Skip to main content Skip to footer

What’s a project management professional? 10 min read
Get started

Two of the biggest issues plaguing the project management world are taking on too many projects and poorly trained project managers.

The former requires adequate resources and a project management system that lets you know when your team is stretched thin ( can help with that).

The latter requires an investment in education and training.

Passing the Project Management Professional certification exam won’t solve all your problems, but it’s definitely a leg up in the project management world.

In this article, we’ll explain what a project management professional does day-to-day, and how they keep up with their long list of responsibilities:

What is a project management professional?

You can go 2 ways with defining a project management professional. You can talk about what they do and why they’re important, or you can define what it takes to become a certified project management professional.

Let’s explore both.

A certified project management professional is a person who’s finished the necessary course work, has relevant project management experience, and has passed their PMP certification exam.

The PMP certification stands for Project Management Professional and is an internationally recognized certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI is an American non-profit organization for project management.

Private, public, and non-profit organizations, as well as governments, employ PMP-certified project management professionals to apply a standard and evolving set of principles and practices defined by PMI to improve the success rate of their projects.

Put simply, project management professionals apply their extensive knowledge and experience to real-world projects that bring value to organizations.

Becoming a project management professional requires a mix of education and experience.

(Image Source)

As of June 2019, the Project Management Institute stated there were 932,720 active project management professional certification holders, across 218 countries.

Commonly, project management professionals earn their titles after completing a PMP certification.

Before qualifying to write the exam, the candidate must have a 4-year degree and 3 years of experience in the field, or a high school diploma or an associate’s degree as well as 5 years experience.

PMP candidates must also have a minimum of 35 hours of project management education or formal training, or already hold their CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) Certification. Many hopeful PMPs gain these 35 hours through a PMP prep study course.

Get started with

How does a project management professional differ from a project manager?

A project management professional can be a project manager, but not all project management professionals are project managers. And not all project managers are PMPs.

Technically, you don’t have to be certified to be a project manager. Sometimes relevant experience and working your way up the corporate ladder is all it takes.

There are countless project managers out there right now working with nothing more than a high school diploma and some informal training. They’ve never taken a course or an exam in project management.

So why take the exam to begin with?

Many people take the PMP exam and pursue the project management professional title to boost their status in the industry, move up the corporate ladder, movie companies, or make more money.

Typical responsibilities of a project management professional

Completing the certification course helps provide the project management knowledge needed to tackle the problems and opportunities you’ll face as a project manager.

The responsibilities will vary widely depending on the industry, business, and role, but there are some common themes:

Acting as the project’s champion

The project management profession requires relevant experience and specialization in a knowledge area that makes it easier to make better decisions on behalf of the project’s stakeholders.

Many refer to those as hard skills. It’s the technical stuff that commands trust and respect that you’ll get the job done right.

82% of project management innovators believe prioritizing the development of project management technical skills is the way of the future.

On the other hand, soft skills — like communication and problem-solving — are just as important, if not more.

Whether it’s their idea or not, the project management professional’s job is to get involved at the earliest stage, develop a full business case, and execute the project successfully.

Ideally, they’d have knowledge of the corporate strategy to ensure the project fully aligns at all times.

Ensuring all employees, contractors, vendors, and stakeholders have everything they need at all times requires strong communication and organizational skills.

Building a winning team

The project management professional can’t do it alone. They have to delegate and squeeze top performance out of all project team members.

It may mean hiring new people, picking the right contractors and vendors, or working with what resources are already in place.

The workload view shows you who's overwork and who's underutilized.

Having a specialist for each knowledge area of the project with the right mix of training, education, and experience is invaluable. However, they’re only effective if you utilize them properly., a Work OS that lets you build the perfect flow for your project, has a special workload view (screenshot above) that tells you who’s maxed out and who’s underutilized on any given date.

Organizing an iron-clad plan

With a team in place, the project management professional works to define the exact tasks required to complete the project successfully.

The certified project manager would use their expertise and experience to ensure the project’s pace is on track and that everyone remains adaptable to any changes in the project scope.

Writing a project plan requires defining deliverables, milestones, scope, and success criteria. You’ll identify risks to monitor, list out project resources, develop change management procedures, and create a communication plan alongside the project schedule.

Most importantly, you’ll ensure everyone understands the project goals and their role in the process. That bit is crucial. If even the lowest person on the team doesn’t understand the project and their role, then you can expect mistakes and project delays.

Managing project resources and expenses

Sticking to the project schedule and proper resource management are 2 essential factors to completing a project successfully, on time, and within budget.'s resource management template provides a snapshot of all your resources.

Having experience creating project estimates and sticking to them as best as possible is a big part of it.

It can be especially challenging if you have finite resources that you’re trying to stretch across the project. In those situations, it’s best to keep a close eye on all your resources each day using a resource management board like the screenshot above.

With it, you’ll always know what resources are available, their current status, location, and who’s responsible for them.

Delivering value at key milestones

Completing projects successfully and doing them within budget is a key component to managing projects successfully. Equally important is delivering value on time.

At the project’s inception, you’ll usually agree upon key project milestones with your stakeholder group. At those milestones, you’ll send up status reports and often deliver some value.

The biggest thing that stands in your way of doing that is a potential risk item surfacing. The project management profession is one full of potential chaos that can disrupt the day-to-day.

A project management education combined with plenty of industry experience will help ensure you’re always 2 steps ahead of potential problems that could kick the project off course. That requires diligent planning for risk and preparing contingency plans should any of them actually occur.

Get started

A brief “day in the life” of a project management professional

Getting the PMP exam out of the way and earning your project management professional credential paves the way to a lucrative career in project management. But what exactly do project management professionals do day-to-day?

If you’re working from home or the office, there are likely a lot of meetings via Zoom, Webex, or Microsoft Teams.

An early morning status meeting to meet with key project stakeholders or leadership is common.

Working-level meetings where you work with your team and contractors are also common. This is where the magic happens. Tasks are checked off, and progress gets made on deliverables.

It’s not all managing people and updating stakeholders. Sometimes you have to pour over reports to make sense of the data you’ve gathered in the hopes of drawing insights from it.

Once extracted, it’s vital to put together presentations or reports to transfer those insights and hopefully turn them into action.

Keeping up with email is essential too. It’s best to do that in batches throughout the day, so it doesn’t interfere with the actual project work.

Ensuring your team stays within the project scope requires constant communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution.

Only through work experience will you gain the insights and critical thinking skills necessary to knock them down as the surface.

Essential tools for the project management professional

With a lot of meetings, you’ll likely spend a fair amount creating and tweaking Google Slides or Powerpoint presentations — unless you have the ability to create customized reports and dashboards using a platform like…

That project management knowledge, training, and experience often have to be filtered so that those outside the industry fully understand what you’re doing.

That requires doing data analysis and reporting. For that, you’ll need some baseline skills in whatever programs you’ll be using.

Finally, you’ll need project management software of some kind.

Project managers are rarely the subject matter expert for all facets of the project. They need to rely on status updates from their team to pass essential data back up to senior leaders and stakeholders. Project management software makes that possible.

Complex projects call for simple but robust solutions like

How can help project management professionals excel

As a Work OS, provides the foundation for creating a custom workflow that fits your unique needs and processes.

The project management plan template helps guide the busy PMP from initiation through closing.

54% of project managers say that they don’t have access to real-time project KPIs. can turn that around. Project planning, task management, and risk management features come standard.

Your team will experience less admin work and great collaboration thanks to the real-time communication tools and built-in automations and integrations.

On top of that, having the right data visualizations like Gantt, Kanban, and Timeline views makes it easy to communicate updates to the team and stakeholders.

The best part is you don’t need a project management certification or in-depth training to learn It’s built with beauty and simplicity so everyone can jump in and see value from day one.

Managing projects with ease

As you can see, taking a course and passing an exam will only take you so far. An experienced project manager knows they’re only as good as the tools they use and the experience they bring to the table. takes the guesswork out of project planning and helps keep your project schedule and project scope top of mind at all times. In essence, it makes you and your team more productive so you can focus your efforts on what truly matters.

Check out our Project Management Plan Template. It’ll guide you through project initiation all the way to project closure.

Get started

Get started