5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 1: The Role of the Project Manager

The last topic in Chapter 1 of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide is that of the role of the project manager. This topic covers a couple of points.

1. Role of the Project Manager within the Organization

The high-level (C-level) management is the group that figures out and implements the overall business strategy for an organization. The levels of management under them are the functional managers who take care of specific business units (accounting, human resources, IT, etc.), and then there are the operations managers and project managers, who take of the day-to-day operations and special projects, respectively, that the organization engages in. (Under “project management”, we are conceptually including the levels of projects/programs/portfolios.)

This is a general understanding of the relationship between these management roles; the relationship between a functional manager and a project manager is given a much more thorough treatment in Chapter 2.

2. Role of the Project Manager within the Project Team
There are several competencies that you need to have as a project manager. Some are directed related to being a project manager, and some are more general and fall into the category of what you would have to be a manager of any kind.



1. Knowledge What do you know about project management on theoretical basis?
2. Performance What do you know about project management on practical basis?
3. Personal What do you know about how to lead a project?

I put the top two categories of competency in a different shade of green than the bottom one because the top two are specifically project management related, but the leadership skills in the third one could apply to leading ANY endeavor, whether it’s a project or not.

There are also a set of interpersonal skills that PMBOK® Guide lists. Rather than reproduce the list, let me just also reiterate the point that these interpersonal skills are also part of what it takes to be an effective leader, and could thus apply to any management position, let alone project management.

The reason why I’m making this point in the post is because some questions will give a list of skills, and ask which are project management skills. Some of them will be of the general variety that are in the list of interpersonal skills mentioned in the above paragraph, but some of them will require knowledge specifically of project management. If you get confused by this question, remember that it really means “which skills in the list are specifically project management skills” and it should be clearer which item is the answer.

The next post will give a brief introduction to Chapter 2 of the PMBOK® Guide.

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