So what does it take to be a great Project Manager?

Managing projects can be a complex and difficult task. So what is it that allows great Project Managers to build reputations people that will deliver results on time and within budget?

After discussions with a number of successful and senior Project Managers recently, there is a general agreement on the key attributes that successful project managers possess.

1) They understand the business! They have the patience and communication skills to listen to the key stakeholders and understand what the business is trying to achieve from the project. There is no point in delivering a product or service that will not fit the requirements of the organisation.

2) They are Problem solvers! Projects can vary in size and complexity and it is important that project managers are able to think outside the box to come up with solutions to overcome obstacles.

3) Flexibility! Some projects can change on almost a daily basis and thus, project managers need to be flexible when approaching a project. Project management methodologies are a great way to set the direction for the project but they are not strict procedures. Project Managers must have the flexibility to alter their approach to overcome any obstacles that arise.

4) They are delivery focussed! The reputations of project managers are made or broken on their ability to successfully deliver outcomes to the business. It is imperative that project managers liaise with key stakeholders to set the desired outcomes and do everything they can to achieve them!

5) Outstanding communication and leadership skills! Project managers must be able to engage with key stakeholders to get support from senior management. They also must be able to bring out the best in their teams. This means supporting and delegating to team members to make the most of project resources.

6) Ownership!! Project managers have to take complete ownership of their projects and have the drive and passion to do everything they can to ensure that the outcomes are achieved within time, budget and resource constraints. This is where project managers build their reputations as someone who will get the job done!

Do you have what it takes to be a great Project Manager? With so many large projects kicking off, the industry is booming in South East Queensland. It is certainly an exciting time to be involved in project management!!

Advertisements

Project Management – Challenges galore!!

What makes managing projects such a complex and challenging job? Projects can vary substantially in how difficult they are to successfully deliver, hence, the importance of the Project Manager understanding the organisation, the stakeholders, the time frame, the budget, the history and the outcomes required from the project.

Upon joining the project team, whether the project is at inception or already in progress, there are a number of things that Project Managers must do to set the groundwork for successful outcomes.

Firstly, they have to consult with the key stakeholders to best understand what outcomes are required from the project.

Secondly, the scope of the project needs to be agreed (including time frames, milestones, budget) as well as the most effective approach to achieve the desired outcomes. Project management methodologies such as Prince 2 will assist in setting the direction of what approach will be taken. Methodologies, however, are not strict procedures, they are simply there to facilitate the deliverables of the project.

Finally, it is important that Project Managers understand the environment and unwritten ground rules. This can take the form of policy and procedures that must be followed as well as the key stakeholders within and outside of the organisation. This can be particularly important within the government sector as many protocols differ from that of the private sector.

So what makes a project challenging for a Project Manager? Almost always, this will revolve around people, egos and agendas! Bringing team members together to form an effective team, gaining support and working with key stakeholders as well as dealing with processes and protocols. Therefore, it is imperative that Project Managers have excellent influencing, leadership, communication and negotiation skills as well as the ability to engage with people across all levels of the organisation.

Speaking to a Project Director recently, his most challenging project had revolved around coordinating the expectations of people at a variety of levels both externally and internally. Managing teams, stakeholders and multiple vendors is never easy task, but that is what separates the great Project Managers from the rest and a demonstrated track record in this respect is what organisations look for when recruiting.

So what makes a good Project Manager? Look out for next week’s edition when I discuss the attributes of great Project Managers and what allows them to deliver successful projects!