Given that a unit has a Director and a Manager, whom does the Project Manager of that unit ordinarily report to, the Director or the Manager?

It seems that if the Project Manager reports to the Director this would create all kinds of issues since the PM has no tasking authority over employees who are supervised by the Manager. If the PM reports to the Manager though then the Director has no direct line to the PM to execute tasks the Director may need.

There is probably no right or wrong way to set this up, but how is it usually done?

  • 2
    I don't have the experience to back this up but I think that management structure would vary quite a bit organization to organization. If an organization leads to someone answering to multiple bosses clear definition of roles is required but how they are defined will be unique to that organization. Sep 16, 2014 at 18:35
  • This question would be a lot better (and less of a polling question) if it were about you and your organization, rather than a generic "best practices" sort of question.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Sep 17, 2014 at 3:26
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    I think this is off topic. There can be no standard answer; some organizations are projectized, others are not. The PM's job is to manage the project, not to re-organize the company.
    – MCW
    Sep 17, 2014 at 11:11

3 Answers 3


There is no canonical answer to this question. A project manager might report to:

  • The PMO for the organization.
  • A steering committee.
  • The project sponsor.
  • The line manager or executive responsible for the project's deliverables.
  • A customer-facing engagement manager.
  • The budgeting authority for the project.
  • All of the above.

Other answers are also possible. Not only is the reporting structure variable, but the scope of the role and its "authority" (real or imagined) are also highly variable between frameworks and organizations. In short, your mileage will vary.


In my experience the best outcome is realized when the Project Manager reports directly to the Project Owner and not to multiple parties at a higher level. The answer is really in the title, Project Manager, that individual should only be tasked with managing the project and providing metrics to the Project Owner on how the project is going. I have seen too many cases where the Project Manager manages the project from behind, meaning they spend all their time putting out reports about what has been accomplished or not accomplished to different groups as opposed to leading the project. In those cases the Project Manager just becomes a reporter and the lead developer spends all their time trying to play project manager.


The answer definitely depends on the circumstance. Company culture will also impact the hierarchy. In my company, the PM reports to the Director, but the team members report to a Manager. Me, as the PM, struggles with resource loading, as its a cultural thing that we are working on changing.

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