What is project management what does a project management professional do?

Project managers are critical to the delivery of an organisation’s strategic and operational projects. They are responsible for a project’s day-to-day management and co-ordination, ensuring that projects are delivered within scope, on time and within budget. Ultimately, a project manager is accountable for the success or failure of each project they manage.

Project managers are responsible for defining and managing scope, scheduling, financing, resourcing, quality management and risk mitigation across the project life-cycle. They apply processes, methods, skills, experience and knowledge to successfully deliver against a project’s objectives. 

Individuals in this field have an excellent understanding of the wider business objectives behind the project. They demonstrate outstanding organisational and stakeholder management skills, are comfortable with budgeting and performance monitoring and have the flexibility to deal with unexpected changes as projects progress.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Executing the goals and objectives from a brief approved by the key stakeholders, senior management and/or project director and keeping them informed of progress.
  • Managing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success or failure of each task.
  • Ensuring tasks are completed on time and within budget to ensure the project meets the brief.
  • Managing the project team - holding regular update meetings and delegating tasks as appropriate.
  • Predicting and minimising risk and efficiently deal with any obstacles that present themselves.
  • Updating project plans when required and reporting these changes to all relevant stakeholders.
  • Acting as the key contact for clients, contractors and suppliers.
  • Responsibility for all health & safety matters and quality control.

Why are they important?

Advances in technology are creating unprecedented change in organisations. New technologies are transforming ways of working, presenting opportunities to access new markets and introducing greater efficiencies. This is leading to increasing numbers of strategic and operational projects and growing demand for quality project professionals at every level.

Skills needed for this role

Project management professionals require excellent organisation skills and good problem-solving abilities. They must be strong communicators and have solid leadership and management skills, as well as the ability to work under pressure and deliver to tight timescales.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Virtually every industry sector worldwide needs project managers with various specialisations, making it a highly flexible career choice. As the role requires a high level of skills and responsibilities, project managers can earn well and progress into leadership comfortably. Alternatively, there are many opportunities to work on a contract basis for individuals who value more flexibility in their career.


High level competencies required include:

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.


  • Governance, risk and control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

  • Leadership and management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, applying appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.



  • Management accounting

    A. Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation.

    B. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators.

    C. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management.

    D. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance.




  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.