Senior Project Manager Roles & Responsibilities
Professionals with fancy job titles can relate to the saying “all that glitters is not gold.” They know that with distinctive positions come enormous responsibilities. For instance, the designation of senior project manager connotes a sense of authority, expertise, respect, high salary, and other perks. But senior PMs will tell anyone plainly that their work is never easy. This does not mean, however, that the work is not fulfilling. But what does the senior project manager really do, and how is it different from a project manager?
Table of contents
- Senior project manager job description
- Roles and responsibilities
- Qualifications, skills, and proficiency
- Ready to take on a senior project manager job?
Senior project manager job description
The senior project manager leads a project team or multiple project teams simultaneously. Senior project managers work on larger or more complex projects. They work with multiple teams, each project manager of a team reporting directly to them. Senior PMs do not duplicate the work of project managers but provide a higher level and wider scope of management to projects and project teams as well as to the organization they belong. They have the authority to run projects on a day-to-day basis and delegate tasks to individual project managers.
Senior project managers have considerable expertise to contribute specialized process improvement initiatives. But they also have management experience with project delivery that span across business units, allowing them to work in all types of industries and organizations.
Roles and responsibilities
The exact roles and responsibilities of a senior project manager will vary from company to company. The following is an overview of the usual roles and responsibilities of a senior project manager.
Program and portfolio management
Involved with multiple projects, senior PMs can support program management, project portfolio management, and other project management office duties. As a senior-level employee, they provide big-picture assistance to the organization and manage all aspects of related projects to ensure alignment of the overall program with strategic business objectives. They manage a portfolio of initiatives that span across business units or lines of business.
Goal setting and project planning
Senior PMs define realistic project goals and objectives with individual project managers and other stakeholders. They prepare estimates and develop detailed project plans for all phases of the project. Also, senior-level PMs help identify resource and budgetary requirements and help in their procurement to make sure the team achieves the project goals in the planned timeframes. Managing project scope and its changes fall under thier supervision, too.
Mentoring and coaching
One of the most important senior project management jobs is to coach junior project managers and team leaders. Senior PMs provide leadership by building and motivating project teams to meet their project goals by adhering to their responsibilities and reaching their milestones. They participate in building and training project teams to expand their capabilities by establishing best practices, policies, PM methodologies, quality assurance and control, tools, and templates. Senior project managers are advocates or champions of learning, process improvement, and project management in the company.
Read also: Coaching & Mentoring Software Project Teams
Hiring and training
As Senior PMs identify resources for project requirements, they will occasionally participate in interviewing project team candidates and help HR find and hire the right candidate. HR may ask them to help create the project onboarding process and other essential project training needs as well.
Project tracking and evaluation
Senior-level PMs facilitate project team meetings. They monitor, track, and control outcomes to resolve issues, conflicts, dependencies, and critical path deliverables. Project managers and other stakeholders contact them for escalation of issues. Senior PMs work analytically and creatively using teamwork, innovation, and excellence to solve problems. They also monitor project team performance and complete performance reviews.
Communications and coordination
Senior PMs develop and execute a communication strategy for all the different project stakeholders. They report on project status, progress, metrics, risks, test results, and deployment activities. The responsibility also includes providing feedback, advice, and encouragement to the project managers and team members. If the project requires, senior PMs coordinate with external partners, clients, vendors, and suppliers.
PM consultant and resource person
As the senior project manager, they need to keep an eye on the latest developments, standards, best practices, tools, and project management software in the industry. Their organization will seek thier advice and recommendations to make sure the company does not use obsolete practices and can take advantage of any breakthrough or strategy to increase efficiency, boost productivity, and achieve project and business goals.
Qualifications, skills, and proficiency
Many senior project manager jobs require a bachelor’s degree. A candidate with a degree in business will have the needed skills in management, organization, and planning. Graduate-level candidates with more research and writing skills have an advantage. Employers look for the following:
- At least five years related experience in project management, planning, and tracking
- Experience working with business stakeholders in related industries
- Experience with and understanding of full project or product lifecycle
- Proficiency with project management tools and related technology
- Ability to demonstrate leadership, drive results, solve problems, and possess interpersonal skills from prior work situations
Other important qualifications and skills are:
- Experience in different project management methodologies
- Experience gathering requirements, business analysis, and documentation
- Experience coaching and team building
- Achieving balance of and the right priority from multiple simultaneous projects
- Obtaining project management professional certification(s)
Read also: How to Get a PMI-ACP Certification
Ready to take on a senior project manager job?
If you are a project manager looking for the next step in your career, consider the senior project manager position. The senior PM salary can range between $47 to $90 per hour with an average of about $60 per hour. It is a challenging responsibility, but with more professionals going into project management, and more businesses needing PM leaders for years to come, you will play a significant role not only in the successful delivery of initiatives but also in training future project management professionals.