Project management is closely related to other disciplines including program management and portfolio management. Watch this video from the Google Project Management Professional Certificate. The project life cycle describes the five phases all projects go through.

project manager meaning

At this level, a programme manager can typically lead a programme of limited complexity or assist on a complex programme, following the appropriate governance applied for the determined life cycle. At this level, a PMO administrator will provide support to the project, programme, education project manager or portfolio team through administrative and reporting activities. Project managers often advance in their profession by leading increasingly larger and more complex projects, by becoming program or portfolio managers, or by becoming directors of a project management office.

Project Management vs. Program Management

When deadlines are looming, the project manager has to make sure that everyone is on top of their work and feels comfortable asking for more hands if they need them. The project manager has to set accurate and workable timelines for all the team members involved and make sure no one is being pushed to do sloppy work to meet an unrealistic deadline. Using specialized project management software empowers PMs to excel in their roles.

project manager meaning

Use this free Project Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better. Meredith Galante is a full-time freelance writer living in New York City. She’s been covering small businesses, the wine and spirits industry, and more for the last 10 years. Meredith graduated from the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with a degree in magazine journalism and political science. Julia is a writer in New York and started covering tech and business during the pandemic. Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact…


A diverse range of industries requires the skills of a talented project manager. You can be a project manager in construction, publishing, finance, professional services, utilities and many other industries. Despite the final result of the projects looking very different across these industries, the steps and skills to keep a team organized fluently translate across the business world.

project manager meaning

They then assign tasks to the project team, which can include developers, engineers, technical writers, and quality assurance specialists. Scrum is a popular agile framework designed to enhance team collaboration and deliver value iteratively. Scrum breaks down project work into manageable units called sprints, usually lasting between one to four weeks. Each sprint begins with a planning session where the team selects a set of tasks from the product backlog to complete during the sprint.

Project Management Basics: Definitions, Methods and Tools

A key factor that distinguishes project management from just ‘management’ is that it has this final deliverable and a finite timespan, unlike management which is an ongoing process. Because of this a project professional needs a wide range of skills; often technical skills, and certainly people management skills and good business awareness. Choosing the best project management software for your organization isn’t easy as there are many alternatives to choose from.

A PM is a leader who guides projects from the drawing board to the finish line. They gather necessary resources, unite team members, and work on continuous improvement. We offer dozens of free project management templates to help you save time and streamline your projects. Here are some essential project management documents you can download for free. When it comes to managing the workload, resource allocation tools allow you to see at a glance if you’ve allocated your resources properly across the project so that everyone is working and the workload is balanced. In some cases, you can run reports from your workload management software, too.


A project manager has to balance the big picture with the daily tasks of all employees involved in the assignment. They ensure that everything that needs to be done in order to make something happen can realistically be done by employees in the time allotted with the tools everyone has at their disposal. They may use pre-existing frameworks, such as Agile or Waterfall methodologies, to help guide the process. There are so many things to juggle during a process, from leadership expectations to client care and employee management, that a trusted PMP will always be an asset to any company. Before this certification, a project manager can gain experience through getting involved in initial planning and budgeting, as well as participating in cross-company communication. A project manager is the point person for all of the company’s major goals by implementing important plans and managing teams.

project manager meaning

The overall team will only be able to finish the project if they have what they need and feel empowered in their roles. The project manager can often be the source of that positive company culture. Many high-level project managers have a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification, which means they have several years of experience and have completed an extensive training course and test. For example, if you’re working in software development, you may choose to employ Agile techniques.

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams. A project is a unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits. A project is usually deemed to be a success if it achieves the objectives according to their acceptance criteria, within an agreed timescale and budget. Additionally, formal project managers are typically certified through agencies like the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the U.S. or PRINCE2 in the U.K.

project manager meaning

The tools and techniques of project management are universal and a good project manager should be able to add value in any environment. The project manager is responsible for day-to-day management of the project and must be competent in managing the six aspects of a project, i.e. scope, schedule, finance, risk, quality and resources. Project managers also know how to work in the various project management methodologies.

Product managers, on the other hand, are responsible for an entire product and own its success as well as the maintenance of it through its entire lifecycle. However, operations management differs from project management in its ongoing nature. Operations management focuses on the continual delivery of the same products or services using repeatable processes and the same project teams. You’ll need to work on your project management skills and a certification program to become a professional project manager.