What Makes a Good Project Manager?

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Categories: Leadership, PMI

I think the mark of a good project manager starts with how they manage projects.

In April, the Institute of Taiwanese Project Management gave out its first 10 Outstanding Chinese Project Managers awards. The winners and candidates were examples of what defines a good project manager.
In general, most of the project managers who caught the selection board's attention managed efforts that were:

•    Completed within budget and on time, sticking to their scope and quality
•    In line with the client company's business objectives or ambitions
•    A benefit to the economy, society or local community

Good project managers also have commitment and determination -- a common characteristic of the 10 award winners. Their background, education and work history all showed they were individuals who, when they committed to doing something, would do all that was possible to get the work completed, even when others wanted to give up.

I also realized during the award-selection process that good project managers are a driving force in our society. Their constant, ongoing completion of projects keeps our economy active and competitive.

Whether these are large telecom projects (such as the installation of China's countrywide broadband network) or smaller ecology projects (such as reducing the carbon emissions of homes or businesses), the project managers leading these efforts are all doing important work that improves our society and our economy.

It is only through their planning, execution and management skills, as well as their commitment and determination, that any project can be completed efficiently and effectively.

If you know excellent project managers who deserve to be recognized, consider nominating them in next year's PMI Professional Awards.

To all you project managers silently toiling away -- possibly thinking "these awards have nothing to do with me!" -- I would like to praise your work: You are the real driving force in society. Never underestimate how important your contribution is!
Posted by Lung-Hung Chou on: May 26, 2010 06:11 PM | Permalink

Comments (35)

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Ashok Kumar
Great voice on PM

khadija maizi
Very nice post.

I think that a good project manager is not only someone who manages the project within budget and with respect to the deadline, quality required and objectives, but someone who masters people management as well.

Depending on the cultural environment, it’s vital to know how to manage your team and build the right vision that allows the project success and the achievement of the objectives.

Allan Neill
Thanks for the words of encouragement and recognizing the contribution PMs make in our world.

Great project managers are always characterized by how well they manage changes within a project life cycle. A project will never be able to meet all the three constraints, as stakeholder needs and wants are have their own influence.

Prekimi Tawari
Roger Chou identified some of the major reasons for the success of the project managers and their selection for awards. Another contributing factor might be the skills of the project managers to build cohesive and effective teams that enabled team members to perform their tasks.

I do not believe that delivery within scope and budget is necessarily a prerequisite for a good project manager. As an example, I have witnessed an organization that utilizes one of their best as a troubleshooter who is tasked with being inserted into troubled programs and projects in order to complete the task with minimal damage to all stakeholders.

This person is able to perform miracles with the client, the customer and the organization; is capable of tackling the most difficult of tasks on any project anywhere on the planet; and is one of the best in the business. This person, however, is never associated with a project that is delivered within scope, budget or stakeholder objectives.

It is valid if the project manager is fortunate enough to be involved from the very concept and remains until the bitter end, however, this is not usually the case in many projects.

Pradeep Chakkingal
I think IT project management is a different kind of project management compared to others. Here, the team is most important and the toughest to handle. Hence it is challenging to tackle the constraints right away. A project is finished under the budget and before time within the scope, and quality always creates a jubilant mood in the IT sector.

Donald Cunningham
I think a good project manager has good management and interpersonal skills. These skills are very important to the success of any project.

Project managers also need to be flexible and have a willingness to adapt.

Don Schacker
When things go badly, how can you be sure that the project plan is at fault and not the execution of the plan?

Ken Farnes
I think you missed one of the most important points - a good project manager is FIRST a good (business) manager and exhibits good (business) management skills and competencies in an uncertain environment.

Their domain of expertise just happens to be in the project management disciplines and not in HR or Finance or another business or technical discipline, which by the way, they may also be skilled at. The "higher" you go in managing projects, the more important the business skills are.

I believe the project manager should: Understand the value in it to be able to juggle with the classic project management constraints; build a cohesive team; understand the value of information to clear up and navigate large strings of communication channels; display an attitude of respect toward the client delivering what was requested on time, within quality and within budget terms.

Srinivas Tatikonda
Nice post. Strongly agree that a successful project manager impacts success, directly to his engagements, and indirectly to the entire society.

Doris E. Torres
The management of the people is very important. The Project Manager should have this skill or gift for to conduce a team with different ideas.

I agree with the characteristics that contribute to being a successful project manager. Certainly great leadership skills, the ability to keep teams motivated to complete projects and keeping the customers happy are of vital importance too.

I concur with Ken Farnes's June 12, 2010 12:17 AM view. A PM's best asset is his business management skills and competencies in an uncertain environment. Because a project is unique, you will all understand with me that how he integrates business with his environment matters. Understanding the stakeholders involved in the project and making sure he understands each of their requirements.

Thato Matsio
I think a good project manager is someone with a never say die attitude, who is able to engage with every level of stakeholders, good strategic and business skills.

I believe successful Project Managers are
1. Wide minded with wide thought process irrespective of senior or junior
2. Dynamic in nature i.e ready to accept changes
3. Good by heart and
4. Good in communication across the managerial levels

Jay P. Patel
Good Project Managers must have not only good managerial skills but good leadership skills are needed. This includes communication, interpersonal and motivational skills. Leading skills also need passion and ability to work with all levels and types of people.

Pranav Kumar
Good Article on Project Manager

Dr.Ahmad Al-Ani , MD,PMP,CPHIMS
I think these awards were given based on the symptoms of good project management or the outcomes of it, which is logical and rational I must say. But, what made these projects succeed is the real characteristics of a good PM. The award winners might have good sponsorship support, lucky to face less risks, understanding and cooperative stakeholders, but all these are external factors, what about the project manager him/herself, what makes him/her a good or a great one.

From my humble experience, and since most of the PM work depends mostly on soft skills, leadership and communications, I could say that one of the greatest attributes of a great PM is patience, Yes, because ultimately you are dealing with all types of people, and many people are hard!

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