How to Become A Great Project Manager

A great project manager is not created by a project certification that is based on their ability to correctly answer multiple choice questions.  The ingredients for the great project managers are a complex mixture of hard and soft skills. And please note that being a technical guru is not on the list of ingredients.

Great Project Manager Ingredients

Here’s what you need to build an impressive track record of project successes that make you a great project manager:

  • A tool kit of project techniques and the knowledge to select the correct estimating, scheduling, risk management and tracking techniques for each project. One technique does not fit all projects.
  • Interpersonal skills that let you motivate your team and make them want to work on your projects.  Team members value your praise as a reward because it is not empty words.  Team Motivation
  • Communication skills and the ability to read people and select the correct  communications style and content let you influence and persuade team members and executives.  Communication Techniques
  • Leadership style that convinces team members you will stand up for them. It gives executives confidence that you will not hide problems or blame others.  Leadership Skills
  • Management style that lets you anticipate problems and apply solutions before the problem grows large.  Management Skills
  • Use of project management technology to give decision-makers choices.  You present options and quantified alternatives for solving problems and taking advantage of opportunities.  PM Technology

Great project managers are not born; they are made. Project management raining and practice are critical.  And you must be able to avoid the technology trap.  That’s where project managers think their success comes from making good technical decisions.  It is the trap door to micromanaging your team by making all the decisions for them. That takes so much time that you ignore the six characteristics listed above and wind up as a very ordinary project manager.

Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on