A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning and execution of any project.
The project manager must posess a combination of skills including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions, resolve interpersonal conflicts as well as more systematic management skills.
Key amongst his/her duties is the recognition that risk directly impacts the likelihood of success and that this risk must be both formally and informally measured throughout the lifetime of the project.
Risk arises primarily from uncertainty and the succesful project manager is the one who focuses upon this as the main concern. Most of the issues that impact a project arise in one way or another from risk. A good project manager can reduce risk significantly, often by adhering to a policy of open communication, ensuring that every significant particiapnt has an opportunity to express opinions and concerns.
It follows from the above that a project manager is one who is responsible for making decisions both small and large, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimised. Every decision taken by the project manager should be taken in such a way that it directly benefits the project.
Construction Project Management
In the past, construction project managers were individuals who had worked in construction or a supporting industry and were promoted into project management. This lead to a profession in which it was difficult to gain knowledge. The industry also lacked any level of standardization. The Project Management Institute (based in the USA) has made some headway into being a standardizing body with its creation of the Project Management Professional (P.M.P.) designation.