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What makes a poor project manager? How can you become a great project manager? This extract is from their new book. Fred Obiero and Jahn Karsybaev discuss the characteristics and behaviors that make successful and unsuccessful project managers.
Fred ObieroA bad Project Manager delegated the overall responsibility to others, claiming they are only there to “oversee” things. They complain about not having enough funds and the fact that timelines are too short without sufficient resources.
Bad Project Managers are not leaders, but bystanders. They don’t have a clear understanding about the various roles they play on the project.
Good project managers are able to understand the market and industry in which their project is being implemented. They do competitor analysis and evaluate alternative options. A good project manager stays current on industry trends.
Jahn KarsybaevA good Project Manager takes responsibility for creating an executive plan that delivers results and not excuses. A good Project Manager is organized and can clearly prioritize any task or issue.
Bad Project Managers have a lot of excuses. They can’t clearly communicate the overall plan and rely heavily on others to complete their tasks.
A bad project manager doesn’t understand domain areas and doesn’t take responsibility for their knowledge. They make excuses for every issue that arises on their projects.
A good project manager is efficient with their time and resources. People look forward to meetings with a good project manager because they produce great results.
Examples of a Good Meeting
A clearly defined agenda with specific goals for the meeting.
“Resources and Subject Matter Experts that are needed in this meeting to achieve these goals”
Clear roles in meetings: Someone to take notes, someone who can share the screen, someone who can set up technical tools or help with setup, etc.
Facilitation that is well-executed and time-bound. Each participant has the opportunity to voice their opinion
A well-structured meeting recap should include clear discussion points and action steps. Action items should identify the owner of the item and include a description as well as the deadline.
A bad project manager doesn’t have a sense for structure and time. They conduct meetings inefficiently, leading to frustration among participants and complaints to the VPs of PMO. Bad Project Managers don’t understand the importance of establishing a reputation for being effective in meetings, accountable to people, and delivering results.
A bad project manager cannot manage multiple priorities and is easily overwhelmed.
A good project manager doesn’t demand dates from their resource. Instead, they offer suggestions and options as well to highlight potential risks in order to estimate a task.
A good project manager produces artifacts. They have all documentation organized and readily available. Each member of the project team has a clear understanding of where to go and how they can find any type of document.
Bad Project Managers rush to produce documentation at the last moment because they don’t see it coming.
A bad project manager is one who puts out fires and doesn’t focus on leading a project. They are merely vocal and don’t take any action when it comes time to documenting decisions.
A good project manager anticipates potential problems, questions, and risks. They can predict when an executive will ask for a report and prepare accordingly.
A good project manager is consistent.