Thought Leaders

What Do All Successful Project Managers Have In Common?

By definition, a project manager is described as applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements (PMBOK Guide, 3rd Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., PN, 2005). 

However, defining what makes a successful project manager can depend on the project manager’s project and the requirements of those looking to hire a project manager.

That’s not to say there are no distinguishable characteristics that can be universally applied to identify a successful project manager. Far from it, while the attack method may differ, they will have the same qualities and relevance applicable. So what exactly is it that makes a project manager stand out from the crowd as successful.


At the forefront of all successful project managers is being able to communicate clearly and effectively. Being able to develop a highly collaborative environment through engaging conversation and consistent information across all communicative channels.

Being able to involve all parties at all levels of communication and keep contractors and customers alike informed is a skill that all good project managers exhibit.

This includes face-to-face discussions, which is vital for effective communications despite the allure of more virtual and contactless communication methods.

Ability to Manage Workflow

The importance of a project running to schedule relies on a steady and constant workflow. Be it a more digitally based project or a physical one such as renovations or home rebuilds. Allowing the workflow to run smoothly by directing what needs to be done rather than the people who will be completing the tasks is vital.

Problem Solving

Being able to think on your feet and diffuse any potential problems and situations before becoming a problem means you need to be one step ahead of the game. Be it monitoring workflows to anticipate any potential hurdles, keeping abreast of stock and supply issues to allow for timely repairs or replacements such as ball valve stainless steel to limit delays or disruptions to timeline and projected finish dates.

Manage Expectations

At times, this includes saying no. Keeping expectations within reason and manageable is the sign of a successful project manager. Allowing demands to be placed on your team and others involved in the project can upset the balance and affect morale as you increase the workload without extending the deadline or allowing for regrouping to manage new demands and requests.

Saying no to unreasonable expectations can help you avoid going over budget and staying within targets timewise and financially. While small changes can sometimes be accommodated and worked into the existing plan, staying firm and denying customers to change requirements can be hard but ultimately, what is best for the project at hand.

Always Striving for Improvement

Be it at the beginning, during the project, or at the end, a successful project manager is aware that there are always areas for improvement and can build on previous experiences and issues to resolve what didn’t go so smoothly and adapt it until can achieve a more streamlined process.

Identifying what went well and why and what didn’t so well can help you improve on all areas of management skills to streamline and improve the experience for when they are ready for their next project.


PM Today Team
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Despite the increasing investment in project management capability, many projects still fail to meet their objectives.

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