Contract Managers vs Project Managers (How are these roles different?)

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In the world of business, the terms Project Manager and Contract Manager are often confused or used interchangeably. However, these two roles have distinct responsibilities and functions within an organisation. 

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between Project Managers and Contract Managers to provide clarity and help you differentiate between the two roles.

Project Managers

Project Managers are assigned to a project from the very beginning, taking charge of all aspects related to its successful completion. 

Their responsibilities include conducting feasibility studies, planning, budgeting, securing approvals (both internal and external), contract drafting, procurement, contract negotiations, and monitoring project performance.

Although Project Managers keep an eye on the contract, their primary focus is on the overall performance of the project. 

However, if no Contract Manager is appointed, the Project Manager may need to handle contract administration duties as well, essentially performing two roles at once.

Project Managers are often on-site and may act as the Client’s Representative or Superintendent of the Contract, ensuring that the project’s goals and objectives are met.

Regardless of any changes to individual contracts within the project, such as expiration or termination, Project Managers remain responsible for seeing the project through to its completion.

Contract Managers

Contract Managers enter the picture after a contract has been signed, with the primary responsibility of managing and ensuring compliance with the contract terms throughout the project’s execution.

They oversee the Contractor’s performance and their organization’s obligations under the contract, ensuring that all parties adhere to the agreed-upon terms.

While some people use the terms Contract Manager and Contract Administrator interchangeably, it is important to note that these are generally considered two separate roles. 

Contract Administrators typically focus on the administrative aspects of a contract, while Contract Managers have a broader, more strategic role in managing the entire contract process.

In some organisations, a Contract Manager may be appointed to manage contracts for multiple projects, while a Project Manager is usually dedicated to a single project due to the full-time workload it demands.


It is important to understand the distinctions between Project Managers and Contract Managers to ensure that each role is utilised effectively within an organisation. 

Keep in mind that the responsibilities and functions of these roles may vary across industries, organisations, and countries. 

Therefore, it is crucial to clarify any uncertainties within your specific context to fully leverage the capabilities of both Project Managers and Contract Manager.

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