What is Project Management? [Infographic]


An illustration of a light bulb that also displays icons related to project management.

Project managers (PMs) have a number of responsibilities. This also means they need a well-rounded collection of abilities to excel in the job.

The key to answering the question “What is project management?” is understanding what these skills are and how PMs apply them to the projects they are tasked with successfully completing.

Here, we examine five essential skills that any prospective project manager should master:

1. Communication

Project managers are only as effective as their communication skills. They lead teams and need to motivate, as well as delegate and monitor deadlines. Communication is crucial in each of those duties.

2. Organization

Projects usually come with sprawling plans, and it’s up to project managers to keep everything in order. Being organized is a highly prized skill in PMs, as it shows their ability to manage big tasks.

Let’s also take a step back and consider the question “What is a project?” The Project Management Institute defines it as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” Keep in mind that everyday operations usually don’t qualify as projects. You’ll be relying heavily on organization techniques as you tackle new initiatives and tread new ground.

3. Accountability

The buck stops with the project manager. Holding themselves, employees and stakeholders accountable is a central duty of PMs, who need to set the example in the interests of guiding projects to success. You will likely get to know the Gantt chart as you build up this skill, as well as other tools that help manage project deadlines.

4. Critical thinking

Project managers encounter obstacles all the time. It’s the nature of the job; and this requires them to think critically. Being creative in devising solutions is a key trait of an effective PM.

5. Cost management

Controlling the costs of a project is often a challenge, as well as a central responsibility of project managers. PMs need to know how to balance and run budgets, as well as plan financially for the long term.

What is project management? This infographic shows five skills that help define the field.

What is Project Management?

Every organization needs reliable managers who can take responsibility for a project’s success. Using the principles of project management, these managers create processes that empower their teams to deliver projects on time, on budget and to specification—in a wide range of fields and occupations.

The right educational program can help you master those principles—and the skills described in the infographic above.

Elmhurst University’s project management program satisfies the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) educational requirement necessary to be eligible to take the PMP® exam. An optional PMP® review course is available to graduates of the program free of charge.

Request more information about Elmhurst University.

Connect with #elmhurstu