What’s the difference between a project lead and a project manager?
Blog: Monday Project Management Blog
Are you trying to find out what a project lead is but struggling to find a definitive answer?
We hear you. Everywhere you look, there’s conflicting information, right? And with so many similar-sounding job titles in project management, it’s no wonder things get lost in translation.
Project lead, project manager, project leader, project planner, team leader — the list goes on.
So. Many. Titles.
So don’t feel bad if you’re not 100% sure what a project lead is. We feel your pain.
Fortunately, monday.com is here to clear up these misconceptions once and for all.
In this article, we’re going to define the role of the project lead, the skills needed to be a successful project lead, and look at the key differences between a project lead and a project manager.
No need to thank us. You’re welcome.
What is the role of a project lead?
Generally speaking, a project lead is someone who fulfills many of the duties of a project manager but may not have the experience or certification to gain the full PM title.
So although a project lead might have some of the responsibilities of a project manager, they usually aren’t as qualified or experienced.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
We have some bad news.
The role of a project lead can vary from company to company and industry to industry.
Different companies each have their own definition of what a project lead is, and this makes it hard to pin down exactly what the role entails.
For example, one project lead might manage specific elements of a large project, but another might manage entire projects — just smaller, less complex, and lower priority ones than those tackled by the company’s PMs.
We know. It’s annoying that there’s no concrete definition. But on the whole, a project lead will often play a similar role to a project manager.
What is the difference between project lead and project manager?
As we’ve already mentioned, the answer to this question depends on the industry you’re working in, and the company you’re working for.
But overall, here are the main differences:
So if you had a project lead and a project manager working at the same company, chances are the project lead would be in charge of smaller projects, or would be working underneath the project manager on larger projects.
What does it take to be a successful project lead?
The skills of a successful project lead are similar to those of a successful project manager — the ability to collaborate, communicate, organize, and think critically.
Let’s take a look at how mastering these skills can help you become a successful project lead.
A project lead will collaborate with team members to complete their project work on time and within budget. Whether that’s liaising with the project team about specific tasks, or working with the project manager to get things moving, collaboration is always important.
A recent survey also found that 75% of project management professionals believe using team collaboration tools will increase this year.
And with collaboration as one of the key components of project management, it’s no surprise that professionals in the industry have made this prediction.
If their opinion is anything to go by, project leads need to think about using a platform to improve their collaborative efforts — if they’re not already using one, that is.
A work management platform makes collaboration quick, easy, and straightforward. With our platform, a project lead can collaborate with every team member from a central location. You can even share files and send messages, too.
Without wanting to sound too dramatic, the project lead’s organizational skills could be the catalyst for project success or complete and utter failure.
Think about it. There’s a lot going on in the life of a project lead. Various deadlines, project progress, resources, budgets, teams to manage — and it’s all happening at the same time.
Now imagine trying to keep on top of this without being organized. We shudder at the thought.
And that’s why it’s important that every project lead has strong organizational skills. Without organization, the project would undoubtedly fall apart.
And if you feel like you need a helping hand with project organization, get in touch with the team here at monday.com.
With our software, there’s no need to worry about losing track of tasks, or whether projects will finish on time. Our platform hosts everything in one central location for optimal organization.
3. Critical thinking
Managing change is part of the job when it comes to project management. No matter how hard you plan, it’s rare for a project to make it from start to finish without any changes or complications along the way.
Fortunately, there’s a way for project leads to take these changes in their stride: critical thinking.
Being able to think critically about a project allows the project lead to continually question the processes, direction, and practices of a project. As a result, they’re much better prepared for unexpected hurdles.
With critical thinking, a project lead is also able to reflect on the success or failure of the project and use that information to inform project decisions going forward.
And before you start to worry about this laborious process, don’t. It doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, using a work management platform makes it easy to spot gaps or areas of improvement in past and current projects.
Take monday.com, for example. With our platform, project leads can optimize their dashboard to view the relevant metrics on each project. With one glance, you can see the information you need to make quick, informed decisions.
How to make the life of a project lead easier with monday.com
In the world of project management, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our workflow and make things easier to manage.
And that’s where monday.com can help.
At monday.com, our job is to make your job easier. With our work management platform, project managers and project leads can host all their project tasks, activities, and schedules in one central location.
And that’s not all. We’ve got an array of features and functions that are sure to make your life easier.
1. Collaborate with your team
As a project lead, collaborating with your team is vital. Well, using monday.com makes collaboration a walk in the park. In our platform, you can add comments, share files, and see who’s working on which task.
Much easier than having to manually reach out to people on different platforms, don’t you think?
2. Easily view project progress
Keeping on top of project progress is easier said than done. Especially if you have a team of remote workers, or if you’re working on more than one project at once.
But with monday.com, you can easily see how projects are progressing.
Our progress tracking column provides visibility of how far along each task has progressed, and you can even view this on more than one project at once.
3. Review the successes/failures of previous projects
We’ve already mentioned how important critical thinking skills are as a project lead. And with monday.com by your side, this process becomes a whole lot easier.
With our intuitive and user-friendly interface, you can easily review past projects to identify areas of improvement going forward.
So not only will monday.com make your active projects easier to manage, but it’ll also help you identify the highs and lows of past projects. Something that’s also helpful if you need to update a project stakeholder, too.
What comes next?
If you’ve made it this far, congrats! You now know what a project lead is, the difference between a project lead and a project manager, and the skills needed to be a successful project lead.
You also now know one of the top secrets in the project management industry.
There’s no concrete definition of a project lead.
At least you can stop scrolling endlessly through Google to try and find the right definition. Ultimately, there isn’t one.
The post What’s the difference between a project lead and a project manager? appeared first on monday.com Blog.