It is always good to groom talent internally to fill vacant positions in the company. It saves cost, effort and time -- all the important aspects of a successful project.
I like to think of grooming a project team member as another project.
To ensure that 'project' is successful, a project manager should look for possible candidates that match certain characteristics. In my opinion, the following are among the characteristics a manager should look for in potential project managers (in no particular order):
A project manager must be able to communicate effectively. Friendliness is a good trait to have because more often than not, a friendly person is able to get information from the least communicative person.
2. Willingness to learn
Learning happens all the time in managing projects. Even the most seasoned project managers still learn something new from each new project.
A project manager must be focused in seeing a project through until it is completed -- or halted. He or she must have a clear vision to be able to steer the project team to fulfill the project goals.
And this doesn't mean the project manager's workstation. The information that the project manager shares must be organized and structured to ensure clarity and understanding to the recipients.
In a project, conflicts will arise -- even from something as minor as a missing network cable, for example. A project manager must be able to act objectively, as a mediator and be able see the whole picture.
When making decisions or providing direction, a project manager needs to be firm. Not every decision will be popular. Resistance may occur, but the project manager must stick to her or his ground.
This, by no means, is an exhaustive list of characteristics that a project management protégé must have. But I do believe these are the fundamental criteria that a project manager should possess to be effective and successful.
What criteria do you look for in a project team member when grooming him or her to be a project manager? What other characteristics do you feel are important for someone who wants to be a project manager?