A lot of people confuse the role of a project manager, especially in the online business world. This article will break down what exactly a project manager does.
For online businesses, project managers can help manage new website design projects, marketing campaigns, new product launches and manage customer facing work.
Here is a list of some of the main activities that a project manager is responsible for:
- Manages and coordinates the tasks of other team members.
- Creates a task list and a project schedule with the help of the team working on the project.
- Manages the project schedule to ensure that the team reaches the due date.
- Is the main point of communication for the project.
- Manages the project budget (in some cases).
- Holds weekly meetings with the team to get a status update and helps resolve issues that the team may be facing.
- Manages the scope of the project - meaning, if the goal of the project is to do "x", the project manager needs to make sure all work leads to that.
- Sends out weekly status reports to the "stakeholders" or the business owner in the case of an online business.
A project manager does NOT:
- Get assigned tasks to work on for the project.
- Does the technical project work.
A very big misconception is that a project manager should be doing the work involved in completing the project and that is simply not the case. The project manager is managing the work of other team members.
Another misconception is that people think that project management itself is just to manage their own personal tasks and projects. That is called "task management" or "time management" and that is not project management.
To be a true project manager means you are managing others.
why is project management even needed?
Project management helps businesses use their money in the right way to complete projects that will make the business more profitable. This is why when a business starts to grow, it is really imperative to assign a project manager to help with completing projects.
Using proper project management techniques can help a business owner understand where each dollar is being spent and help them save money. It can also help them complete projects faster.
A project manager is going to hold the team responsible for getting the tasks done on time and within the budget. This is the essence of project management.
Who can be a project manager?
A project manager is really a role. So this means that even the business owner can take on the project manager role for certain projects. Anyone can take on this role.
Another misconception is that people think a project manager is only needed for a temporary project and then after its finished, they are no longer needed and can be let go.
If you are a business owner and you have this mentality, you are really missing the point.
A project manager can be a permanent member of the team. You have big projects and small mini projects. You also have issues that come up that your project manager can help you resolve.
Let me give you an example.
Lets say a project manager helps to manage a new website design project. Once the website is completed, the project manager is still needed if there are issues found on the website (which there will be).
Technology always needs updates, enhancements and revisions. Websites go down, data can get lost, forms don't work all of a sudden and many other problems can arise for an online business.
A project manager will be the main point of contact if issues come up and they will be the ones to actually get the right team members to fix it.
A project manager is a leader within the organization. They are the ones who bring everyone together to work on a common goal.
Project Management for Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants (VAs) are the perfect people to grow into the project management role for the businesses they work with.
This is because often a VA knows the ins and outs of their client's business already so growing into this role could be a natural next step.
However, there is a huge difference in the way a VA and a project manager approach their work.
To really become a project manager, you as the VA need to become a leader. Meaning you will no longer be someone who just takes tasks assigned to you by your client.
You have to take ownership of your projects and become more of a manager who sees the big picture, business strategy and understands the long term business goals of your clients.
This requires understanding what will make your client's business more profitable.
If you are someone who likes to take charge, has leadership skills and is a good negotiator, this role is for you.
You can also command higher hourly rates when you have good project management skills.