Are great project managers “born” and not “made?”
Given the right tools and processes, can anyone successfully manage projects? Does it take a certain personality type to be an excellent project manager or can the skills needed be learned?
Last month I talked about making meetings more productive. This month’s elephant bites will focus on the necessary skills and traits required to be a truly effective project manager.
Many organizations are in the process of making major communications changes to their environment, such as converting multi-location, traditional PBXs to hosted, premises or hybrid VoIP, or converting from legacy to SIP trunks. These types of projects are usually very critical and highly visible. When undergoing these projects, selected vendors will most likely assign a “project manager,” who may have come from the ranks of their technical sales, system administration, or technician staff, or may or may not be a certified Professional Project Manager (PMP).
Correspondingly, the organization that holds the contract may or may not assign an internal project manager to represent the company. And, even if the assigned resources are PMP certified, are they are up to the task? Is someone immediately a good PM just by virtue of the fact that they were able to pass the certification exam? Will they navigate the project to a successful conclusion or allow the project to deteriorate into chaos? How can you tell if you have a great project management team?
The following are some of the traits to look for when assessing your project management staff:
While some of these skills can be learned, others may be more inherent in certain personality types. For example, being detail-oriented or big picture-oriented may be learned skills; being both detailed-oriented and big picture-oriented is harder to impart if the natural traits are not already present. When engaging a project manager or managers for your next project, looking for traits such as leadership, perceptiveness, timing, and a collaborative approach will improve your odds of success. If some traits are lacking in your PM, consider supplementing the team with members who do have these skills.
While project management training can improve almost anyone’s skills, it may not turn an average project manager into an excellent one.
So are project managers born and not made? …Perhaps it’s a little of both.
“SCTC Perspectives” is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communication technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.