Consider this: two projects are in trouble; one team bring their project to a successful conclusion; the other team fails. What’s the difference between the two of them? Leaving aside the variables, the difference may well be the personality traits of the project managers in charge. Here are five personal attributes that might make one project manager and team more successful than the other. Let us know your five; we’d like to hear them.
1. Great communication skills. One of the early symptoms of project failure is poor communication. This can create misconceptions about the state of the project, unrealistic expectations, confusion about objectives and budgets and mistrust. Whilst a well-thought out communication management strategy (of the sort one finds in PRINCE2®) goes some way to preventing such problems, project managers must be good communicators in themselves, able to question, explain, share, encourage, listen and support.
2. Flexibility and adaptability. As any project manager will tell you, all projects are about bringing about change, and all projects are different. Wherever there is change, there’s the chance that costs will rise, schedules will slip, and that any number of other things will go wrong. Where projects are different, there’s the risk that the differences will be ignored. This is when good project managers show their mettle. They show the team that they have a character that is flexible enough to handle any changes that may come their way and adaptable enough to tailor their normal method to suit the project in hand.
3. Methodical approach. Project managers need to manage many variables at the same time. An organised mind, therefore, that is able to track many things, is essential. When reviewing progress in a PRINCE2® project, for instance, the project manager will makes notes in the daily log, review the issue register which might contain requests for changes to a product, use the quality register to asses if any activities are outstanding, and so on.
4. Problem-solving skills. Project managers are often faced with unfamiliar situations. Effective managers have professional skills but they also have that innate ability and tenacity to solve problems in a creative way.
5. Leadership qualities. As a project manager, you will need to inspire your team by sharing your vision. You will also need to make the best use of everyone’s time and abilities by stepping back and delegating. Team building skills are also an essential leadership quality: for a project to succeed, a team must have a common purpose and work as a unit. Projects are complex enough as they are, without being further complicated by the conflicting actions of a fractured team.
This helpful business advice was provided by Tanya.