I've been wondering about this question for a while. I'm aware that Job Titles are not completely meaningful (specially, in the financial sector) but still, calling one as 'Project Manager' should represent a standard.

The Job Title usually goes along with the role the professional executes on his daily work. Controlling Scope and Schedule is the basics, and usually it implies in leading a team. However, there's one Constraint, the cost, which - I believe - would differentiate a 'Team Leader' or a 'Project Leader' from a real 'Project Manager'.

Looking for the PMI definition, it states that

(...) project management brings a unique focus shaped by the goals, resources and schedule of each project

which makes no clear reference to costs. In this same link, is mentioned the knowledge areas the PM is expected to cover, which are:

  • Integration
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Procurement
  • Human resources
  • Communications
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder management

Where some of them, as previously stated, are 'basics' for a Project Leader / Manager, and others will... well... fall into a 'gray' area that varies from company to company and maybe from market to market.

I've checked some similar questions like 'The difference between a Functional and a Project Manager' and 'The difference between a Project Manager and a Project Leader' and turns out that the former is focused on two specific and not overlapping roles (from my point of view) whereas the latter is understanding both Leader and Manager from a 'controlling' perspective (by force or by willing) which is not what I'm referring to in my question.

Bottomline: Is it correct to call one Project Manager even if this 'Leader', 'Manager', or any other expression we want to use, does not deal with project costs?

  • 2
    When I was called "project manager" costs weren't something I was privy to. This is what made me realize I may not in fact have been a true PM. :)
    – jmort253
    Aug 21, 2014 at 4:53

2 Answers 2


In my organization many PMs get very little say in Human Resources decisions for their projects. The functional manager says who they can spare that fits the criteria and that is who the project manager gets. This said I don't think there is anyone who doubts our PMs are in fact PMs. I think the same holds true for costs. If you are managing projects you are likely a project manager regardless of the fact that some details are not within your control.

To back this up PMBoK 5e p 555

Project Manager (PM). The person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team for achieving the project objectives.

No mention of any specific aspects other than leading the team.

Also PMBoK 5e section 1.3

Managing a project typically includes but is not limited to: ... Balancing the competing project constraints which include but are not limited to: scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and risks.

I think that "typically" answers the question. These are not absolutes, sometimes you have a budget contraint but not necessarily.

  • Now you nailed it! Tks!
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Aug 25, 2014 at 19:17

PMBOK tries to add all of the possibilities in the details. However, not all of them are required to be included. This is one thing, second thing, if you notice the PMP exam tests the process groups not the management areas, which makes them less important (but still important).

As an example, how many project managers does procurement? I think less than 10% maybe more but not much more.

In some types of projects you may find quality manager, cost control manager and so on, in this case you cannot say that the project manager is not doing project management.

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