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5 signs that you have a great project manager

Colin Ellis | June 16, 2015
Hint: They manage well and people like them

Great project managers are like umbrellas (I'm going with the full gamut of weather metaphors here). When the criticism is pouring down they ensure that the team is protected from it. They then ensure that the message passed down is presented as an opportunity to improve and not a problem to be fixed.

Similarly, when the sun is out and the praise is beaming down, they ensure that the people who do the real work bask in it and are rewarded for it. When they talk about how successful a project has been, they talk about the strengths of the team and the qualities they have shown, never about themselves.

3. They involve everyone in planning

Every great project manager knows that in order for any project to succeed you need a great plan; and every great project manager knows that in order to get a great plan you need to involve everyone in the planning process.

Not everyone obviously, but they take the time to identify those people who are impacted and can impact the project they are leading and get them involved, including the CIO.

They create a productive, enjoyable environment. They want to ensure that they get the most out of the three hours because at the end of it they will have a plan that the team has built and believe in. With that, they know that they are already halfway to delivering a successful project.

4. They put effort into building teams

Designing great teams takes lots of thought and time and is like completing a jigsaw (stay with me on this). Great project managers look at the team picture, lay out the pieces so that they know what they need to put where, then set about creating that picture over time.

Putting any old pieces together does not work, neither does putting pieces together that create a different picture at the end.

A great project manager does not accept the people who are 'free' or 'on the bench' unless they are the right people and they will negotiate like a used car salesperson for the people that they really need, going to great lengths to recruit people into the vision that they have. Once the team is in place, they never stop leading it, building it, encouraging it, performance managing it and celebrating it.

5. They manage up well

A project manager can not become great unless someone has their back. They are prepared to take responsibility for everything concerned with the delivery of a project providing someone above them is doing all they can to support the project and remove roadblocks that may stand in their way.


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