What Does a Project Manager Do?
When timelines are being met, challenges that arise are being navigated with ease and wisdom, and communication flows consistently and clearly between a nonprofit and a marketing agency, thank a project manager.
What does a project manager do? The broad answer is project managers manage projects. But, more specifically, project managers juggle various responsibilities and wear a multitude of hats—organizer, leader, motivator, facilitator, liaison, and driver—to ensure success.
Projects have many components, such as team members, budget, timeframes, activities, tasks, and more. A project manager’s objective is to navigate each of these moving parts and steer the project toward its desired outcome.
These team members provide the organization, coordination, and leadership that every organization and partnership needs to achieve their goals effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, they are the glue that holds everything together.
Planning + Strategy
Project managers are architects of plans. They begin by outlining the project’s scope, objectives, risks, and limitations. This involved breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks and determining the sequence in which these tasks should be executed, creating timelines and setting milestones to track progress. Through meticulous and collaborative planning, they anticipate potential roadblocks and devise strategies to overcome them.
Project managers assign the right team members to each task, ensuring members are chosen who possess the skills and expertise needed to complete the project efficiently. This role fosters collaboration and open communication within the team so that the group achieves project alignment and coordination of all members. Throughout the lifecycle of a project, they create or remove tasks, reinforce timelines, and provide guidance. Their role helps the whole group stay organized, informed, and empowered to do their best.
Every project operates within resource limitations. Whether it’s time, budget, or materials, it’s paramount that project managers allocate resources effectively, keeping the project within its guidelines. They track the pacing of resource usage, make adjustments when necessary, and find creative solutions to make the most of what is available and make the most of every client dollar.
What does a project manager do to mitigate risk? No project is without risk, but project managers guide projects away from potential hazards. They identify risks, assess their potential impact, and develop strategies to mitigate them before and during a project. By anticipating challenges and having contingency plans in place, they keep everything on course, even when issues arise. Additionally, post-project, they conduct retrospectives with their team to collect insights and initiate process improvements, meaning that each time a nonprofit partners with the agency their experience and collaboration continually improves.
Clear communication is the key to successful project management. They keep all stakeholders informed about progress, setbacks, and changes in direction. They facilitate discussions that address questions and concerns so that everyone involved has a shared understanding of the project’s status and direction, which helps the team make better informed decisions and strengthens the client partnership.
Adaptability + Flexibility
Projects and people are both dynamic; therefore, project managers must be flexible and adaptable. Changes in scope, unexpected challenges, or shifts in priorities require them to think on their feet and adjust plans accordingly. Their ability to pivot while keeping the project’s goal top-of-mind is crucial, and they are skilled at doing so.
Ultimately, project managers use their multifaceted role to orchestrate success for the full team. They navigate project complexities, turn confusion and vagueness into a specific and meaningful vision, and bring each client goal into reality.
At Media Cause, our project management team is the driving force behind project success, bringing structure, attention to detail, and strategy to the forefront of every endeavor, helping our clients achieve their goals.