STAFFING YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM (Part 5) – Acquiring the Project Manager

Personal Characteristics and Attributes

This McLaughlin and McLaughlins Project Professional’s post is the fifth in a series of discussions regarding current challenges with the staffing aspects of your project management team.  The focus is on the managerial aspects of human resource planning and acquisition.  This post (like Part 4, our last post) addresses acquiring the human resources (people) or staffing.  In this case, we focus on acquisition of the project manager. This acquisition of project manager resources will be the subject of several posts over the next several weeks.

A key action, many believe that this selection/acquisition (the project manager) is the most important activity in staffing the project management team.

In past posts, the acquisition strategies have been discussed and evaluated.

This, the first post on acquiring the project manager, will address the personal characteristics and attributes that are important in a professional project manager.  Before looking at sources for a project manager candidate, one needs to settle on the key characteristics (personal and other) that are needed in the specific project and the project execution strategy for your project.  From past posts, it has been asserted that enterprise environmental factors are key inputs.  These factors influence the characteristics and attributes that are needed for a project within your organization.

Please RememberTeams of people [not machines and not software] build projects. Consequently, if you cannot acquire the requisite staffing, you are not prepared to execute the project [at least as planned].

Please Remember This is a team, not a group of individuals. Have you noticed that so many sports teams with superstars rarely win championships?  Further, have you noticed that championship teams have few, if any, superstars?  It is the project team, not the individual that must be staffed and developed.  As they say, there is no “I” in team.

Sources that are used in this post are:

Project Management Institute [PMI] is the largest and most prominent public organization dedicated to advancing the cause of professional project management.  Within the PMI program, they offer a Project Management Professional [PMP] certification.  This certification requires experience and testing as well as a recertification process/requirement.  The author [George T. McLaughlin] has been a PMP for many years.

LinkedIn, the prominent social network, has a discussion group for Project Manager Professionals [PMPs]. This PMP group requires membership.  As such, most (if not all) members are PMP’s.  These members are experienced practitioners.

Within this group, J.R. Gilkinson, PMP, ITIL has posed the discussion challenge:

In one sentence, please describe what asset or quality makes a GREAT Project Manger!”

The discussion group members’ responses to this simple question reveal the personal characteristics and attributes that the professionals see as important.  Here are some of the many (700+) comments (emphasis added):

Kathleen Donavan • A great PM inspires the team, stakeholders, support staff and customers to be all that they can be in order to drive business success.”

John Mueggenberg • the ability to focus the often conflicting viewpoints of stakeholders, management, and team members to a ?successful project completion. (Successful: on time, on budget, & on scope)”

Loretta Edmond • someone who is passionate about helping the team they are working with maximize their potential in meeting the objectives of the project.”

Aliyu Sanni • A great project manager must forward plan, collaborate and communication effectively with all the project stakeholders

Mohamed Sabu, PMP • A Great PM should be a good risk manager to make the project achieve its objective and key for risk management is communication and integration.”

Brian Balboni • A great project manager maintains the focus of all participants upon how their activities combine to produce a product or service which delivers the business value of the project’s goal.”

Gladston DsouzaPositive Attitude, Truthful approach, Correct awareness”

Dean Savovi?Well educated in all project management disciplines and to know a little bit about the business process being implemented with excellent soft skills.”

Mark Robinson • The foresight to anticipate risks, the flexibility to problem solve out of situations that develop, and the people skills to implement the solutions.”

Jonathan Piersol • The great PMs have the ability to visualize the intended product, continually communicate that vision to their project team and successfully create an atmosphere that fosters goal-oriented progress that meets the scope, budget and time constraints of the project.”

Innocent Okafor PMP • A great influencer, who is able to set goals and lead team until they reach the desired goal.”

Rodrigo Nanjarí • Effective communications and leadership !!”

William Sanner • A great project manager is a good communicator, has patience, flexibility, a tolerance for ambiguity, and solid training.”

Mohamad Zahid Ibrahim, PB, PMP® • Effective leadership that culminates in meeting the project objectives

Al Cruz PMP, MACommunicator, Communicator, and Communicator plus effective leader, and planner. If questions refer to the communicator in chief with the project. Clarify the confusion”

Carla Long • A great project manager encourages the growth of the team by allowing them to learn from their mistakes, while continuing to keep the quality of the project in the forefront of everyone’s minds.”

Richard Eason • A PM communicates (listens, speaks, understands, is understood) what needs to be orchestrated (with the team and stakeholders) and facilitates the progress to completion.”

Todd Osborn MSM, PMP, CHS-IIISocial skills and effective communications are the foundation for all successful PMs.”

Suzanne Mohammed • The best project managers are the one’s who’re able to manage stakeholders’ expectations, and perform the 3-Ates – Communicate, Co-ordinate, and Motivate … not to mention keep a level head and a sense of humor!”

Kerzner addresses the subject in (among other places) Chapter 4 (page 148) under 4.3 SKILL REQUIREMENTS FOR PROJECT AND PROGRAM MANAGERS. Several of his key attributes are:

  • “Team Building”
  • “Leadership”
  • “Conflict resolution”
  • “Technical expertise”
  • “Planning”
  • “Organization”
  • “Entrepreneurship”
  • “Administration”
  • “Management support”
  • “Resource allocation”

Do you notice any consistencies and/or inconsistencies between the practioners and Dr. Kerzner?

In the next post, we will address additional issues in selecting and acquiring the project manager.  A strong and well qualified project manager will heavily influence the success of the project.

In the past eight years, M&M has program managed or project managed five large and complex projects.  The capital investment value of all of these projects exceeded (individually) $100 million dollars (USD) and several exceeded $300 million dollars (USD).  Further, these projects included engineering, professional consulting, procurement, construction and other project phases.

Good luck and let us be realistic and professional in the acquisition of the project manager for your project management team.  You must acquire an individual with the requisite quantity and skill-sets needed to implement your intended project execution strategy.  Otherwise, the execution strategy must be changed.  This is part of the interactive planning process.  M&M wishes you happy reading and good luck in your project management challenges and endeavors.

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