Project Management

Habits of the Effective Project Manager

Gary Hamilton is a PgMP credentialed Program Manager with over 18 years of program management experience primarily in financial services and business transformation. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Plattsville teaching in the Program Management curriculum since 2013. He resides in North Carolina with his wife and when not working he is an avid hiker/runner.

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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