I'm an IT graduate, and last week I started an internship working in the IT department of a reasonably large non-IT related company.

During the course of my degree I learned about the 'hard' side of IT, programming and databases and that sort of thing. I also learned of the 'soft' side of IT; Agile, ITIL, etc...

So far I'm quite at a loss about exactly what a 'standard' day for an entry level person like me should be like. I understand what the managers do a little. They think of the broad picture of IT in the company and deal with selecting vendors and all that sort of thing. But I'm just a low level entrant; I can hardly be managing straight away surely, yet the implementation side of things isn't done in house. Our IT department is based solely around project management (well, apart from the server management people, but thats not me). So I really don't know where us low level IT people fit in.

My work so far hasn't been standard, lots of training and learning about the company. I really want to know where I can expect to be going though.

So, my question in a nutshell is this: What does a low level project manager do? Emphasis there on the low level. I'm not quite understanding how I can be a 'manager' but not a manager. Sorry for my English!

8 Answers 8


Rephrasing what's being said, if someone is calling you a "project manager", you must know what the project is first.

Only once you know the project and its goals, you'll be able to start drawing how you can get to the solution.

A project manager of no project is like consder a peasant as a "driver without a car", i.e. nonsense.


Project management is the art of transforming an uncertainty into certainty.

Just keep six constraints under your consideration:

 1. Quality (“No compromises and must be Good only”)
 2. Time (“Fast & Acurate”)
 3. Cost (“Best and competitive - but don't forget your company budget too”)
 4. Scope
 5. Risk
 6. Resources/people

Life Cycle of a project thoroughly depends on these. Even though certifications like the PMP and PRINCE2 are designed to recognize and standardize project management. It helps professional to learn a lot through various examples. The core responsibilities of a PM are:

- Be the walking, talking project scope
- Own the project budget
- Track task status/completion
- Manage all possible project communications
- Keep a close look on lists of projects/modules/components/jobs
- Prioritize between jobs/projects/modules
- Run interference between all the stakeholders
- Own the project management methodology
- Create Project schedulers and keep them updated
- Track project deliverable
- Explain/update  stakeholders about what is going on with a project
- Very Important - Be open to Accept/take blame 

In the end, my experience conclude that there is no low level or high level system in project management. All of what required is your approach and planning to deliver a project :)


In the same veine as Sreedhar says, if you don't know what the scope and breadth of your responsibilities/duties are, or are going to be, which parts of the project you're expected to be involved with and to what level and what the reporting lines are - ask. You need to understand where your role fits in with others and how you are expected to contribute. Also to know what measures will be used to decide if you are contributing effectively etc. This should be handled by whoever is managing you. You shouldn't need to guess.

Then, as MikeMalter says, you've got opportunities to see where you could shine above someone else or offer to do something extra - but if you're unsure of your remit that's going to make it more difficult for you to do that.


Some fo the Project Management activities done by any Project Manager is as follows(in no order):

  • Form the Project team
  • Kick off the project with all the stakeholders (generally kick off consists of objectives, success criteria, and other things explained well)
  • Planning and preparing high level milestones
  • Communications to the team and stakeholders
  • Identify and manage risks
  • Preparing Work Break down Structure(WBS)
  • Assigning tasks to team from WBS
  • Track the tasks
  • Ensure collaboration with team and all the stakeholders
  • Stakeholder management and support in executing the project
  • Status reports to senior management team
  • Ensure and check the project deliverables at each phase of the project
  • Regular meetings and resolving issues/risks
  • Ensure on time, scheduled deployment of the project
  • Ensure warranty and support
  • Lessons learned meeting, etc..
  • Hey Sreedhar, see this link to see what I did to properly format your bulleted list. If you ever need help formatting your posts, check out the editing guide
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 6:55
  • Thank you. I tried and did not work for me. Will check the guide from next time onwards. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 7:15

The list from Sreedhar is good in general, imho.

However, you won't know if any or all of the items on this list apply to you, unless you answer another question :

The core question you should ask yourself and, eventually, your superiors is: which responsibilities do they expect you to take on? What are you responsible for?

Figuring this out is way more important than figuring out what a title, like Program Manager could entail.


I would expect even though you might be looking a project manager in title, with the emphasis you placed on 'low level', that you'll be performing the duties of a project coordinator. This means you'll be looking at some authority and power to make decisions but only within the scope a higher level PM provides.

This scope will probably include helping with stakeholder analysis, project communications (minutes, meeting scheduling, and stakeholder updates), updating the schedule and tracking progress from the team, etc.

Good luck.


Since you are an intern and have graduated and are ready to start working somewhere, you are in a really great position. Ask yourself if you want to work for the company you are interning for.

If you decide you do, then think of how you can make yourself useful as possible. Look for moments to arise where you can do small things for the members of your team to move the project forward. Never think of yourself as a manager of others but as a manager of yourself.


Manage projects, not people.

Given that you are entry level, success lies in identifying and measuring things that will enable you to predict project success, and to intervene where the likelihood of project success is falling.

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