One crucial trait for a project manager to have is the ability to see the final goal and relentlessly impel the project towards it. A good PM must operate with a sense of urgency.
He or she must see the bigger picture and anticipate possible outcomes, so that setbacks, rather than hampering a project, become just curves in the road.
A project manager must own the project. A strong PM needs an entrepreneurial spirit, and an ethos of service. He or she must understand what drives the client and develop a passion for the client’s long-term business vision. More than anything else, that passion will fuel a PM’s sense of urgency.
A second key trait for a good project manager is a built-in sense of organization. When you walk into a PM’s office, you want to feel that person has a plan and is working it–that he or she has things under control. You want to see well-managed to-do lists, meeting schedules, and file systems. You want to feel that he or she not only can deal with a crisis, but knows how to stay out of one.
Urgency and organization: In this economic climate, they are what you need to deliver projects on time, and on the money. If you can find someone with these traits, you’ve likely found a good project manager. But where will you find these traits?
The problem is, you can’t train them. They have to come naturally — so look for the signs. When recruiting, seek prospects who have competed in sports, on debating teams, even in bands. And find people who have served in their communities, churches, or schools. Project managers serve their clients’ needs and dreams. Make sure they fit the role.
Ask a prospect to show you how he or she plans a project. Does the person have experience in planning communications, risk management, personnel roles, and schedules? Will he or she be able to tell you if the project is on budget? In truth, a project is nothing but one series of crises after another. You want an organized, motivated, inspired PM to answer the call
Looking for more PM tips: PSMJ’s A/E/C Project Management Bootcampprovides PMs with knowledge and tools that they need to perform better, more efficiently, and with greater attention to client service.
For more project management tips, checkout these PSMJ blog posts: