How to Be a Good Project Manager?

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The article What it takes to be a good project manager examines two approaches to effective project management. B.Z. Posner suggests that successful project managers possess personal characteristics that enable them to overcome common problems faced by project managers. These characteristics include organizational planning, communication, leadership, and team-building skills. The article identifies several problems that project managers face, including inadequate resources, unrealistic deadlines, unclear goals/direction, uncommitted team members, insufficient planning, changes in goals/resources, and conflicts between departments/functions. The author suggests that these problems are interrelated and that project managers must possess a set of skills to effectively manage them. It is important to note that the study was conducted over 20 years ago and that the skills required for successful project management may have evolved with technology and globalization.

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The text “What it takes to be a good project manager” analyses two approaches to the prerequisites of effective project management. The author, B. Z. Posner, makes an original parallel between the primary personal characteristics of successful project managers (PM) and the basic problems facing such a position.

In fact, Posner suggests the idea that these approaches are interconnected and hence the primary successful PM’s characteristics are those that would help PM the most to overcome the basic problems facing his/her activities. 1-What primary characteristics distinguish the very successful project managers from the more mediocre project managers? Successful project managers must have a range of personal characteristics as well as problem solving skills.

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Project managers must have the organizational planning skills to effectively utilize limited resources, the communication skills to listen and identify potential problems, the leadership skills to seize the initiative and set the example, and have the team building skills to motivate the team towards a common goal with the resolve to see the project through to completion.

Why aren’t the top skills matched to the problems?

  1. Communication-Resources inadequate
  2. Organizational-Meeting (“unrealistic”) deadlines
  3. Team Building- Unclear goals/Direction
  4. Leadership- Team members uncommitted
  5. Coping-Insufficient Planning
  6. Technological- Breakdown in communications

Problems 1, 2, & 3 are most likely caused by the lack of project planning and clarity by upper management prior to project start up which immediately causes issues. All three of these issues could have been resolved by better top down communication and commitment to the project.

All of the problems and skills are inter-related and regardless of which comes first project managers must possess a certain set of skills to deal with potential problems. As I stated earlier I think problems 1, 2, & 3 were most likely problems related to the project prior to set up: Resources inadequate, Meeting (“unrealistic”) deadlines, unclear goals/direction.

The rest of the problems are related to the project managers skills: Team members Uncommitted (Team Building Skills), Insufficient planning (Organizational Skills), Changes in goals and resources (Coping Skills) and Conflicts between departments or functions (Communication and Leadership Skills). Granted team members could be uncommitted from the start, a successful project manager will have the Team Building skills to motivate team members.

Nevertheless potential PMs must have an adaptive and extensive skill set to be effective and to manage obstacles that arise during the course of a project. It is also important to note that the presented study was conducted more than 20 years ago. If we take into account the evolution in information technology and globalization the skills required for successful project management may be slightly different today.

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How to Be a Good Project Manager?. (2018, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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