How to Become a Project Manager

Project Manager

Where to start

To become a Project Manager you need to learn the fundamental principles of the Project Management Process and the various Project Management Methodologies used to successfully complete projects.

As with most skills, there are two main ways to acquire the knowledge you need to become a Project Manager. The first is via on-the-job learning, where you work in a project team, ideally in numerous projects and with access to a great mentor, and hopefully, work your way up to becoming a Project Manager. The second is faster and more likely to lead to employment, which is completing a structured Project Management training course such as the nationally recognised BSB51415 Diploma of Project Management.

There are many benefits to completing a formal Project Management qualification. You will learn the fundamental aspects of how to become a successful Project Manager, you will gain comprehensive knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager, you will learn about the differing Project Management Methods and which to use on a project, and finally, it will bolster your professional credentials when applying for Project Management jobs.

What is a Project?

To better understand the role of a Project Manager and how to become one, lets first define what a project is. The world’s leading body for Project Management, the Project Management Institute defines a project as:

A temporary endeavour, undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.Having a defined beginning and end in time.
Having a defined scope and required resources.Being unique in that it is not a routine operation but a set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal.

Organisations regularly undertake projects, however, they often don’t recognise them as a project in the context of the above definition. 

Examples of this might include:

  • The creation of a product brochure
  • Purchasing and having a new printer installed
  • Organising a company event such as the annual Christmas party

These are all projects, however, they do not necessarily require a professional Project Manager to oversee them, the responsibility instead usually falling to team members in other roles.

Each organisation will define what constitutes a project for them based upon parameters such as the number of people required to complete it, the time to completion, the cost or its level of complexity.

In the case where an organisation does define an endeavour as a project, it may not have a staff member who is a designated Project Manager. Therefore, given the substantial leadership qualities required to deliver a project successfully, the organisation may select a senior manager to take responsibility for the project and achieve the desired outcome. Therefore, the senior manager can be considered the Project Manager.

What is a Project Manager

Before you become a Project Manager, it’s important to understand what a Project Manager is and understand the role they perform in an organisation.

The Project Management Institute defines a Project Manager as a change agent, “they make project goals their own and use their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team.”

A Project Manager is essentially the “Leader” of the project and is responsible for assembling a team with the right skills to execute and deliver the project successfully, to achieve this on time, on budget and to the level of quality required.

Project Managers may be responsible for managing either internal projects for their organisation or on behalf of an external client. An example of an internal project is the development of a new product or the upgrading of the organisation’s IT infrastructure. An example of an external project may be the construction of a new home or the development of a new website for a client.

Project Manager

It is quite common, particularly within small to medium-sized organisations, that numerous individuals have at one time or another been designated to, or have performed, the role of a Project Manager, usually for the execution of an internal project. In such cases, the role of the Project Manager remains the same; however, they probably don’t carry the title of Project Manager but instead perform the role to achieve a specific internal goal.

For example, the Marketing Manager will perform the role of the Project Manager when organising to attend a trade show to exhibit the organisation’s products and services. In this example, the overarching roles and responsibilities and ultimate project success are the same and sit with the Marketing Manager; however, the project is likely to be just one of many daily tasks undertaken by the Marketing Manager.

In contrast, organisations that carry out projects for external clients are likely to have dedicated individuals who do hold the title of Project Manager and who do follow a Project Management Process or Methodology. In this case, the Project Manager will have clearly defined roles and responsibilities on a day to day basis and in fact, could be responsible for managing multiple projects simultaneously.

For example, a housing construction company will have designated Project Managers responsible for the construction of homes on behalf of clients and will be required to achieve this objective on time, on budget and to the agreed specification with the client.

The industries which are most likely to have dedicated Project Managers include:

Building and ConstructionEngineering
ManufacturingInformation Technology
Mining and EnergyHealthcare

The role of a Project Manager is also referred to by different titles, and sometimes this is due to the industry, level of seniority, number of projects the individual is responsible for or their specific responsibilities.

In some cases, particularly in highly complex and large projects, for example, the development of a 50 storey residential building, an individual may not be responsible for the entire project but rather a particular aspect of the overall project, ensuring a specific deliverable is met. In these cases, there may be a number of Project Managers each undertaking a sub-project, who ultimately report to what is known as a Program Manager or Senior Project Manager.

Although their day-to-day responsibilities may differ, the role of a Project Manager or aspects of that role are undertaken by individuals who hold titles such as:

Technical Project ManagerProject Coordinator
Project OfficerProject Scheduler
Project AdministratorProject Manager

Roles and Responsibilities of a Project Manager

A Project Manager is a person who has the ultimate responsibility for the successful Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Execution, Project Monitoring and finally Project Closure.

Project Manager

This method follows the very popular PMBoK Guide Concept of the Project Life Cycle, developed by the Project Management Institute. Although the PMBoK Process is arguably the most widely used method across the world, other methods have been developed and are being readily adopted to meet specific project types. This includes:


Let’s take a closer look at PMBoK, which is the key method taught in the Australis College BSB51415 Diploma of Project Management, and consists of 5 Phases each of which contain a subset of activities:

  1. Project Initiation
    1. Project Charter
    1. Project Initiation
  2. Project Planning
    1. Scope & Budget
    1. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
    1. Gantt Chart
    1. Communications Plan
    1. Risk Management
  3. Project Execution
    1. Status & Tracking
    1. KPIs
    1. Quality
    1. Forecasts
  4. Project Monitoring
    1. Objectives
    1. Quality Deliverable
    1. Effort & Cost Tracking
  5. Project Closure
    1. Post Mortem
    1. Project Punchlist
    1. Reporting
Image from Smartsheet.com website

Salary and Job Outlook for Project Managers

Source: Seek.com.au

University Articulation’s

Australis have pathway agreements in place with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and Griffith University. By completing the BSB51415 Diploma of Project Management with Australis you will gain credit towards the Bachelor of Business and Commerce at USQ or the Bachelor of Business at Griffith University.

How to do I Enrol?

Our enrolment process is easy! You can enrol any time and start studying almost straight away: 

1 – To enrol over the phone or get additional information, call 1300 887 991 (during QLD business hours).

2 – If you would like a Course Consultant to call you, please CLICK HERE.

3 – For group enrolments or corporate training, call our Partnership Manager on 0411 597 927 or CLICK HERE.

4 – If you would like to use Subscription, please CLICK HERE.

Financial Assistance

Australis College offers various payment options which MAY include:

Option 1: Subscription/Per SubjectOption 2: Payment Plans
Option 3: UpfrontOption 4: Queensland State Subsidy