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10 Things That All Great Project Managers Do

Perhaps it is now common knowledge – that an estimated half of all IT projects, simply put, fail. The big ones really fail, according to Dennis McCafferty, a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine. Some fail so spectacularly that they threaten to take down their entire business. Even worse:  

…when a major IT project falls short of requirements, exceeds its budget or misses deadlines, guess who ultimately takes the blame? Yes, it's the CIO. Because even if you delegate the formal role of “project manager” to an employee, you're the one who remains primarily accountable.

Since this sobering fact seems to be widely accepted, the next logical step is for IT leaders to look at some solid rules of prevention. In an article for CIO Insight that draws on other reports, McCafferty offers ten:

  1. They seek clarity from start to finish.
  2. They don’t “ask for permission” to assert authority. They edit information as it’s presented.
  3. They reevaluate on the fly.
  4. They craft conversations for their audience.
  5. They stick to regular communications schedules.
  6. They put the right people in the right positions.
  7. They exude integrity.
  8. They maintain composure.
  9. They respect work-life balance.

Great Qualities of a PM

The qualities that a project manager may use to defend against project failure include things like “seeking clarity” in communication and instruction with staff, or the ability to exude confidence and “give directives” about how the job needs to be done. Of course, each manager will have his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses, and so some qualities will be more important to focus on than others, depending on the PM.

Keeping Composure

Reading through the list, certain characteristics stand out in particular. For instance, maintaining good composure in the face of adversity is important because it helps not only the project manager, who must remain especially focused and aware, but also helps the entire operational staff who looks to the PM for guidance.

Sorting through “Noise” in Conversations

Another striking example of good project management is the ability to separate the crucial information from the irrelevant facts in workplace conversations. In instances where important-sounding conversations talk around the central issue, it pays to have a keen ear and a quick response to bring the discussion back on track.

Read more about these qualities at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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