The Good PM

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and project manager living and working in London. She run The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specializing in project management.

Every project manager wants to be good at it. But when our profession can’t reach consensus on what constitutes “good,” it’s difficult to identify the most important skills we should be developing. In reality, there is no one perfect PM competency package. Recognizing that fact, and playing to your own set of strengths, is a skill in itself.

You know what makes a good project manager, don’t you? It’s someone like you, or your mentor — someone who delivers excellent projects, manages their communications well, respects their team and is respected, and is always professional. Well, if it were that easy to define what we mean by a good project manager, trainers and researchers wouldn’t have been proposing (and disagreeing about) what skills project managers need for as long as project managers have been pouring over Gantt charts.
Take, for example, Lynn Crawford, who studied what senior managers thought made effective project managers and concluded they needed to work in IT or telecommunications, be great at managing ambiguity, and concentrate on controlling costs and time … or D. R. Moore et al who published research saying that good project managers are achievement-orientated, able to work on their own initiative, and analytical … or the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, which studied U.S. government projects and concluded that …

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"Managing senior programmers is like herding cats."

- D. Platt