What to Look for in a Project Manager (PM)
What to Look for in a Project Manager (PM)
Posted by Bill Carney

Over the course of his 35+ year career in project planning, project scheduling, and project controls, Bill has worked with many industries and types of projects.

To be a successful Project Manager, one must have the right skills. Below are top skills of a Project Manager who can make things happen.

1. Understands Level of Detail
A Project Manager should know enough about scheduling software not to ask for 60,000 activities on a single 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. A Project Manager simply says, “I want what I want” because he doesn’t take time to think about what he is asking.

2. Understands Software Capabilities
Some people may think: Since “it’s on the computer,” anything is possible. However, there are limits to what can be done in a given amount of time.

3. Budgets Time and Money
The best Project Managers believe in the investment of plans and schedules. The Project Manager needs to remember that, when he ‘low balls’ the hours to get the job, he limits the scheduler’s hours to do the detail required.

4. Team Player
Schedules need to be integrated to reflect all parts of a project. A common cry in construction projects is, “Develop a detailed schedule, but don’t bother the engineers; they are too busy to talk to you.” Everyone needs to be consulted. The best Project Managers are aware of that. Experienced schedulers are good at forecasting issues. Good Project Managers will utilize the warning instead of ignoring it.

5. Understands Benefits of a Schedule
The best Project Managers use a schedule to plan work, monitor progress, and analyze the impact of changes. It is not just pretty wallpaper to satisfy a contractual requirement or impress a client.

6. Doesn’t Kill the Messenger
A planner/scheduler merely reflects the situation in the field, but has no control over the actions of anyone project-related. Don’t kill the messenger because the schedule is not progressing as expected.

7. Communicates with the Team
If the Project Manager doesn’t talk to the team, tell them what he wants, what the scope of the project is, and what the client wants, he shouldn’t be surprised when no one does what he wants without being told. Planners/schedulers are not mind readers, although it would be helpful.




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