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Project Manager vs Administrative Assistant vs Chief of Staff in Small Business

Primary Role:

Project Manager: Leads and manages specific projects

Administrative Assistant: Provides administrative support and manages office operations

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Similar to Startup Chief of Staff, but in a smaller business context

Reporting Relationship:

Project Manager: Reports to a project sponsor or senior manager

Administrative Assistant: Reports to a manager or department head

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Reports to the business owner or CEO

Scope of Responsibilities:

Project Manager: Oversees project lifecycle from initiation to closure

Administrative Assistant: Manages administrative tasks, office systems, and procedures

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Broad, tailored to the needs of a small business

Decision-Making Authority:

Project Manager: Decision-making within the scope of the project

Administrative Assistant: Limited to administrative decisions and office management

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Significant, especially in strategic and operational decisions

Strategic Planning:

Project Manager: Involved in planning project strategy and objectives

Administrative Assistant: Limited involvement, mainly operational planning

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Active in shaping and executing business strategy

Team Management:

Project Manager: Manages project teams

Administrative Assistant: May manage or oversee other administrative staff

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Manages or coordinates with small business teams

Meeting Involvement:

Project Manager: Leads project meetings, coordinates team communication

Administrative Assistant: Organizing and facilitating meetings, managing logistics

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Active in business meetings, contributing to decisions

Project Management:

Project Manager: Responsible for complete project management

Administrative Assistant: May handle small-scale projects or events

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Leads key business projects and initiatives


Project Manager: Communicates project updates and liaises with stakeholders

Administrative Assistant: Handles correspondence and communication management

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Acts as a key communicator for the small business

Professional Development:

Project Manager: Focuses on project management skills and methodologies

Administrative Assistant: Develops organizational and administrative skills

Chief of Staff in Small Business: Develops skills in managing a small business environment

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