Posted by: kerrywills | February 3, 2017

What makes a successful project manager?

The question of “what makes a successful project manager” is asked often. My thinking is that because of the current complexity of product, technology solutions and organizations it is essential for a project manager not just to have the fundamental skills but also to have “consultative” skills. These include facilitation, negotiation, influencing, motivating and communications. I have been working on a n evolved project management competency model for a few years and am planning to document it fully in the next book I just started writing.


In order to gather information I created a survey for practitioners to take to understand their views on complexity and competencies. If you are reading this and have not yet taken it, please do so here as I am trying to get several hundred responses. The early findings do support the hypothesis. One of the questions was if people thought that the environment is more complex than it was 5 years ago. Here are the responses for the following areas (based on results so far)…

  • 76% said yes for product complexity
  • 89% said yes for technology complexity
  • 73% said yes for organizational complexity
  • 70% said yes for business product complexity

And then when asked what skills were most used in today’s environment, the results were…

  • 11% said communication skills
  • 16% said project management fundamentals
  • 19% said leadership skills
  • 54% said soft or consultative skills

So it is interesting that the far majority people believe that the environment is becoming more complex and that they need to use consultative skills the most and yet most organizations and materials in the marketplace focus on PM fundamentals. Time for a new competency model….and thus my new book.

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