What Makes a Good Project Manager?

By Nicholas Burton | April 10, 2015

*Article first appeared on the ERP Software Blog

It takes a special kind of person to want to step up or into a role that has the potential for high stress. But there are those of us who do want to see a project come to fruition and be able to “take it over the line” and get one “under our belt” with a successful Go-Live. So who are these people?

To tell you the truth, good project managers are closet DIY junkies who look for a fix by entering someone else’s world and attempting to make it structured, capable, organized, and eventually successful, whatever condition of the project may be in. What are the qualities of these people you ask and does YOUR project manager have the right stuff?

Some of the qualities necessary for a successful Project Manager:

1. Assertiveness – You must be able to feel comfortable asking the hard questions whether discussing a budget item, a missed or understated timeline or an unprofessional customer or colleague. Think of it as having crucial conversations.

2. Discipline – there are tools that help with being disciplined but at the end of the day, it is all you. Keeping up with the details, setting time constraints, following through, and always maintaining a consistent “can do” attitude; these are the pillars to managing a project.

3. Communication – To me, good communication is one of the top qualities necessary to be a successful anybody. You have to be able to convey, sometimes in many languages (from tone of voice, body and written), what is required to accomplish the task. This could be in a small group or team environment or at an Executive level board meeting. You have to project confidence and understanding of the project, issue or concern.

4. Acute Awareness -  You must be aware of where your project is at all times. You may not have the luxury of a single project and may be working on multiple. Focus is everything and staying ahead is the name of the game. Whether that is in reference to risks, timelines, tasks and reporting, all items that need follow-up and motivation.

5. Planning – Give yourself and your customer the right amount of time each week. You always need to cover the deadlines but don’t put yourself in a position where you are always playing catch up. Too many late nights and not enough sleep makes a Project Manager become the unemployed Project Manager.  Take the time to gather your thoughts each week and think through the next couple of weeks. You cannot prepare enough.

6. Team Building – There is no “i” in team. Enough said.

Check out more tips that have helped our team to succeed and I hope that will offer additional insight into your pursuit of outstanding Project Management. Here’s to your success!

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