Attributes of a Good Project Manager

February 11, 2016
Contributed by Dustin Twitchell, Operations Manager at Netronix Integration and member of the PSA Project Management Committee

What does it take to become a good project manager? Is it years of experience, PMP certification, or a record for delivering projects on time and under budget? While all of these are important, there are many other attributes that factor into a project manager’s overall success.

A good project manager is proactive, not reactive, in every project and continually stays ahead of problems rather than waiting for them to happen. Consider the following scenario:

After completing a job, the technician calls the project manager to report everything is working, but the main point of contact was unable to test. Instead, the technician had to test everything with the main contact’s assistant. A proactive project manager would immediately email the customer letting them know everything is up and working in addition to who participated in the testing. Without this proactive communication, a reactive project manager would be responding to an upset customer asking what happened, if the work was completed, and who approved the testing.

A good project manager always asks questions.

In many ways, project managers are detectives – asking the right questions to accurately understand the situation and potential outcomes. The only way to solve a problem is to get to the root of the problem, and by discovering the underlying issue, project managers are able to provide options and solutions for the customer.

In many ways, project managers are detectives – asking the right questions to accurately understand the situation and potential outcomes.
A good project manager can deal with scope changes.

When a customer requests changes, project managers must adapt accordingly to drive the project forward and how project managers adapt is just as important. Changes can be frustrating, but regardless of the impact of the requested change, the project manager must remain calm and address changes with solutions. Rather than stating that “it cannot be done,” good project managers work to find possible solutions for the customer.

A good project manager is organized and responsive.

When managing multiple projects, are the projects being prioritized correctly? Just because one project came in before another does not mean it has to be done first. Good project managers prioritize by asking the right questions of their sales team and customers.

In fact, communication is key and project managers should strive to over communicate. They should always respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner (same day response, worst case within 24 hours) and when new information on a project is discussed, good project managers ensure the information is passed on to the whole project team.