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Traits of a Great Project Manager

The title “Project Manager” is used frequently across the Engineering disciplines.  Unlike a Professional Engineering licence, the title is an un-regulated one and most anyone can assume the role.  In light of this the Project Management Institute (PMI) aims to set a high standard with its Project Management Professional (PMP) designation.  The requirements are difficult to achieve and serve only to demonstrate that a particular individual has experience and training in the area.  The question remains:  What does one look for in a great project manager?

In my opinion great project managers all share the following:

  1. Not Overly Reliant on Technology

    The web is full of handy programs and apps designed to make Project Management simple for everyone.  The average Project Manager likely uses 3 – 4 or more programs in an attempt to cover every angle or facet.  In addition, this roster of programs likely changes throughout the year.  Great Project Managers have mastered the material and, through practice, have refined their approach to no more than two programs or, in some cases, have developed their own tools.  Year to year the tools may change slightly but the core approach remains the same.  In short Great Project Managers approach their work with a lean set of tools which in turn makes for the most effective projects.

  2. Positive Attitude

    Nothing can frustrate a project more or easier than negative attitudes.  While this is impossible to avoid, we are all human after all, the Great Project Managers approach each project and every day therein with a positive attitude.  As the overall leader its imperative that a good example be set for the entire team.  A sour approach yields sour results.

  3. Calm and Relaxed Approach

    Great Project Managers carry themselves in a relaxed and composed fashion at all times.  They are not panicked as, ultimately, it is their job to ensure that plans are in place and that the entire team is working productively toward the goals.  An individual who is frequently distressed will bring about the same behaviour on their team.  Unfocused teams have a very difficult time achieving their goals.

  4. Knowledgeable in Their Field

    While it can be said that any PMI-trained Project Manager can take on any project in any field it does help to have experience.  The Greatest Project Managers are applied to a specific field or industry and build upon similar past projects to enhance their skills.

  5. PMP Designation

    Great Project Managers are typically trained and certified PMPs by  PMI.  The designation demonstrates a valuable dedication to field as it is not easily obtained, nor maintained.  A certified PMP must remain an active learner in order to maintain their certification.

Involving a Project Manager in your project is always a good decision.  On the whole a “Project Manager” should bring additional focus to the project and heighten the odds of it being a success.  The Great Project Managers share traits that increase the likelihood of a project being delivered on time, on budget and within scope.