Habits of the Effective Project Manager

PMI East Tennessee Chapter

Gary is an experienced project and program professional, and an avid contributor and volunteer with the Project Management Institute.

Over the years, much has been written about project managers and the skills, experiences, characteristics and aptitudes that make some stand out from the crowd. While one optimal mix of attributes does not transcend every organization any project manager may work in, are there personal behaviors beyond core PM skills of risk, scope and schedule management that further differentiate exceptional PMs?

It is my contention that the answer to this question is yes. The following article is based on personal experience, as well as research on the habits most often seen in superior project managers. However, keep in mind that the lack of any one of the following does not indicate poor performance, and that any of these personal attributes can—with a certain amount of effort—be cultivated. Also, this is not an exhaustive list; I have only included lessons that I and many experts feel are particularly relevant and essential.

Habit 1: Focus on process
It’s a given that issues will arise over the course of a project, which is not necessarily indicative of ineffective project management. After all, since Murphy’s law will always be in effect, projects most times pass through levels of uncertainty. When issues do arise, the most effective project managers focus on the process, not people or any other factors that may be involved. This implies doing more than the…

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