What Makes a Good Project Manager?

Over the years I’ve noticed a key distinction for project managers that deliver results and the ones that don’t.

Project Manager Type A is a person who is very smart, knows the process, knows the business, knows the client, knows the technology, etc.

They do an excellent job of reporting on how things are going, writing up status documents.

Project Manager Type B does everything Type A does, but then they take the crucial extra step of doing something about the problems, of proactively seeing them coming, and working with the people in the project to fix it.

Put another way, I’ve had some project managers over the years tell me “the house is on fire,” and others tell me “we contained the fire to one room, and the fire trucks are on their way.”

Some project managers who come from large organizations with long, complex projects seem to be the worst form of type A.

They seem to think they are really good at project management — having come from such a prestigious company — and “managing” a large team and budget.

In reality, they are just really good at telling people “the house is on fire”.

In a nutshell: good project managers take the crucial extra step of doing something about the problems instead of just reporting them.

Originally published at https://www.henricodolfing.com.

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I help C-level executives in the financial service industry with interim management and recovering troubled technology projects.

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