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Are Project Managers Born or Made?

Think you were born to be a project manager? Well, maybe if you weren’t it wasn’t your fault. Kevin Korterud lists four essentials that every project manager needs, and not all of them are in-born characteristics.

The Four Characteristics

  • Functional Knowledge: First you have to understand the fundamental business processes. This is important even in IT, as you have to know how your overall project affects the business. This knowledge is definitely not something a person is born with, and it usually takes formal training to grasp a true understanding.
  • Technical Expertise: Another area that has to be learned through training or experience is technical expertise. Understanding not only the core technology but the supporting tools is a must for any project manager.
  • Project Management Experience: Experience is something else you aren’t born with. Are you sensing a pattern here? But have no fear, there are ways to gain experience before actually heading up your first project on your own. Try taking a training course or serving in a PMO for a while before taking on the role of project manager.
  • Leadership: Here, finally, is a characteristic that you can be born with. While leadership is often built over time as a result of experience, and often hardships, in a career, there is also a certain amount of aptitude and charisma that makes the best leaders truly outstanding.


And the Answer Is…

Korterud believes project management is a mixture of both in-born traits and experience/knowledge built-up over time. What do you think? Are there any other traits or characteristics that Korterud left out? Read his original article at

About Rachel Ginder

Rachel Ginder was a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success and joined the team in 2013. She also helped with social media and research.

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