Because Project Managers have the overall responsibility for planning and executing the project, the specifics of their job are different every day. If their project team is large and experienced, most Project Managers will spend their time on traditional management responsibilities. But if the team is small, or there is a gap in skills somewhere, the PM may step in and perform additional duties in the role of a BA/QA/whatever.
Though true for other core project team roles, the social nature of project delivery is evident more with the Project Manager than any other. I suppose that’s true for management in general. The PM provides visibility to the many people and tasks needed to complete a project, clearly and frequently communicates progress, and manages the day-to-day operation of the team in an environment that often involves competing demands for scope, time, cost, risk and quality.
I won’t add much more detail than that. A simple web search will yield much better results than I could. But I do think it’s important to note that the PM, due to the accountability inherent in the position, oftentimes has to step out of her role to help the team along. Just as no two PMs are alike, neither are two projects, or project teams. While the traditional responsibilities of a PM are well-defined by groups like the Project Management Institute, it’s all the other day-to-day work that provides such great variety.
Successful Project Managers exhibit may traits, like leadership, organizational awareness, and team work, but one of the most important skills for any project manager is internal marketing. After all, the PM is the figurehead of the project team, and while that may only be 10 people directly, it’s 100+ people indirectly. And experienced PMs manage tens of millions of dollars of work, which is a lot of money to represent throughout the organization.
PMs are always fighting–for more money, more time, or more resources. Either that or they’re defending their budget, their schedule, and the resources they already have. Without a keen ability to positively represent the project and the benefits it will provide to the organization, PMs and projects can easily fail. Companies are always tightening budgets, or moving money from one department to another. Essentially, they’re moving money to the people who best lobbied for it.
Strong internal marketing makes everything easier for the PM and the team. It’s a combination of organizational awareness, marketing, PR, and passion, and one of the top keys to success.