Project Manager

Project manager is a career which has its roots in the construction industry and is associated with the coordination of large engineering and construction projects. However over the years the value of the skills used in construction and engineering has been applied and developed for most other industries.

Today the career of project manager can be described as the activities or tasks concerned with successfully achieving a set of goals. This includes planning, management, scheduling, coordination, financial control and maintaining progress of the activities that comprise the project. Reduced to its simplest, project management is the discipline of maintaining the risk of failure at as low a value as necessary over the lifetime of the project. Risk of failure arises primarily from the presence of uncertainty at all stages of a project.

An alternate point of view is that project management is the discipline of defining and achieving targets while optimizing the use of resources (time, money, people, space, etc). Project management is quite often the responsibility of an individual project manager. This individual seldom participates directly in the activities that produce the end result, but rather strives to maintain the progress of various parties in such a way that overall risk of failure is reduced.

Project managers are found in all industries and are most often found in consulting or other team-oriented environments. The role certainly requires expertise in the specific project area. It also requires the ability to lead and manage cross-functional teams. Typical projects might include the engineering and construction of a building, or the design, coding, testing and documentation of a computer software program, or development of the science and clinical testing of a new drug. The duration of a project is the time from its start to its completion, which can take days, weeks, months or even years. There are various stages in a project life-cycle, but all projects follow a similar methodology and course of problem solving such as, defining the problem, weighing options, choosing a path, implementation and evaluation. Project management tries to gain control over four variables, time, cost, quality and scope.

Key qualities are organisational skills, analytical skills, well-developed interpersonal skills, numeracy skills, commercial awareness, communication skills, team-working skills, diplomacy, the ability to motivate people and management and leadership skills.


  • oil companies

  • mining houses

  • civil engineers

  • government departments

  • building contractors and subcontractors

  • construction companies

  • municipalities

  • financial institutions

  • retailers / manufacturers in building industry

  • self-employment, as a consultant

Getting Started

  • talk to project managers about this career and ask permission to observe them at work

  • try getting part-time or vacation work as an assistant to a projects manager, even if unpaid.


Accra Polytechnic, Adventist University of Central Africa, All Saints University Lango, Ardhi University, BA ISAGO University College, Bindura University of Science Education, Boston City Campus & Business College, Catholic Institute of Kabgayi, Cavendish University, Centre for Training and Projects Development (CTPD), Centurion Academy, Coastal KZN TVET College, College of Cape Town , Cranefield College, CTI Education Group, CTU, Damelin, Durban University of Technology , Eastcape Midlands TVET College, Egerton University, Ekurhuleni West TVET College, Embu University College, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Great Zimbabwe University, Helderberg College NPC, ICESA City Campus, IMM Graduate School of Marketing, Imperial School Of Business and Science, Institute of Applied Sciences, Institute of Development Management, Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Tanzania), KAAF University College, Kaimosi Friends University College, Kayiwa International University, KCA University, Kenneth Kaunda Metropolitan University, Kenya Highlands Evangelical University, Kenyatta University, Kepler Kigali, Kibabii University, Kigali Independent University, Koforidua Polytechnic, Livingston International University of Tourism, Lovedale Public TVET College, Lyceum College, Machakos University College, Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA), Maseno University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Mauritius Institute of Training and Development, Mega Size College, Meritorious Biz Tech College, Milpark Education, Mount Kenya University, Mzumbe University, Namibia University of Science and Technology, National University of Lesotho, National University of Science & Technology, Ndejje University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Nile Institute of Management Studies Arua, Open Learning Group, Open University of Tanzania, Oval International Computer Education, Production Management Institute of Southern Africa, Rongo University College, Rosebank College, Scott Christian University, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Solusi University, South Eastern Kenya University, Southern Business School, St Paul's University, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Stafford University Uganda, Swaziland College of Technology, Technical University of Kenya, The Copperbelt University, Tshwane North TVET College, Uganda Catholic Management and Training Institute, Uganda Technology and Management University, University of Botswana, University of Cape Town, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Eastern Africa Baraton, University of Eldoret, University of Johannesburg, University of Limpopo, University of Lusaka, University of Mauritius, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of Swaziland, University of the Free State, University of the Witwatersrand, Varsity College, Vuselela TVET College, YMCA Comprehensive Institute, Zambia Catholic University, Zambian Open University

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