Attributes that make a Project Manager successful?

According to this article, successful project managers are those who can deliver their projects on time, within budget, meet or exceed the stakeholders’ expectations and who can successfully supervise the project. These kinds of managers know how to bring together all the stakeholders in the project, and lead the team to meet its goals. In addition, they know that leadership and people skills are an important attribute. If the project manager doesn’t understand the stakeholders, even if they deliver within budget they may not be meeting their client’s needs. Below are a list of attributes the author suggests a project manager should have in order to be successful.

1. Set a Clear Vision
Project managers should have a clear vision of the direction they are heading; commit to this vision and find ways of achieving it.

2. Be Organized
Organization is an important characteristic of a great project manager. He/she needs to prioritize the work for their team, stay focused on the big picture, and stay in control of the project at all times.

3. Be Honest and Reliable
Project managers should mean what they say; fulfill their promises, and hold team members accountable. By doing so, the team will respect the manager’s integrity.

4. Become a Natural Leader
Project managers should be optimistic leaders who are highly valued by their company. They should have the ability to influence and interact with stakeholders, and the ability to improve their team’s performance by encouraging participation so they can reach their milestones.

5. Be a Good Communicator
The project manager should have a clear vision of the project before they communicate so they can explain it in a simple way and it can be understood. They should be able to listen to the client, and prepare a plan to achieve their goals. He/she can use emails, reports, and meetings to effectively share their ideas, make decisions and bring resolution.

6. Understand Business Strategy
A project manager should understand their company’s strategy, and see how his/her project aligns with the overall strategy. He/she should be able to look beyond the skills needed to manage projects and understand the company’s business.

7. Be Pragmatic
A project manager should be flexible, and be able to meet deadlines and budgets when things do not go as planned. They should share their experience with others on how they were able to overcome obstacles with the resources they had.

8. Have Enthusiasm
The project manager should demonstrate confidence in their team, and provide an encouraging environment. He/she should trust their team, and provide the support necessary for them to succeed.

9. Be Empathetic
A good project manager needs to understand the stakeholders concerns about a project and address them. By understanding what motivates their stakeholders they will be able to influence others to complete the job.

The author states several attributes of a good project manager. Are there any additional attributes you feel a project manager should have?



Tips for Project Management Success

In our project management course we have discussed the use of a Work Breakdown Structure and a Responsibility Matrix in order to assist us in effectively managing a project. We also need to keep in mind that there are other tools that one acquires outside of a classroom. The author in the article below shares several secrets to project management success. I have listed a few of them with my thoughts.

1. Have full project details before starting.
Understand the scope of the project, and make sure all the stakeholders agree. The project details should contain dates, budget information, and milestones. I have worked on projects that didn’t contain the budget information, and then I was told that we have spent more than we were supposed to.

2. Have the right size project management team in place.
Once you know what the project details are, determine the skills and experience that is necessary, and then select the people you will need. I feel that if you only need 4 people for example, than only select the 4 people you need. Selecting more people then needed will add more work because the project manager now needs to manage a larger group.

3. Be clear about who is responsible for what.
Determine who in the team is responsible for which part of the project, and make sure they are accountable. This step is critical because the project manager and the team need to know what everyone is working on, and what everyone will deliver on the due date.

4. Don’t micromanage.
It’s okay to meet regularly with your team members, but allow them space to work. I have seen this too many times; where a manager doesn’t give his/her employee the space needed to work. What this causes is resentment, and your team may challenge your leadership.

5. Keep team members motivated by rewarding them when milestones are reached.
It is a good idea to motivate and recognize members of your team with some kind of reward. I have worked on projects where the manager has awarded their teams with a lunch or outing during certain milestones.

6. Hold regular project status meetings or calls, but keep them short.
Meetings or conference calls should be scheduled regularly so everyone is up to date on the project’s status. In my experience, meetings need to be long enough to discuss the status, and any open issues that need to be addressed. They don’t need to be too long.

7. Build in time for changes.
Allow time for last minute changes that may need to be made to your project if the specifications change or requests are made. Based on my experience as an engineer, almost all projects always need that extra time to address last minute requirements.

The author states several good tips that I agree with.  Are there any additional tips that you can share that may help one be successful at managing projects?