A Typical Day In The Life of a Project Manager

Life of a project manager is different almost every day. The challenges and obstacles they face every day are different. The stakeholders they need to communicate to, are different. In short, days are unpredictable. If at all, we have to sum up a typical day in the life of project manager it is about co-ordination and control. Still let me pen down a typical day of an IT project manager!

6:00 am

Wake up, first thing, check is emails on mobile, that’s PM starts days, and from emails they know how their day going to be.

9:00 am

I like to get into the office before my team gets in

9:05 am

Checking piles of emails is a challenge and over the years, I am well versed with the science and arts of managing emails!! Voice messages is another thing to check if there is anything about to get into fire-burning mode. Respond to urgent & important emails. Mark emails to get more info from other team members.

9:30 am

I login to project management software & check project progress, update risks, delegate issues. Prepare To-Do list and see which all meeting I need to attend, which one I can skip, if there is any customer issue that needs to be addressed ASAP

9:45 am

I join the status call with team & see any issue has aroused and things are progressing as per plan

10:25 am

I pull out my To-Do list, Grab a cup of coffee and make some notes.

10:30 am

Stand-up meeting with the team; check progress made on yesterday’s activities, what is today’s plan & how I can help you

11:00 am

My lead engineer wants to discuss few issues separately with me & he is pressing for the immediate project meeting. While we are talking, I get a call from my boss who wants me to join him in his office for a meeting with partner. As it happened in front of lead engineer, he agrees for a meeting post-lunch.

11:15 am

Director of my department wants to discuss few things. His office is in another floor, I walk down there. Meeting has already started conversation is straight and focused.

12:00 am

Respond to other emails, and delegate activities.

12:30 pm

Review Meeting: I have to work with my Business Analyst to review project documents & improve those before handing it over to customer

1:30 pm

Customer calls up; he says XYZ is not working, ABC has not progressed beyond 60% and he would like to discuss it now. I explain him the technicalities of the issues, he understands it well; provide him furthermore detail ensure him that activities are not getting delayed.

2:00 pm

I’m going out for lunch. Wait, I am getting a call, it is from accounts; she is looking for some clarification in invoice-billing to customer. I clarify her doubts. She seems to set for creating invoice. I head for lunch.

3:00 pm

I have a cross functional team (CFT) meeting, also meeting with Project Management Office (PMO) team, Insurance BU, Infrastructure-security and Corporate IT. I realize several new compliance are to be followed. Still I am good with it, since my project is being audited internally since beginning and we have been proactively working on new compliance. I will talk to quality lead about these; I make a note of it.

3:30 pm

Lead engineer call me up. We get into a conference room. We discuss about his issues. I sensed his problem and promise him to discuss positively it with Boss. He seems to be happy with that.

3:45 pm

Grab a cup of coffee, Lead developer has ping me, he has identified some issues with new technology framework and he says he has email this issue to architecture team & can’t progress now and will not be able to complete integration by this week. We get into a call. I say, enough of emails and chats. I pull our lead architect in the call. He understands what could be missing & promises to address it by EoD.

4:30 pm

I have to conduct an interview of a candidate for quality-lead position. This fellow appears process oriented and quite sharp. Gosh !! These guys have been doing good stuff well ahead of time. In my mind, I am trying to map those in our project & overall Project Management Office (PMO) practices. As usual, I ask him why he is making a switch. Looks like some relocation, family issue. He will be a good addition to our team.

5:15 pm

I drop-in to program manager’s desk. He opened MS Excel spreadsheet of our projects. We talk about status of ongoing projects, upcoming projects; though we joked, laughed about something funny happened in yesterday’s meeting. I told him again to start using online tool instead of Excel spreadsheets. Managing projects with spreadsheet is just so much of work and worry.

7:30 pm

I rush to my desk, I check email and respond. I need to re-work the project schedule. I set up a call with our business analyst representing customer and his manager. Based on yesterday’s review meeting, we agree to change delivery item for third sprint.

8:30 pm

I look at my calendar for tomorrow. I open my To-Do list for today and see what is still pending and call up/write email accordingly. I realize, I could not read some useful and interesting project management and project leadership articles. I remind myself to read it over weekend if not tomorrow!!

9:30 pm

heading to home.

You will notice, there are so many things going on, on a typical day in the life of a project manager; it is a daunting task to ensure project is successfully delivered. It is really important to get organized despite of the chaos around us. If you do not have clarity of what needs to be done and talking/email to right people and getting things done; project management will be a difficult game for you.

If you know about PMBOK and its structure, you will know that a Project Manager follow all the 14 chapters from the PMBOK.

We would love to hear your response and love to help you in any process you facing issue with: Is your day different than this one?


Founder & Editor
With more than two decades of experience in IT projects management, I have successfully climbed the ladders of being a Project Manager, CTO, and CEO. Being a Director and head of India operations, I have learned the right attitude for international business and crafts required for building success strategies for IT companies in India.

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