A Project Management Handbook for Non-Project Managers

Is it even shocking that there is such a high demand for workers who possess project management skills? The project-based economy makes project management more and more important as organizations look to efficiently manage their resources, reduce costs, and complete projects on time.

But what if you are not a designated project manager? Can you still develop project management skills to help your organization’s projects succeed?

The answer is yes! 

Project management is not only for project managers. Everyone can benefit from project management skills, whether you’re a business owner, a team leader, or anyone working on projects in their everyday life.

Today’s world requires us to manage projects frequently, regardless of our occupation or qualifications. We must be prepared for any project management tasks that may come our way. Above all, project management proves to be a necessity for teams, no matter their size or the complexity of their project.

Fortunately, learning this skill does not have to remain difficult; with the right guidance that simplifies jargon and makes understanding easier, non-project managers can easily master project management in no time!

The purpose of this handbook is to equip non-project managers with essential project management knowledge that will help them to confidently manage projects from start to finish. Through this guidebook, you will learn about:

  • The fundamentals of project management, such as project scope, objectives, and timelines;
  • Risk management techniques for managing uncertainty in projects;
  • How to identify resources and personnel needed for project success;
  • Key project management tools and techniques;
  • Strategies for efficiently managing project tasks.
  • Examples of project management plans and project deliverables.
  • And more…


Read our best project management software guide to get in-depth knowledge about the software. 

What is Project Management?

Project Management

Project management is a discipline that organizes, oversees, and carries out project goals. It breaks tasks into smaller, manageable steps and involves project planning, scheduling, risk management, resource allocation, and project performance monitoring. Project managers must analyze the project’s timeline and budget to ensure that it stays on track.

To put it in plain language, a project is an effort that fulfills the following criteria:

  • This project has a definitive timeline; it will begin and conclude on specific dates.
  • Achieving project success necessitates a substantial commitment of resources, including time, human capital, and finances.
  • With the help of inventive ideas and innovative solutions, businesses are able to produce new products and services that meet their needs.

Project Management Example

A project manager is responsible for creating a project plan which outlines deliverables, milestones, timelines, and resources. The project manager must also identify potential risks to the project’s success and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.

Once the project plan is approved by key stakeholders, the project manager will then begin assigning tasks to team members and monitoring their performance against deadlines.

The project manager will also be in charge of addressing any conflicts or issues that arise during the project’s execution. Finally, at the end of the project, they review the results and provide feedback on how to improve project management processes going forward.

For example, if project deadlines are not met, the project manager can review what went wrong and determine how to prevent similar project issues in the future.

Importance of Project Management

Project Management is a vital tool for project success, as it allows us to plan better and organize project goals.

Competitive advantage

Project Management allows project teams to tackle complex tasks quickly and efficiently. It enables project teams to analyze project risks, track progress, and optimize resources for better project outcomes. 

For example, if you are a project manager, your first step should be to study the competitors and project scope, so you can use project management tools to plan and execute the project in a way that will give your organization an edge over competitors.

Cost savings

Project management techniques help project teams identify potential problems before they happen and provide strategies that can reduce project costs. 

Suppose you are working on a project that requires specialized tools and materials. If project managers are aware of the project’s needs in advance, they can purchase materials at lower prices.

Improved collaboration

Project management tools make it easier for project teams to collaborate on tasks, as well as track deliverables and deadlines more effectively. 

Let’s say project teams need to collaborate with remote project members, project management tools can provide powerful project dashboards for project team members to stay updated on project progress.

Increased efficiency

Project managers use process improvement initiatives to increase the speed at which projects are delivered with higher quality results. This makes it possible for project teams to complete their work faster while still meeting budget constraints or product quality standards. 

For instance, project managers can use project management software to create project plans, assign tasks, and track project milestones more efficiently.

Fewer obstacles in your path

Project management techniques help project teams identify and remove project bottlenecks, allowing them to reach project goals quickly. 

Suppose project teams can effectively remove project obstacles and quickly develop solutions. In that case, they are more likely to successfully complete the project on time and within budget.

Improved client satisfaction

Project management helps project teams understand and meet their clients’ needs. This leads to improved client satisfaction, which is essential for long-term project success. 

For example, project management techniques can help project teams identify and address project risks or challenges before they become major problems.

Organizational excellence

Project Management enables project teams to develop project plans that align with organizational goals. This helps project teams realize their project objectives more efficiently and effectively, leading to increased satisfaction from stakeholders.

Key Project Management Skills and Roles

Project Managers need to possess a wide range of project management skills and knowledge in order to manage projects successfully. 

Here are some key project management skills that project managers should possess:



How are you going to keep project teams, stakeholders, and other project participants informed about the project’s progress? 

Project managers need excellent communication skills to ensure project plans are understood by project team members and stakeholders. It involves project managers having the ability to listen, review project objectives, and collaborate with project teams effectively.


How are project team members going to work efficiently and productively? 

Project Managers need to be able to organize project tasks, prioritize project goals, and assign resources accordingly. To do this, project managers must create project plans that clearly outline the project objectives, timeline, budget, deliverables, and milestones for project teams.


What are project teams going to need to achieve project objectives? 

Project Managers need to be able to motivate project teams, manage conflicts, and provide support where necessary. 

What will you do if project teams encounter project obstacles? 

Project managers need to be able to think quickly and come up with effective solutions. The goal is to lead by example and ensure project success.


How often do project teams need guidance and support? 

Project Managers need to be able to provide project team members with feedback, coaching, and mentorship. This allows project teams to develop their project management skills and knowledge over time. Coaching may also involve project managers providing project team members with project management tips and tools that help project teams reach project objectives quickly.

Critical thinking

How will project teams analyze project data and make project decisions? 

Project Managers must be able to think critically and use project data to guide project decisions. They need to be able to assess project risks, identify project constraints, and determine the best course of action for achieving project objectives.

Time management

How are project teams going to manage project schedules and deadlines? 

Project Managers need to have excellent time-management skills and be able to align project tasks with project timelines. They should also be able to anticipate project risks and develop contingency plans in case of project delays or changes.

Task management

How will project teams track project tasks and resources? 

Project Managers must be able to manage project schedules, monitor team progress, and modify project plans as needed. They should also be able to assign project tasks to project team members and track project task progress over time.

Risk management

What are the risks associated with the project? 

Project Managers need to have a deep understanding of project risk management processes in order to identify, analyze, prioritize, and manage risks. This involves developing strategies for mitigating project risks before they become serious problems that could impede project success.

Quality management

How will project teams ensure project quality? 

Project Managers must be able to develop project quality management plans that meet project requirements and customer expectations. This requires project managers to have a good understanding of project metrics, tools, and processes used for monitoring project quality.

Technological proficiency

What tools and technologies will project teams need to use? 

Project Managers need to have a good grasp of project management software and other project-related technologies. This means project managers should be able to effectively use project management software, online collaboration tools, and project reporting systems.

Step-by-Step Guide to Project Management Processes

Given the complexity of project management, it is important for project managers to have a clear step-by-step approach for managing projects. A project lifecycle may include project initiation, project planning, project execution, project monitoring and control, project closing. Each step in the project management process should be clearly defined and documented to ensure project success.

Project Initiation

The project initiation process involves setting project goals, identifying project stakeholders, and determining project scope. This is a critical step that sets the foundation for the project management process.

Project managers should use project documents such as business requirements, project charters, and stakeholder analysis to define project objectives and identify project stakeholders.

Suppose there is a project that needs to be managed. Project managers should begin by setting project goals and objectives. They should then analyze project scope, risks and determine project constraints, such as timeline, budget, and resources.

Tips for successful project initiation:
– Tie up all the loose ends.
– Establish project governance and communication protocols to ensure project success.
– Do not accept vague requirements and criteria.
– Clear project team roles and responsibilities.
– If you are not sure, ask questions.

Project Planning

Project planning involves developing project plans and project schedules. This is a crucial step in project management as it establishes project goals, tasks, timelines, project resources, and project risks.

Project managers should create project plans that define project scope, deliverables, tasks and milestones. They should also develop project schedules to track project progress over time. Project planning also requires project managers to identify potential project risks and develop risk mitigation strategies.

For example, if a project manager creates project plans that do not include project risks, the project is more likely to experience unexpected delays or project cost overruns.

Tips for successful project planning:
– Develop a project plan before beginning any project tasks.
– Break down project into smaller tasks and assign to team members.
– Establish project milestones to measure progress over time.
– Identify potential project risks and develop risk mitigation strategies.
– Track progress on a regular basis.
– Be organized and use checklists whenever possible.
– Allow enough time for the plan to be created effectively.
– Determine the right tools and technologies needed to support the plan execution.
– Analyze dependencies among project tasks and prioritize them accordingly.
– Update project plans and schedules as needed

Project Execution

Project Execution

Once project plans have been created and project tasks have been assigned, project managers should manage project execution. This involves monitoring project progress and managing project resources to ensure project deadlines are met.

Project managers should monitor project progress on a regular basis using project management software or other project tracking tools. They should also be prepared to identify any issues that might arise during the project execution phase and develop strategies for addressing them quickly and effectively.

In case project goals or project scope changes during project execution, project managers should adjust project plans and schedules accordingly.

Tips for successful project execution:
– Analyze team performance on a regular basis.
– Ensure tasks are completed as per the timeline.
– Manage risks and track progress of risk mitigation steps taken.
– Manage stakeholders expectations regularly.
– Communicate with project teams regularly to provide guidance, feedback, and recognition.
– Review project plans periodically to ensure project objectives are still relevant.
– Be flexible and adjust project plans when necessary.
– Encourage collaboration among project teams and stakeholders

Project Monitoring and Control

Project monitoring and control is the process of tracking project performance against project plans. Project managers should monitor project progress on a regular basis to ensure project goals are met.

Project managers should review project plans regularly to identify any changes in project scope, timeline, or budget. They should also monitor project risks and take corrective actions if necessary. Project managers should also evaluate project team performance and provide feedback on a regular basis.

Monitoring involves project reports, project status meetings, project dashboards, project risk assessments, and project performance reviews.

Tips for successful project monitoring:
– Use of robust project tracking tools.
– Development of project reports on a regular basis.
– Conduct project status meetings to review project progress.
– Document project changes for future reference

Project Closure

When the project is complete, it is important for the project manager to ensure that all tasks are completed according to plan and that project resources are released or reassigned appropriately.

This includes creating a final report that outlines any issues encountered during the project and any lessons learned from the project. The closure process should also involve conducting an evaluation of the project’s success in meeting its objectives.

Tips for project closure:
– Complete project documentation and project reports.
– Review project performance against project objectives.
– Conduct a project review to identify any lessons learned from the project.
– Reallocate or release project resources appropriately.
– Release stakeholders from their commitments to the project.

How to Create a Project Scope Statement?

Before we delve into the creation of a project scope statement, it’s important to define project scope. A project scope statement outlines the project goals, deliverables, tasks, deadlines, and other necessary information that are critical for project success.

Once you’ve acquired a project proposal from your client, be it external or within the company walls, take some time to analyze their specifications and objectives for a better understanding of what they want. Reviewing the proposal will let you know how best to achieve outcomes that meet everyone’s expectations.

Creating a project scope statement can be done in several steps.

Project Justification

What is the desired outcome of this project for your client? What are their ambitions in terms of immediate, mid-term, and long-term objectives? This can be anything from luring more clients to establishing a legal change, or anything that lies in between.


What tangible results will this project achieve? Utilizing the SMART goal-setting method, how can you ensure success and deliverables? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. When setting project objectives, be sure to keep these parameters in mind. 

For example, “increase website traffic by 25% in 6 months” would be a great project objective.

Product Description

What should the ultimate result be? For example, a mobile application for 10,000 users, a marketing initiative to generate brand recognition, an optimized recruitment procedure, or anything that is the project’s end-goal.

Acceptance Criteria

The success of the project will be determined by meeting certain criteria. If, for instance, you develop an app that can accommodate up to 10 000 users simultaneously – it would be considered a successful endeavor. Conversely, if your application fails to contain essential features requested by the client – then it would not meet the desired outcome and hence deemed unsuccessful.

Project Exclusions

Project exclusion refers to what you, as project manager and collaborators, will not be working on. This helps eliminate any unnecessary tasks or processes and keeps everyone focused on the project’s main goal. 

For example, the project will not generate a sales campaign or any other outcomes outside of those specified in the initial agreement.

Prerequisite Resources

To achieve success with this project, you will require certain resources. These resources can include project-related personnel, project funding, project materials or anything that is required to produce the project’s desired outcome. 

For example, your project may require ten team members, at least $50,000 in funding, a team of independent contractors, and project-related software and hardware.

Project Constraints

These are project-related limits that you have to accept. Anything from project duration and project budget, to project resources or anything else can be included as project constraints. 

For example, project duration should be no more than 8 weeks, project budget should not exceed $30,000 and project resources must be limited to a team of three.

Project Assumptions

Understandable project assumptions are part of the project scope statement. These help account for any potential risks or uncertainties during project delivery. An example would be that project-related personnel will have the required qualifications to complete their tasks as expected – something which can’t always be known with certainty.

Risk and Change Policies

How will we address potential modifications during the project? What is the project team’s risk management strategy and how will project changes be managed? It’s important to set up a project change policy in case project modifications become necessary, to ensure smooth transition and continuity. For instance, modifications can be accommodated dependent on further discussion, or any changes are not allowed.

Project Metrics

Project metrics refer to the project’s performance indicators. These help project managers and team members keep track of project progress. For instance, project metrics are used to measure project success in terms of project completion time and project cost savings. They can also be used to assess the effectiveness of project management skills, risk management strategies, or any other project-related endeavors.

The project scope statement should be a clear reflection of project objectives, project description, acceptance criteria, project exclusions and prerequisite resources. By clearly defining project parameters upfront, project managers will be in the best possible position to successfully manage their projects and maximize project outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

Introduction to Product Management Methodology

Once you have fully understood the scope and shape of the project, it is time to choose a project management methodology. With the right methodology in place, it will give you and your team the necessary framework to accomplish the project with success.

But what is a product management methodology? They are basically product management techniques that project managers use to enable project teams to effectively collaborate and organize project activities. Some of the most widely used project management methodologies include Agile, Waterfall and Kanban.

They are your roadmap or procedures on how project activities will be carried out, from project initiation to project closure. Each project management methodology has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to select the methodology that best suits your project needs.

Essentially, there are six product management methodologies that every product manager should know. They are:


Agile project management is a highly iterative approach that focuses on producing working products in incremental stages. This project management methodology breaks projects into smaller segments and allows project teams to quickly adjust their plans and resources as needed. 

It is often used for software development projects, as it enables project teams to create user stories, prioritize features and deliver the highest value product with minimum risk.

The process involves project teams breaking down project activities into sprints that can be completed within 2-4 weeks. 

During each sprint, project managers and project team members review the project progress, adjust project plans as needed and make sure they are on track to complete the project within their timeline.


The Waterfall methodology is a traditional project management approach based on linear planning processes. It emphasizes on detailed planning upfront, with each project phase having its own distinct set of deliverables and goals. 

This method requires more discipline from project teams and project managers in order to stay on track throughout the entire project delivery process.

Project teams use this methodology when there is already an established procedure for how to manage projects successfully or when a strict timeline must be observed. It starts with project initiation, then project planning, project design and development, followed by project testing and project closure.


The Kanban project management methodology is a popular agile project management technique that focuses on visualizing workflow and task progress. This approach emphasizes continuous improvement of work processes and encourages everyone involved in the project to collaborate more effectively. It also helps project managers focus on task completion while identifying potential areas of improvement to increase team productivity.

This method requires project teams to create a virtual board where tasks can be visually tracked from start to finish. Tasks are organized into lists according to their status (e.g., “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”) so project teams can easily identify tasks that need attention and develop strategies to address potential project roadblocks.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a project management methodology that breaks project activities down into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

This approach enables project managers to effectively allocate resources and manage project timelines by breaking the project into individual components. It also helps project teams identify key milestones and ensure that all project deliverables are completed on time.

Project teams start by creating high-level project plans, then break them down into subtasks and subcomponents until there is a detailed outline of each task or component needed for the project’s successful completion. This method can be used for any type of project, from software development projects to construction projects.

Lean Project Management

Lean project management is an approach that focuses on eliminating project activities that do not add value to the project outcome. It helps project teams identify ways to reduce project costs, reduce project timelines and increase overall productivity. This method involves using data-driven decision making, outsourcing project activities or tasks when possible and leveraging existing project resources more effectively.

Lean project management also encourages project teams to develop a culture of continuous improvement by identifying opportunities for process optimization and developing strategies to address them as they arise. The ultimate goal is to help project teams deliver successful projects that meet customer requirements while staying within budget and timelines.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

Finally, project teams can use the Critical Path Method (CPM) project management methodology to identify and manage project dependencies. 

This approach helps project managers visualize project activities and understand how each task is related to the overall project outcome. It also enables project teams to prioritize tasks according to their importance, so they can ensure critical project milestones are met on time.

Project teams create a Gantt chart that outlines each task’s timeline and specifies which tasks must be completed before others can start. 

Once these project dependencies have been identified, project managers can track progress more effectively and ensure all project deadline requirements are met. This method is especially useful for complex projects with multiple components or stakeholders involved in the delivery process.

By understanding these different project management methodologies, non-project managers can easily choose the right approach for their specific projects. 

Each methodology has its own strengths and weaknesses, so project teams should evaluate the project requirements carefully before deciding which project management methodology is most appropriate for their project. With the right approach and project management tools, non-project managers can successfully manage any project from start to finish.

Best Tools for Project Management

As project management becomes increasingly complex, non-project managers need the right project management tools to help them manage their projects effectively. 

At SaaSGenius, we have reviewed the best project management software available to help project teams manage their projects with ease. Our project management toolkit includes project portfolio management software, project tracking and scheduling tools, risk and resource management solutions, and collaboration and communication tools.

These project management tools enable project teams to automate project activities, streamline processes, measure team performance and improve overall productivity. Furthermore, they provide project teams with a comprehensive view of the entire project so that everyone involved can stay on top of progress at all times. With these powerful project management tools in hand, non-project managers can easily tackle any project challenge.

  1. Project management software such as Asana or TeamGantt provide project teams with centralized task tracking capabilities so they can easily keep track of project progress and deadlines.
  2. Project planning software such as Microsoft Project or Basecamp helps project managers create detailed project plans with subtasks, dependencies and timelines that are easy to understand for all team members.
  3. Finally, the best CRM software like Freshsales, monday.com, and HubSpot CRM allows project teams to manage customer relationships, track project progress, and understand project performance.

By leveraging the right project management tools, non-project managers can easily develop project management skills and successfully deliver projects on time and within budget.


By understanding project management fundamentals and leveraging the right project management tools, non-project managers can easily develop project management skills and successfully deliver projects on time and within budget. With project teams staying organized and on top of their project tasks, non-project managers can ensure that project requirements are met while staying within budget and timelines.

Project success requires a comprehensive approach to project management that incorporates the right methodology and project management tools. 

By using the best practices outlined in this Project Management Handbook for Non-Project Managers, non-project managers can easily manage any project from start to finish with confidence.