What is a project manager?

Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.


Diplomat, taskmaster, detective, friend, enemy — and always a leader. It’s a job characterized by wearing multiple hats, juggling roles and putting out fires. More often than not, pulling it off requires you to be “master of paradox.”

Master of paradox

Along with general management skills, being an effective project manager requires the ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve conflicts. Depending on project size and complexity, you may take on other project tasks. You might assist in gathering business requirements or preparing contract documentation. You may work full-time on a large project, or part-time on smaller ones. Alternatively, you might be asked to handle a project in addition to other job responsibilities.

The project manager is accountable for every project element, but often has limited authority. For example, a project may require resources you have no direct control over, thus limiting your ability to execute tasks smoothly. Remember: As project manager, you are ultimately responsible for a project’s success or failure. If the project scope is unclear or work is executed poorly, you are accountable. That doesn’t mean you do all the work; there’s an entire team supporting the project objective. But if something goes wrong, all eyes turn to you.

To successfully manage a project from start to finish, you must be committed, aware and engaged!

An interesting part of being a project manager is you never know what’s going to happen — because a project rarely goes as planned. You need to be flexible. To be able to work with the uncertainty and put the project back on course.

Profiles in project management: Roxanne Flecha, PCP

Project manager Roxanne Flecha offers insight and advice on what she values most about her profession.