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Project Executive vs. Project Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A project executive and project manager are both responsible for ensuring the successful completion of a project. Though these roles share similarities, there are several key differences between them. In this article, we discuss the job duties, skills, and experience required for each position, as well as the average salaries earned in these roles. We also provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in project management.

What is a Project Executive?

A Project Executive is responsible for the successful completion of a project by providing overall direction, coordination, and leadership. They develop and implement project plans, ensuring that the project stays on schedule and within budget. They also provide guidance and support to project managers and other team members to ensure that the project is completed according to the specified scope. A Project Executive is typicallyinvolved in the project from start to finish, and they may also be responsible for managing multiple projects simultaneously.

What is a Project Manager?

A Project Manager is responsible for leading a project team and ensuring that all aspects of the project are completed on time, within budget and to the required quality standards. The Project Manager will work with the project sponsor to define the project scope and objectives, and then develop a detailed project plan. The Project Manager will be responsible for assigning tasks to project team members, monitoring progress against the project plan and taking corrective action where necessary. The Project Manager will also be responsible for communicating progress to the project sponsor and other stakeholders.

Project Executive vs. Project Manager

Here are the main differences between a project executive and a project manager.

Job Duties

Project executives oversee the entire project, but they don’t have daily responsibilities like regular employees. They’re responsible for making sure the project is successful and meets its goals. This means they might visit the job site or meet with clients to get feedback. Project executives make decisions about the budget, schedule and overall direction of the project.

In contrast, project managers are in charge of day-to-day operations. They work closely with team members to ensure each aspect of the project is completed on time and within budget. They monitor progress and communicate with stakeholders to keep everyone informed. In some organizations, project managers also serve as the main contact for clients.

Job Requirements

Project executives and project managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, engineering or another relevant field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many project executives and project managers pursue certifications through the Project Management Institute (PMI). These certifications teach professionals how to use project management software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Project executives typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients or attend meetings. They often have a more formal dress code than project managers and may wear business attire daily. Project executives usually spend their days in meetings, on the phone or reviewing reports.

Project managers can work in many different environments depending on the type of company they’re working for. Some companies hire project managers as freelancers who work from home while others hire them as full-time employees. Project managers may work in offices, construction sites or other locations where their projects are located. They may wear casual clothing like jeans and t-shirts when working on site.


The specific skills used on the job by project executives and project managers can differ depending on the company they work for and the industry they are in. However, there are some similarities and differences between the two roles.

Both project executives and project managers need to have strong leadership skills to be successful in their roles. Project executives typically need to be able to inspire and motivate teams to achieve results, while project managers need to be able to provide clear direction and guidance to teams to help them stay on track. Both roles also require excellent communication skills to be able to effectively communicate with team members, clients and other stakeholders.

Project executives often need to have a more strategic perspective than project managers. They need to be able to see the big picture and make decisions that will benefit the company as a whole. Project managers, on the other hand, need to be more focused on the details of the project. They need to be able to create and implement plans that will ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.


Project managers earn an average salary of $87,628 per year, while project executives earn an average salary of $124,477 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to taking the job.


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