What Does An Awesome Project Manager Look Like?

Nov 18, 2019 | PMP Exam Prep

Yes, project management requires a specific skill set. And, no, not every professional is cut out to be a project manager.

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Project managers are not necessarily required to have formal training, but if you want to improve your PM skills or if you aren’t sure if the PMP certification is right for you, then continue reading.

In this article, we will review what top firms and companies are looking for in a top-performing project manager today.

Unbeatable Project Management Skills

1. Focused on Goals. Successful project managers are real goal go-getters. Not only are they focused on getting a project done and meeting project goals, but also on how overall business goals in mind.

Acquiring this balance certainly requires a specific skill set. Many project managers are highly detailed and diligent on project details. However, this can be a blessing and a curse. Too many project managers get stuck in what many professionals refer to as "traffic management". They spend most of their time ensuring people and resources are in the right place at the right time. Project managers who are hyper-focused on details often overlook the big picture of the project.

Yes, project details are incredibly important to project success, but it’s also important to take a step back and ensure that the project aligns with high-level objectives and business goals.

2. Take Ownership. Project failure happens. Although a large portion of project management success falls on the shoulders of the project manager, project failure isn’t always his or her fault.

Furthermore, project failure isn’t always due to a lack of training or project management skills; it is more often due to a lack of accountability, ownership, and process.

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Everyone makes mistakes and errors occur. Successful project managers step up to the plate in their roles, assume ownership of a project, and encourage team members to do the same.

Honesty and admitting mistakes and errors are the best way to ensure a level of transparency among team members, management, and key stakeholders.

3. Confident Decision-Maker. The role of an excellent project manager extends far beyond serving as an administrator or a coordinator. Of course, administration and coordination are still essential to the job.

However, taking a step back and reflecting periodically on the big-picture view of the project can help. It helps project managers make more informed decisions on behalf of the team, the stakeholders, and the company as a whole. This level of involvement is what helps a professional evolve into a great project manager.

4. Knowledgeable of Methodologies and Approaches. It’s no secret that the way we do business and manage projects has drastically changed. As a result, management and project teams have had to adjust the way they handle, execute, and deliver projects. Many businesses and project teams have adopted an agile project management methodology, such as Kanban, Scrum or a visual workflow.

Despite many companies’ success with agile project management, this shouldn’t be a project manager’s go-to project management methodology (PMM).

For example, experienced project managers know that the PMBOK guide is a great resource to follow when determining best project practices and principles; however, the PMBOK guide isn’t agile based.

An excellent and experienced project manager knows that agile PMMs are only a few tricks of the trade. They also keep an open mind when it is time to determine the best process and PMM for a project and team.

5. Welcomes Automation Opportunities. Believe it or not, AI is already a part of our world. We use AI in our everyday lives; Google maps, geo-advertising in marketing strategies, and even Alexa are just some examples.

Many professionals worry robots will eventually replace them. However, the truth is that human intelligence is still a crucial component to any job in any industry. Human and emotional intelligence is also crucial for project management.

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Great project managers understand how AI tools can be used to help teams automate repetitive tasks. Automation has proven to save a significant amount of time, money, and resources. Project management tools and software can help reinvent a process for accomplishing tasks.

6. Highly Resourceful. Project managers are highly resourceful professionals. They can assess the resources available for a project and adequately allocate and leverage those resources creatively to deliver a successful project.

7. Assesses and Responds to Risks. Risk management is another aspect of project management. Project managers need to look at projects objectively and critically and play “Devil’s Advocate” to imagine various scenarios on how and why a project might fail. This helps project managers to identify, assess, analyze, and respond to risks effectively, which can prevent project failure.

8. Builds and Follows a Leadership Framework. Projects involve many “relationships”: with team members, strategic partners, customers, and key stakeholders. Although we mentioned many analytical skills above, project managers must also have “soft” or “people” skills to manage a project effectively. These skills include the following:

  • Clarifying work expectations and relationship expectations
  • Practicing excellent written and oral communications
  • Active listening
  • Motivating, inspiring, and influencing team members
  • Creating a collaborative culture, especially when working on challenging or complicated projects.

Not only are these skills necessary for maintaining a balance of emotional intelligence and social competence, but they are also essential for establishing good leadership.

9. Creates a Customer-Centric and Collaborative Culture. Finally, perhaps one of the most important abilities of an excellent project manager is to create a customer-centric and collaborative culture within the organization.

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In fact, many companies today define project management success by how well project managers work with teams and clients and meet the expectations of both.

Ultimately, outstanding project managers make a positive difference within organizations.

10. Earns the PMP Certification. The PMP certification can go a long way in accelerating your career as a PM. It is an impressive credential and shows companies and firms that you are a serious project manager, well versed in various knowledge areas and principles. The PMP certification is a desirable credential for many companies, and it will certainly help you stand above other candidates when applying for a project management job.

How to Become a PM or Boost Your PM Career with the PMP Certification

The standards for an outstanding project manager may be high, but with formal training and experience, you can become a high-performing project manager.

One way to improve your project management skills and become more knowledgeable of project management is to take the PMP exam and earn your PMP certification. The PMP exam is incredibly difficult, but there are resources available to help. By preparing for the exam with a professional PMP exam preparation course, you significantly increase your chances of passing the exam and earning your PMP certification.

Project Vanguards offers professional training in earning the PMP credential as well as a professional PMP exam prep course. Project Vanguards also guarantees a 100 percent first-time pass rate.

Regardless of whether you know you want to further your career as a project manager, or if you are in the beginning stages of exploring a career as a project manager, Project Vanguards has the resources you need to reach your professional goals.

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