What makes a good project manager?

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Everybody has a different view and expectation of a project manager. I have met many people in the past, and I am sure that I will in the future, that ‘have done’ project management, and there appears to be a clear misunderstand of what a good project manager delivers within their services.

1. Project scope – As obvious this may be, the question here is: what is the vision of the scope? What tangible items will tick the box of 'project completed' are to be deeply understood. We, as project managers, need to make sure that our stakeholders understand the reason behind the project and key delivery points not making assumptions. This will enhance the relationship and communication with them when issues arise.

2. Programme management – A strong project manager should be bringing a realistic, user friendly, readable and deliverable programme. A place where all stakeholders, inc. all levels of engagement, can understand each dependency. Re-baselining? Yes it may come to this, but it is not a mitigation strategy.

3. Finance – This is an easy blame game in my experience. The project was late because we didn’t have the funds. A good project manager should know their finance down to the ‘pound’, I work mine in penny’s and adapt dependent on the audience. Which leads us nicely to commercial and procurement…Don’t rely on your procurement team 100%, know your contractor. A good project manager will manage them, so evaluate tenders realistically not to what people want to see, cheap is not always cheerful.

4. Documentation – To know your project is to understand the nuts and bolts. Make sure that includes your filing being up-to-date, it is much easier to control if it is user friendly and accessible instead of elsewhere. Ultimately these tools enable our teams to keep the project moving no matter what.

5. Development – Your team is so important! Make sure that not only are you developing the project and delivering positive change your team is learning and engaged. Don’t just delegate to your team tedious tasks, understand what they want to achieve and learn, it may take the extra effort but keeping your team excited will increase productivity as their interest and engagement levels are at a high. The next person you hire or develop should be able to do your job within the year (up to) so you can move on to bigger, more exciting challenges!

Risk, quality and stakeholder management too are all basic key elements of being a project manager.

As any other resource in the team, including the project manager, there are key engagement attributes to monitor across the programme; passion, boldness and the drive to take responsibility should be at the heart of all projects to enhance a positive change in the business and community around it.

What do you think makes a good project manager and how has this had a positive impact on your delivery?

 

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Posted by Helen Williams on 18th Nov 2016

About the Author

Having broad industry knowledge from infrastructure to manufacturing, I have encountered several "aha" moments where simplicity and nurturing of complex/uncertain environments results in improved relationships, cost savings and servicing efficiencies. 

My mission? To inspire agile methodology around the globe and build strong relationships that provide us with successful business transformation.

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