What makes a Great Project Manager?

Project management as a profession has been around for many years now. Organizations take so much effort and spend a lot in project manager certifications and training.  Still there are few things that cannot be taught in a training room.

Either you have them naturally or learn it in the school of hard knocks.
Below is our list of the top 8 attributes / characteristics that could make a great project manager.
Complete the dots – Project managers always work with limited set of information. They need to make decisions often based on what information they have and the situation and cannot wait for the complete analysis to happen and picture to emerge. The ability to anticipate how things will turn – completing the dots when things are hazy –  ensures that risks are realized well in advance and mitigated.

Set clear direction – Great project managers set clear goals for their teams – especially in the times when there are several challenges. The teams have a clear picture of what is expected enabling them to focus and deliver that.

Excellent communicators – Communication is key and the way to talk is only a smart part of it. Great project managers know how to address the right things in the right way for their audience based on the context. They more often than not use multiple modes of communication – email, phone calls, meetings, status reports and so on to engage their stakeholders in a positive way.

Adaptable – They are not hardliners and willing to consider change in the scheme of things if its in the best interest of the project. They use common sense and are more sensitive and aware about the real situation on the ground. They have the aerial view but also have the foot soldier view at the same time giving them ability to take logical and pragmatic decisions to resolve deadlocks and complex bottlenecks.

Instill collaboration and team spirit – They are able to cut across the barriers between departments and people  and create a spirit of collaboration and team within the project .  The spirit of collaboration and the team bonding induces a positive atmosphere in the project motivating the teams to strive to succeed despite the challenges that could be.

Organized – Last but not the least, they are organized themselves. They are able to stay focused and not lose sight of the goal in the flurry of information and issues that are so typical for a project manager. They are able to prioritize and go for the challenges in a methodical and organized way.

Influence without Authority – Project teams are more often than not matrix based and the project manager needs to work with several stakeholders over whom he may not have direct authority. The ability to influence these stakeholders and align them with the project needs and strategic direction is a key differentiator. 

Practical and Good Decision makers – They are realists and aware that not all problems will be solved. With the ability to complete the dots, they are able to decide much faster when its time to look for alternatives.

Not a exhaustive list but have these and increase your chances to deliver your project successfully.

Be the winner !!!

Image credits

Image on slide downloaded from http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=11690471 and licensed under Creative commons
Project manager image from www.123rf.com . Licensed to www.managingtheproject.com

Hrishikesh Karekar

Hrishikesh is an enterprise agile coach with interests in varied disciplines. Frequently writing on Agile and Lean related topics, he also occasionally ventures into other stuff like Artificial Intelligence as well..