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Apmp: Describe 5 Attributes Of An Effective Project Manager

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 30th January 2013

This is quite an open and free format question. There are no prescribed answers in this case, you just need to show that you have an understanding of project leadership. Have a go and we will give you feedback.

  1. Paul says:

    Mike and Steve

    I love these types of question, as you can’t really get them wrong as a stressful project manager in in the eye of the beholder. The trick is to able to explain the factors that you have described. and why they are relevant. The answer is not going to be a poor communicator, chaotic, poor at dealing with people, unable to see the big picture.

    Your answers may seem a bit like waffle but it you don’t write it down you can’t get the marks.

    Paul

  2. Student says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for reviewing my other attempts. I know this is an older one but wanted to try it out before moving my focus onto another section this week.

    5 attributes of an effective project manager are:

    1) Influencing Skills
    A key attribute of a PM is the ability to establish requirements for additional support, to delegate & manage appropriately, and to use influencing skills to motivate Project Team members in order to achieve the tasks required for the successful completion of the project. This may involve taking a management role over people more senior within an organisation, and / or short-term relationships with staff who have other projects or tasks to complete.

    2) To Use Resources Appropriately
    A PM may have access to many resources, such as software & tools (e.g. Microsoft Project or risk analysis software), people (a Configuration Manager or finance support), or prior knowledge & skills. What defines a successful Project Manager is the ability to discern the essential resources and then to access and utilise them appropriately within the project environment.

    3) To Maintain an Overview
    The PM must retain control of the project. Therefore the PM must have an ability to see the big picture of the project, and by doing so to plan and monitor effectively. This requires an awareness of the impact(s) of progress to the other variables within the project. Plans must be updated and refreshed in order to take account of the project progress, and to respond to emerging opportunities and threats. The PM must be prepared to show a wider awareness of how the specific project links into the wider organisational context – in support of the Project Sponsor who holds this responsibility.

    4) Handle conflicting priorities
    The PM must keep a close watch on the desired (and often conflicting) equilibrium of cost, time, quality, benefits & risk that are played out within the project, in order to ensure the end products meet the expectations of the users. Particularly important within this is the ability to work to the established parameters for these 5 variables, and to mitigate against any scope creep where individual elements may grow beyond (and outside of) the parameters expected. The PM must also protect against pressures from internal and external sources who may seek to drive the project away from producing its intended products. A robust change control process can support this by keeping a close watch on these issues, along with a regular review of the Project Management Plan.

    5) Understanding the Project Context
    The Project Manager will be subject to both internal & external constraints. The PM will be required to report to senior management, and will report directly to the Project Sponsor. The PM will need to work within the set constraints given by the organisation (e.g. a standard lifecycle and gateway system), and adapt existing knowledge & skills to the specific project context (understanding the political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environmental factors affecting the project).

  3. Student says:

    Here’s my shot! Just waffle I’m afraid – trying to create the perfect PM.

    Good Communicator – The project manager is the voice of the project, this person must be able to communicate at all levels with their team, stakeholders, sponsor etc. Having this attribute should go hand in hand with being able to influence others and impose control. A Project manager must show this characteristic in order for others around to listen. This involves 2 way communications not just one way.

    Keen eye for detail – The PM is after all the gate keeper to the project and their skill must excel during all phases of the project. They need proven ability to identify risks, issues, and variances in cost, time quality, benefit etc and capacity to understand consequences. PMs must plan to change at any point during the project and being on the ball with regards to the projects conformity.

    Legally aware – Project managers must understand what their obligations are within the context of the projects environment. They need to have awareness about what they are planning to change, in and out of the project. Attention to Internal and external components from contracts, legislation, environment, EU directives, H+S etc.

    Ability to lead a team – the project manager must be able to sell, tell, participate and delegate to his team and constantly build trust and bridges with them to aid the projects progression. The PM must focus on strengths/ weaknesses of others and be able to maximize and take advantage of his followers for the benefit of the project. Being able to team build and continuously improve is conducive to the project outcome and internal stability.

    Professionalism – A project manager should have a professional attitude towards the project and promote this throughout the project team. Having a proficient PM and team helps keep team morale high, keeps stakeholders confident and speaks volumes for overall attitude and commitment. A continuous professional improvement in a project prescribes believe in ability to deliver without consequence.

    Keep the questions coming Paul…………. I look forward to our daily questions 

  4. Student says:

    Hi Paul

    How’s this for an attempt? Took slightly longer than 15 mins, as is took a few minutes to select just 5 suitable attributes. Hopefully 3 sentances per attribute is sufficient.

    An effective Project Manager will have the following 5 attributes:

    1. The ability to Promote & Maintain Project Vision.
    An effective Project Manager will be enthusiastic about their project, with a passionate belief that entices others to share in the dream. With a positive attitude, the project manager will be able to win over stakeholders, secure funding, motivate the team and convince others of the project worthiness. By leading by example, others will follow and their enthusiasm will assist in the delivering an effective project.

    2. The ability to Give Feedback.
    All too often projects will focus on what’s gone wrong and the negatives, but an effective Project Manager should spend time giving feedback to team members about what they are doing right and offer recognition. This will act as a motivator to the team members and encourages them to continue with their achievements, helping drive the project forward, by concentrating on the positives rather than the negatives. A Project manager who is able to communicate and show empathy with their team is likely to gain their trust and will result in improved team efficiency.

    3. Being able to delegate.
    A great motivator for people is to be able to discover their own greatness and an effective Project Manager will find is necessary and desirable to delegate work to others. Without delegation, the project manager will have to focus on doing the work themselves which will distract them from the day-to-day running of the project. Delegation will also encourage responsibility from team members which will act as self fulfilling and will improve team efficiency.

    4. Being a Facilitator and Enabler.
    An effective Project Manager will use their people skills to allow their colleagues to achieve their potential. An effective Project Manager smoothes the path and makes it all possible. Facilitation skills enable problem and conflict to be resolved, ideas to be generated and challenges to be met.

    5. Being able to anticipate.
    Every project has risks and issues and an effective Project Manager should always be prepared. By undertaking thorough Risk Management before the event, the Project Manager is effectively paving the way for a situation which may occur. Threats kept in sight will allow events to be anticipated and early corrective & preventative actions to be taken.

    Many Thanks
    Paul

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