Monday, March 5, 2012

What Makes a Great Project Manager Great

There's no doubt that having an understanding of project management methodologies, from Agile to Waterfall, is important to the development of any project manager. But these methodologies are not what make a project manager (PM) great. If you think back to the stellar PM's you've met, most likely they had some beguiling combination of problem solving skills, organization, confidence, and an unwavering can-do attitude. They may even have a host of credentials. But being a great PM often has less to do with your resume and more to do with your ability to be a coach.

Great PM's know that the optimism and morale of your team is crucial. When problems arise, it's you as the leader who cannot waver in your positivity. You also need to understand each team member's strengths in order to align duties with resources that best ensure success. Know who your star quarterback is. Know who your linemen are. Know who your waterboy is. Give each team member a voice. And always, always back up your team to the client.

Great PM's are a champion for the business. Technical team members tend to be wrapped up in day-to-day technical minutia, but lack contextual business understanding. Great PM's constantly ensure that their team members know why they are doing what they are doing.

Great PM's aren't fancy. Overly complex tactical status reports with obsessively color coded cells very rarely will help your team really shine to the client. Great PM's are direct communicators, active listeners, and can break down the scariest problems into simple, manageable chunks for their team. And they do it calmly.

If you're looking for business-focused project management services infused with just the right amount of process, and you don't know where to start, we can help. You can contact Idea Entity's team of "coaches" at

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your first point the most. Great project managers should always prioritize in supporting his team first and know them well by analyzing and recognizing their strengths and weaknesses. That way, he would know what to assign each team member and which approach to use towards the project to produce a better output. It would also be helpful if the project manager motivates and recognizes his team members for a job well done.

    Valencia Paz