and not all kinds of projects will require exactly the same duties and tasks. Feel free to comment and add your own ideas and experiences.

Start

  • Generate a project profile
  • Analyse the project environment
  • Definition of goals and objectives
  • Analysis of stakeholders
  • Identification of risks
  • Definition of risk containment measures
  • Organise and moderate workshops
  • Setting up teams
  • Set up the project office
  • Create an organizational structure
  • Define and distribute competences / define roles
  • Setting up the rules of engagement within the project
  • Identification of escalation paths
  • Definition of project phases
  • Definition of milestones
  • Generate descriptions of work packages
  • Compile the project plan / write a project charter
  • Organisation of a kick-off

Execution

  • Costs monitoring
  • Keep to the deadlines
  • Stay within the budget
  • Monitoring progress / level of completion
  • Conflict management
  • Stakeholder monitoring
  • Steering / management of activities
  • Status enquiries
  • Risk monitoring
  • Ensure compliance with guidelines
  • Reporting
  • Stakeholder communication
  • Prioritisation of tasks
  • General troubleshooting
  • Organise status meetings
  • Update the project plan
  • Solve conflicts over resources
  • Project marketing
  • Motivate the project team
  • Documentation of progress

Closure

  • Final accounting / cost analysis
  • Compile the final report / closing report
  • Compile a ‘Lessons Learned’
  • Transfer of knowledge
  • Final documentation
  • Organise the final workshop

Any further thoughts? Duties you consider crucial? Things which are often forgotten? Why not let us know with a  comment :-)

Alexander Blumenau (*1972) is a portfolio and project manager. With over a decade of international project experience he has been in charge as head of R&D in high-tech industries.
Originally Alexander started his career as a scientist and holds a doctoral degree in Physics. Besides his interests in project management, company processes and structures, he works as a free author and arts photographer.