What Makes a Great Project Manager?

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.


I’ve mentioned often in the past (to anyone who will listen) that one of the key factors in the success or failure of any type of project is the personality of the project manager.  


You can train an individual to do a very good job at managing a project but the exceptional project managers always have certain personal attributes that ensure they excel where others merely succeed. I believe that, to a large extent, this sort of excellence can be taught with the right sort of project management training although part of it may be inherent in certain people and not in others.


The personal attributes a great project manager requires are the ability to thrive under pressure, someone who perseveres to get the job done right, a persuasive personality and someone prepared to be humble and take the blame when necessary. Someone who is not too proud to take advice from others but with sufficient pride and confidence to stand up for what they know is right. 


And, finally, someone with a human touch in dealing with problems – often project problems are as much about clashing personalities as actual problems with the tasks.


But I can already hear shouts of objection – surely a project manager needs to be strong, have a firm hand to control a project – authoritarian even.


But such objections bring to mind Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If” so, with my sincere apologies to Kipling, I have paraphrased it here to remind all project managers aspiring to great success that the human aspects should never be under-estimated.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can meet with success and failure
And treat those two results just the same;
If you can talk with workers and keep their respect,
Or talk with leaders – nor lose the common touch,
Yours is success and everything that entails,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Project Manager!

So the very best Project Management Training Courses will address the human aspects of training as well as providing the right skills and tools so that a project manager can complete all projects successfully.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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