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Topics: Career Development, PMO, Using PMI Standards
Different positions / roles in project management
Hello all!

I have been doing project management since nearly 2 years now, first started as a project coordinator and now as a project manager.

As I have not yet completed my PMP certification (but am planning to), I must say that I am not quite familiar with the different roles/positions in project management, and the ''hierarchy'' (I don't like that work, but I assumed it would be easier to understand what I an referring to) in that field. With all these PCOs, PMOs, PMs, Senior PMs and PCs, I just can't figure out who is doing what exactly, and who is ''above'' the other, if you know what I mean.

Can someone help me clarify? That would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance!
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Olivier -

this varies organization by organization. I'd suggest you look for the official job descriptions from your company's HR folks. If you want a general idea for these, you could look at PMI's salary survey as that does provide an overview of common PM family roles.


It depend on organisation structure.
Sometimes Project Manager has different designation in organisation than Project manager but person is appointed as project manager/ program manager etc.


I believe that this issue could be discussed based on many points
For Example:
- project manager could have work to do as manager / expediter / coordinator base on the PMO range of control on the project
- also the company project resources could be project or functional or mixed
- (in my area) currently most of companies strategy is to decrease the number of project staff and assign all company actions (marketing, contract, technical, HR, finance...etc) to the company main office

Finally all of us need to understand the concepts of his work area and try to build and direct to solve any missing, misunderstand or required improvement based on professional management rules

Good discussion points above..

The terminology and titles are little different for every organization. But typically, PC's are help PM's(1 PC helping 2-3 PM's being a scribe, setting up meetings, doing some budgeting work, setting up projects in tools etc. So the PM is able to get some time to focus on core PM activities). And PMO manager does have PM's reporting under the PMO to him/her.

Agree to what has been said about the diverse roles defined by diverse environments. Some companies have defined PM career paths and then you can find yourself in a hierarchy.

What helps me is to consider project manager not only a (ambigious) role within context but primarily a global profession. Like other professions, doctors, lawyers, or priests there are many specialist roles and titles.

The profession is defined for me as 'make things happen' and 'provide security and trust' (about a future result and how to get there).

I agree with Kiron.
Moreover, you do not need the PMP designation to review the literature. I would suggest you to start reviewing the PMBOK and related books.

Hi Olivier

I will take a stab at answering your question since I am also from Quebec and we use pretty much the same terminology here in Montreal than you seem to do.

PCOs - this is a project coordinator - the role can be purely admin or he can be literally the right hand man or woman of the Project Manager. He will be responsible for creating and updating the project plan in MS Project for example and creating tasks for resources to charge their hours for example. A PCO will sometimes be responsible for overseeing the financials of up to 10 projects... he might even be responsible for a program.

Project Manager - is usually the person that is directly managing managing the resources and is accountable for the successful delivery of the project.

The main difference between the Project Manager and the Sr Project Manager is normally the type and complexity of the projects that they manage.
The Sr PM will usually just manage 1 or 2 projects at a time ...
The budget is usually bigger also ... $1 million and more

The project manager will more projects - smaller in scope and in budget but essentially the work is similar.

PMO (it is not really a person but should be more of a department ... Project Management Office) but in smaller organizations you will often see a person that is referred to as the PMO ... he is responsible for implementing the structure and the methodology that the project managers will follow in the delivery of their projects. He will create templates for the project plan, the risk register, change requests, etc.. He might also be asked to manage some projects.

PCs, (I assume you are referring to Project Coordinators)....
This is usually a person that is responsible for delivering smaller projects. In organization where there are no PCOs this can also be a role equivalent to a Jr PM.

Hope this was helpful to you.


I work for 3M India ltd and we doesn't have PMO in India, we need to act as PC's, PM's depending on the situation, project size & budget
However you need to check with your manager / HR on the position and grade

What ever position you are, lets all accept that, we are like ambulance drivers there will be hurdles, red signals, diversions, traffic, no mater what the project needs to be delivered on time and within budget, this is what the organisation wants :)

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