Appraising Project Manager Performance

Stephen currently works in commissioning projects in the oil and gas industry.

In this article, I'm going to give you some practical guidelines on how to appraise the ability and competence of project managers. It uses a few well-tested methods, brought together in a novel and easy-to-use combination.

Management by Objectives
There was a leap in the practice of business management in 1954 when Peter Drucker published his book The Practice of Management and introduced the idea of “management by objectives.” The technique has been refined over the years, but still remains powerful in its basic form.

I have spent 30 years in most countries across the world—and in practically every industry—training and appraising project managers. Commercially, it's important to know the cost effectiveness of training. When I first started considering how to appraise project managers, it seemed to me that we could just measure how well their projects were executed relative to the plan. Did they do what they set out to do, at the right time and within budget?

I quickly realized how naïve this was since so many factors that determine this measure are out of the control of the project manager. They might literally have been lucky or unlucky.

This year, it's the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, which were very dramatic and public projects from which many lessons can be learned. One of the pertinent ones was Apollo 13, …


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"When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us."

- Alexander Graham Bell

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