What Is the Difference Between Project Manager and Project Leader?

Quite often, the terms Project Manager and Project Leader are confused, and are thought to refer to the Project Manager. In reality, there are some differences between the Project Manager and the Project Leader:

  • The Project Leader is heavily involved technically in the project by coaching the project team, the Project Manager is involved in the project at a higher level, by giving directions (assigning tasks….).
  • The Project Leader is usually only responsible for one project (hence the time for dedicated attention and technical focus), the Project Manager can be responsible for many.
  • The Project Leader usually reports to the Project Manager, the Project Manager reports to upper management.

Note that in rare cases (e.g. very small companies) the Project Manager and the Project Leader can be the same person.

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