Do you have a PM personality?

Do certain personality traits or types translate into more effective project managers?

People skills


When you’re working on a project, it’s always involves teams, sets of teams, or in the very least significant interaction with a wide variety of people.  Some personality traits which lend themselves to effective project management include persuading, instructing, and negotiating, among others.  In essence, they can be rolled into two fundamental buckets — communication and interpersonal skills.  The constant interaction with team members and interface with leadership requires a superior level of communication and ability to tailor messages depending on the audience.  Additionally, while some view people skills in the form of a hierarchy, none of these elements can be effectively leveraged without some level of interpersonal skills and accompanying emotional intelligence.

Data Skills


Project managers are typically the fulcrum or pivot point for information flow.  Sponsors, assigned team members, and even general stakeholders tend to rely on project managers to be the center piece of project insights.  Accordingly, project managers benefit tremendously from data manipulation skills and strong data management techniques.  These skills can certainly be acquired through training, education, and experience, however a natural inclination toward compiling complex data sets to identify trends is a huge asset for any PM.  The foundation of data skills in the interest of optimizing PM performance starts with establishing comparisons, and funnels into the end state — synthesis or extraction of key components requiring a response.

Process / Technology Skills


In addition to working with people and data extensively, the final personality element geared to paying huge dividends to any PM includes process and technology skills.  As projects have ever-ranging variance in scope, type, available spend, resources, flexibility and adaptability to new processes or technology are critical.  Quickly grasping new methods or adapting to existing yet unfamiliar practices enables project manager to effectively lead and communicate throughout a given initiative.  Tendencies to acclimate rapidly prove extremely valuable, and can greatly enhance any PM’s initiation, planning, execution, monitoring / controlling, and closure process group expertise.

Do you agree with the impact the aforementioned skills can have on PM’s abilities?  Are there additional skills that may also provide utility?


Resources, Time, $$$, Project Portfolio Selection Oh My!

Project Portfolio Management!  Talk about complexity!


If you think managing a program or a collection of related projects can be complex, imagine contending with a series of programs that are not necessarily related!

Portfolios can consistent of dozens of projects, varying in levels of size and scope.  This blog offers a few tips to simplify the inherent challenges associated with selecting projects for a given portfolio.

Tip 1 – Strategy Always

If a project does not directly or clearly support at least one of an organization’s strategic objectives, take it off the table.  This is my favorite tip, as it’s by far the most straight-forward.  As you and your colleagues evaluate the laundry list of project needs complete with robust business cases, challenge the team to think hard about its relationship to a firm’s strategy.  No clear tie = no approval = removal from the planned portfolio.

Tip 2 – Organize the Info

While a tool or system may have tons of unique features to aggregate requirements to rank or prioritize potential projects, the most important aspect is…have a tool or system!  Some mechanism, any mechanism whether an Excel file, portfolio management software, or web-based application is essential to discerning projects’ perceived values and ROI.  Since you know you won’t have enough time, resources, or money to complete all the projects, at a minimum the tool should capture those key elements and the potential project’s end value.  Ultimately, leveraging a tool is critical to understanding how and where your limited assets should be allocated to further the organizations short or long term goals.

Tip 3 – Capture Intentions

Despite best efforts, there are occasions where projects just don’t reap the expected benefits.  As it turns out, people don’t set out to fail or break things.  Somewhere, a rationale, a logic or value system should be recorded in the event things don’t work out as expected.  Many organizations will focus on “lessons learned” to avoid the same future mistakes — which is a truly wonderful practice.  However, with portfolios, I recommend going one step further and analyze the considerations that green-lighted the underperforming project.  Discuss and vet the considerations, and make improvements to the tool and decision matrices incorporated into your project selection.

I hope these simple tips provide a bit of advice as you navigate through the giant world of portfolio management — happy project picking!!!

Al p.