Aug 16

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Many industries require project managers, construction included. At a high level, the purpose of a construction project manager is to plan, procure, execute, and see the project through to completion. If you think of a construction project as a theatrical production, project managers can be more or less considered the director of the show.

As the main point-person, a project manager oversees projects from start to finish. They supervise tasks, identify roadblocks, keep people on task, and often call out problems before they become serious issues. The definition of a project manager may be broad, but the duties are specific in that PMs often have a role in just about every aspect of the construction project. It is common for project managers to find themselves enmeshed in areas outside the scope of their defined duties because these tasks are always related, even if only peripherally.

Leading construction firms in the Bay Area like Gidel & Kocal utilize experienced project managers in every single project. We understand the value expert project managers bring and consider them vital to the success of our builds. Whether it’s a life sciences conversion in the Bay Area or a commercial renovation, our PMs will be with you every step of the way.

What is a Project Manager?

What Does a Project Manager Do_

Identifying the skills and duties of a project manager can be difficult given the breadth of responsibilities with which they are tasked. Being an effective project manager requires having a diverse skill set that encompasses both hard and soft skills. Strategy, agility, time management, task management, and people management are all integral to the success of this profession. While not always necessary, some people find that getting certifications and becoming a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is beneficial.

The 5 Most Important Skills of a Project Manager

Project management in construction requires expertise in certain skills, some of which include those outlined below.

   1. Planning

A quality project manager must be a good planner. This individual should be able to articulate their objectives simply and establish a clear path of how things will get done. Planning includes budgeting, project chartering, and laying out the scope in an understandable manner within the pre-construction stage. Project managers may even take the role of estimators, and work with a multi-functional team of project coordinators, designers, and engineers to put together their plans. At the end of the day, however, it’s up to them to present a holistic plan to the rest of the team. 

   2. Leadership

Leadership plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of construction project managers by orchestrating a cohesive and goal-oriented team. A skilled leader establishes a clear project vision, communicates it adeptly, and cultivates a collaborative atmosphere that encourages open communication and problem-solving. Through adept decision-making, they navigate complexities, manage risks, motivate project teams, and allocate resources judiciously. Additionally, a strong leader fosters motivation, ensuring that the team remains adaptable in the face of challenges and receptive to continuous improvement. This multifaceted approach not only guides the project towards success but also elevates the team’s morale and overall project management proficiency.

   3. Communication

Equally as important, effective communication is a cornerstone of successful construction project management, facilitating the seamless coordination and guidance of multifaceted tasks. Project managers rely on clear and concise communication to convey project goals, expectations, and timelines to team members, subcontractors, and clients. They listen actively to gather insights and concerns, enabling them to address issues promptly and foster a collaborative environment. Through transparent communication, potential roadblocks are identified early, allowing for timely adjustments and risk mitigation strategies. By ensuring that all information is documented and flows freely among all parties, project managers enhance decision-making accuracy, reduce misunderstandings, and create a foundation for efficient problem-solving.

   4. Time Management

Time management is of paramount importance for construction project managers as it directly influences project outcomes and overall success. Skilled time management enables project managers to meticulously plan project phases, set realistic milestones, and allocate resources efficiently. It helps in preventing costly delays, ensuring that tasks are completed within stipulated deadlines. Effective time management optimizes labor, material, and equipment usage, resulting in streamlined operations, minimized downtime, and improved productivity.

   5. Resource Management

Resources in construction are finite. Successfully managing resources involves assigning and optimizing manpower, materials, and equipment throughout the project lifecycle. It’s about ensuring that the right resources are available at the right time and in the right quantities. Resource management focuses on optimizing the availability and usage of resources, while time management focuses on keeping the project on track in terms of its schedule and timeline. Both aspects are interrelated, as proper resource allocation can influence the project’s timeline, and effective time management can impact resource utilization

A Day in the Life of a Project Manager

Every construction firm operates differently, which means that there is no standard when it comes to the daily tasks of a project manager. Still, on a day-to-day-basis, project managers can expect to perform some, if not all, of the following duties: 

  • Liaise with leadership for progress reports to ensure scope of project is as expected
  • Meet with subcontractors, clients, and project coordinators for job walkthroughs
  • Create ongoing risks assessment reports, progress reports, daily check-ins
  • Reorganize schedule according to change orders/modifications
  • Work with individual team members to manage workload
  • Create estimates for new projects and track budgets for ongoing projects

Why Project Managers Are So Important

To put it simply, project managers can make or break a construction project. Managing construction projects can be tricky even when everything goes according to plan, but PMs are even more valuable when things go wrong. Their ability to address crisis management, remediation, risk prevention, and help identify bottlenecks before they materialize are what allows construction projects to run smoothly.

The project managers at Gidel & Kocal Construction come equipped with years of in-field experience and expertise. Our professionals are knowledgeable and skilled, prioritizing value, quality, and customer satisfaction. Work with us and we’ll plan, oversee, and deliver the results you deserve! For more information on our project management services, please contact us today.