The Basics of Project Management

Have you ever wondered what Project Managers do? We provide a high-level breakdown of what each role is responsible for.

What does a Project Manager do?

The Project Managers role is to ensure that the overall objective of a project is successfully achieved.

You could say, a project manager is like a conductor of an orchestra.

  • The Project Managers’ ability to deliver beautiful music depends on how well they can navigate the project lifecycle. A project lifecycle includes initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and control a project.
  • The best project managers are not only highly skilled at these tasks, they are talented at leveraging the strengths of others. They work to minimize risks and stay within the projects’ original scope. A good PM has the ability to build relationships across the various levels of the project and the broader organisation. They understand that to deliver on time and on a budget requires teamwork.

What does a Senior Project Manager do?

  • The Senior Project Manager is typically more experienced, knowledgeable, and has built up his/her capability within project management. Their experience spans many years and a wide spectrum of projects.
  • A senior Project Manager may also be involved in mentoring and coaching other project managers.
  • Senior Project Managers are proficient at adapting project management processes and approaches to fit the needs of their project and the organisation they’re working with.
  • Most Project Managers are likely to have stories to share about the things that didn’t quite go to plan as well as a litany of lessons learned.

What does a Program Manager do?

According to the Association for Project Management

  • Program Management is the coordinated management of projects and business-as-usual activities to achieve beneficial change.
  • A program is typically a strategic piece of work undertaken to achieve a beneficial change. It includes a group of related projects and business-as-usual activities.

A Program Managers role is to collaborate with project managers to ensure each project is aligned and on track to meet each individual and group milestone. It is this coordinated management of interrelated projects that determine

What does a Project Director do?

The Project Directors’ primary role is leadership and program management.

  • A Project Director will determine the most appropriate program and project management methodologies to use.  They will ensure the necessary controls are in place to manage scope, risk, and budgets. They will have well-honed expertise in the analysis, diagnosis, design, planning, execution, and evaluation across a broad range of project management functions.
  • Quality management is a key part of the position. A critical component of a Project Director is the procurement management function. Procurement processes include selecting vendors, managing contracts, planning contracting, purchasing, requesting, and qualifying vendor responses all of which are vital to the smooth delivery of a project.

Leadership is critical if not, the most critical part of a Project Directors’s role. We all want to know that our leaders have the experience and capability to deliver as this instills trust and confidence at all levels and this is especially true when the successful outcome of a project is at stake.


This really is the basics of Project Management.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Project Manager or a Project Director, there are key themes to being successful; leverage your strengths and the strengths of others around you, communicate (often), manage and control your risks, time, budget, find the right vendors to support you and ensure you have the right levels of authority and accountability in place.


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