Posted by: kerrywills | July 9, 2010

Skills of good PMs

I have recently created some new job postings for Project Managers which lead me to start thinking of the skills that I look for in a Project Manager. To me, I always assume that the fundamentals are there (use of MS Project, understanding of plans, risks, etc.). Therefore I look more for traits and management style.

Some big ones for me are…

  • Sense of urgency – Follows up on actions, decisions, etc
  • Ability to look at project metrics and gauge progress and risks
  • Good relationship with the team members (being seen as approachable means they get status and risks known early)
  • Solves problems vs raising them
  • Ability to make decisions and facilitate meetings and closure of open items
  • Responsiveness to issues and action items
  • Stay on top of their work and doesnt need reminders from me

Good PMs utilize many skills

I find that most resumes are filled with acronyms and certifications but it is very hard to distinguish if that means people will be solid Project Managers. That’s why I try to ask situational questions to see how someone would approach the situation.

What are other skills that people look for or view as important in Project Managers today?



  1. Other valuable traits
    – Ability to identify influencers and stakeholders in other departments or with vendors and take initiative to build relationships with people not directly part of this project team.

    – Ability to negotiate organization and frame issues, proposed solutions and expected timelines for peaceful co-existence with governance committees who are charged with enforcing policies and strategy.

    – Display the “let’s work this issue together and find a way” attitude across departments and companies versus “I am the hard nosed project manager and expect you to what I say”.

  2. I could add a few to the list of what makes a good pm – right sizing the amount of detail you need to know. Too much details will slow you down and take away your time from getting other work done. Also can strain relationships with your project experts. Not enough details will not allow a pm to make good decisions.

    Track projects is another item. Make sure tasks are assigned with target dates.

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