What Is a Quality Project Manager?

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

The Project Management Institute defines quality as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.”

“Inherent” is defined as something that is considered permanent or inseparable; and a “characteristic” is a feature belonging to a person, place or thing.

I chuckled when I was researching the word definitions and a writer made reference to the unique smell of cooked cabbage as an example of an inherent characteristic.

My search did make me pause, however, and think of a conversation I once had with a client when they described their need for a “quality project manager.” Like so many references to quality, I felt he and I may have a different definition. I asked for examples of how he would measure the quality of the ideal candidate. After a lengthy discussion, we distilled his definition to the following three requirements

  1. Flexible
    1. Able to work in a fast-paced environment where client demands change frequently
    2. Not committed to a set format for planning and managing projects
    3. Able to scale a project plan to individual projects despite the service being provided being fairly standard
  2. Great communications skills
    1. Able to adjust written and oral communications to various audiences
    2. Focused; keep the message brief and to the point
    3. Flexible (this kept coming up)…

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