A project lead is a vital role within any organization that requires the coordination and management of projects. This article will explore the responsibilities, skills, and qualifications required of a project lead, as well as their importance within an organization.


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Understanding the role of a project lead

A project lead is responsible for overseeing the planning, implementation, and tracking of a specific project or projects within an organization. They are the ones who take charge and lead the team toward achieving the project goals, objectives, and timelines. They must be adept at planning for and monitoring the project's progress, ensuring that it’s completed within the given budget and on time.

Project leads are required to work closely with project managers, team members, and stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aligned with the project's objectives and goals. They must communicate the project's status, issues, and risks to the stakeholders and upper management. 

Key responsibilities of a project lead

Key responsibilities of a project lead include:

  • Defining project goals, objectives, and timelines: Setting the project's objectives, goals, and timelines keeps everybody aligned with the project's objectives and goals.
  • Developing project plans, including budgets and resource allocation: The objective is to have the project completed within the given budget, and the resources be allocated effectively.
  • Coordinating and assigning tasks to team members: The goal is to have all tasks assigned to the right team members and make everyone aware of their responsibilities.
  • Monitoring project progress and making adjustments as needed: This ensures that the project is on track and that any issues are addressed promptly.
  • Communicating project status and issues to stakeholders and upper management: The purpose is to have everyone be aware of the project's progress and any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Ensuring compliance with project requirements and standards: The project must be completed according to the set standards, and the deliverables have to meet the requirements.
  • Identifying and managing project risks and issues: Any risks and issues are addressed promptly so that the project can be completed without any major setbacks.

Skills and qualifications for a project lead

A project lead must possess a few different skills and qualifications: 

  • Project management knowledge and experience: Be familiar with project management methodologies, tools, and techniques.
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills: Be able to communicate effectively with the project team, stakeholders, and upper management.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking abilities: Be able to identify and address any issues that arise during the project.
  • Leadership and team management skills: Be able to lead the project team effectively and manage the team's performance.
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills: Be able to manage the project's details effectively and ensure that everything is organized.
  • Experience with project management and collaboration software: Have experience with project management and collaboration software, especially familiarity with tools such as Wrike, Jira, Trello, and Asana.

The importance of project leads in an organization

Without effective project leads, projects may fail to meet their objectives, exceed their budgets, or miss their deadlines. Therefore, it’s critical for any organization that relies on project management to have skilled project leads in place.

Ensuring project success

Project leads oversee all aspects of the project, from planning to execution to closure, and are responsible for ensuring that the project meets its goals and objectives. This involves developing a project plan that outlines the scope, timeline, and budget of the project. The project lead then works with the project team to execute the plan and promptly address any issues or risks in a timely manner.

Effective project leads are also skilled at managing project stakeholders. They identify stakeholders early in the project and work to understand their needs and expectations.

Facilitating communication and collaboration

Project leads also facilitate communication and collaboration between team members and stakeholders. They confirm that everyone involved in the project is aware of their roles and responsibilities and works toward the same objectives by developing communication plans that outline how information will be shared and how decisions will be made.

Effective project leads also foster a culture of collaboration within the project team. They encourage employees to share their ideas and perspectives and work to resolve any conflicts that arise.

Managing risks and challenges

Project leads are skilled at managing risks and challenges that are inherent in any project. They identify and mitigate potential risks and issues before they become significant problems, minimizing the impact on the project's success. This requires crafting risk management plans that outline how risks will be identified, assessed, and managed throughout the project.

Effective project leads are also knowledgeable in managing change. They understand that project priorities often fluctuate, so they work to make sure that the project team is prepared to adapt to changes as they arise. They typically develop change management plans that outline how changes will be identified, assessed, and implemented.


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Integrating a project lead into your organization

Identifying the need for a project lead

Organizations must first identify the need for a project lead. This may be dependent on the size of the company, the complexity of the projects, or the number of projects being undertaken simultaneously.

For smaller organizations, project management may be handled by a senior member of the team or the CEO. However, as the organization grows and takes on more complex projects, a dedicated project lead becomes essential. 

Hiring and onboarding a project lead

Hiring the right project lead is crucial to the success of your projects. The hiring process should be focused on identifying candidates with the necessary skills and experience, as well as the ability to fit into the organization's culture and work well with team members.

During the interview process, ask questions that assess the candidate's project management skills, such as their expertise in the areas of project planning, risk management, and stakeholder communication. It’s also important to evaluate their leadership and interpersonal skills, as the project lead will be working closely with team members, stakeholders, and clients.

Once a project lead has been hired, they must be onboarded effectively. This includes familiarizing them with the organization's culture, processes, and procedures, as well as providing training on any tools or software that they will be required to use. The onboarding process should also include introducing the project lead to key stakeholders and team members and outlining their roles and responsibilities.

Supporting and empowering your project lead

It’s essential to support and empower your project lead to ensure their success. This means providing the necessary resources, tools, and support to carry out their responsibilities effectively, as well as recognizing their contributions to the organization.

For example, grant your project lead full access to project management software or tools that can help them manage and track project progress. This can include tools for project planning, scheduling, and resource allocation.

Another strategy is to set up ongoing training and development opportunities. This can help project leads stay up-to-date with the latest project management methodologies and tools and improve their skills and expertise.

Ultimately, empowering your project lead means giving them the autonomy and authority to make decisions and take action when necessary. This includes delegating tasks and responsibilities, and trusting them to manage the project effectively. By empowering your project lead, you can help them build confidence and develop their leadership skills.

The relationship between project leads and other roles

Working with project managers

Project leads work closely with project managers, who are responsible for overseeing multiple projects within an organization. Together, project managers and project leads keep the project aligned with the organization's goals and objectives, while allocating all resources efficiently.

Project managers are responsible for setting project timelines, budgets, and goals. They work with project leads to ensure that these goals are met and that the project is completed on time and within budget. Project managers also provide support to project leads, helping them to navigate any challenges that may arise during the project.

Lastly, effective communication between project managers and project leads is crucial for the success of the project. Project managers rely on project leads to provide regular updates on the project's progress, while project leads rely on project managers to provide guidance and support as needed.

Collaborating with team members and stakeholders

Project leads will collaborate frequently with team members and stakeholders involved in the project. This means assigning tasks, monitoring progress, and identifying and resolving issues or conflicts that may arise.

Team members may include designers, developers, analysts, and other professionals with specialized skills. As such, project leads are responsible for ensuring that each team member is assigned tasks that align with their skills and expertise and that they have the resources they need to complete those tasks.

Stakeholders, on the other hand, may include clients, customers, or other individuals or groups with a vested interest in the project's outcome. Project leads must work closely with them to ensure that their needs and expectations are met throughout the project.

Reporting to upper management

Project leads are also tasked with communicating project progress, risks, and issues to upper management. They provide regular updates to keep the project on track and aligned with the organization's goals and objectives. They must also be able to clearly articulate the project's goals, progress, and any challenges that may arise. Recommendations will also be necessary to solve any potential issues that come up.


Project leads play a vital role in the success of projects within an organization. They coordinate and manage all aspects of a project, ensuring that it meets all goals and objectives while remaining within budget and on schedule. The importance of having skilled project leads cannot be overstated, and organizations that prioritize project lead roles will undoubtedly reap the benefits of successful projects.

Discover the critical role of a project lead in your organization and how Wrike can streamline their tasks. Try a Wrike free trial and empower your project leads to manage workflow and lead your team to success.

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Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

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