Characteristics of a Strong Project Manager
Finding the right project manager or project leader is not an easy task. It’s difficult enough to find the right project team profile, much less someone who can step up to the plate and lead a team to success. That's not to say that these individuals aren’t out there, but you need to sift carefully to ensure you’re putting the project into capable hands.
Characteristics of a strong project manager can be cross referenced with characteristics of most good employees if they have the basics, like communication and time management skills. However what’s the difference between a good project team member and a good project manager?
Thinking Outside of the Box
Good project managers are always thinking beyond the scope of the project. They are able to think far ahead and map out potential risks. They create and seek opportunities--whether for efficiency gains, increased team spirit, or cost reduction--to improve themselves, the team, the project or the outcome.
Know How to Say “NO" and Be Realistic
Strong project managers can say “NO." This is particularly applicable to potential scope creep, resource struggles or expectation management. Projects are not immune to power struggles and politics, and strong project managers not only have the technical skills, but the negotiation and soft skills that can protect the project and its members from political fallout. More often than not, project managers climb to where they are from technical backgrounds, and obtaining soft skills during their careers is a bonus. Though the scope can change throughout the project, they must be realistic in communicating deliverables and work closely with all parties to ensure transparency.
They Know the Project Inside and Out
At any time, a great project manager is able to give an update about the status of the project.They know percentage of completion, projected delivery dates, problems and the status of the problems (investigation, solution available, solution delivered, etc.), costs (to go or already spent) and other high level details. The expectation isn’t that they have it memorized, but they either know where to go to provide it immediately or readily have it on hand. This individual is aware and on top of the vitals of the project and can make educated and informed decisions when required.