“Good vs. Great Project Management” was the topic of the 18th hangout of the Sensible Project Manager Hangout Community. In this hangout Abigail (Abie) McCauley was our special guest. Abie is a Digital Project Manager at Nebo Agency who wrote an interesting blog post called “Putting the User First in Project Management“. During the hangout we discussed the premise behind her article and further discussed what it takes to be a Great Project Manager.
After introductions Abie shared the premise behind her post which is “to become a Great PM, you have to learn to put the end user first”. Her experience is that often project managers are undervalued by those around them and at times by the project manager themselves. Good PM’s are those who deliver projects within scope, budget and on schedule. To be a great project manager it is important to remember the customer and deliver a project that provides great value to the customer.
Abie likened our projects to the building of a house. If we were a project manager who is leading the task of building a house for a client, we can build the house such that it barely meets specifications and will keep the family dry, warm, and safe. We will make sure that the house gets done on time and within budget. If we think of the house as a home for the family, then we will likely work with the family to understand what it takes to make that house a home for the family. We can let them choose the colors of the walls, the type of carpet, the appliances, and other things that are important to that family so that it can be a home for them. That attention to the customer is an example of a Great Project Manager, one who prioritizes the value the project delivers to the customer.
During the hangout, we discussed some of the challenges that needs to be considered when putting the customer first. Those challenges can include:
- Potential for late delivery on projects
- Potential to go over budget
- Possibility of conflict with your client
- Possibility of being wrong.
We also discussed the characteristics that are inherent with Great Project Managers.
- A great PM should be a leader and have strong leadership skills including:
- The ability to inspire your team
- They should have a lot of integrity
- They should be enthusiastic
- Empathy for the stakeholders and team members
- They should be able to stay cool under pressure
- A great PM should be able to build a strong team and get that team to understand the work to deliver the value to the customer.
- They should have strong interpersonal skills.
- They should have good organizational skills.
- A great PM should be a great communicator.
- They need to have problem solving skills.
Finally, Abie shared her “Great PM Checklist”
- Did this project solve a problem?
- Did it have an impact?
- Did it solve my client’s needs?
- Is my team proud of it?
- Am I proud of it?
- Most importantly, did it meet the end user’s needs?
Now it is your choice to be a Great Project Manager or just a good one.
Note: The Sensible Project Manager Hangout Community is a community of project managers and others who enjoy discussing project management topics. Each week we hold a hangout which is hosted via Google+ Hangout. These hangouts are held each Friday at 9:00am pacific time. Up to 10 people can join the hangout and those not making it to the hangout can view the conversation on the community event page or at www.sensiblepm.com/hangout/ via Hangouts “On-Air”. We have partnered with the #PMChat community on the Twitter platform who share the same topic. During the #PMHangout we used the #PMChat tweet up as our chat room.