Can good PMs have bad projects? How do you evaluate a Project Manager?
Can't we just evaluate the project? Good project = good project manager?
What makes a good PM anyway? Let's start with the recognition that project managers are leaders who solve problems. Now, evaluate your PM against these criteria.
Does the Project Manager:
- Practice proven project management techniques? Is there a documented scope, schedule, and budget? Is there a risk register and issues log? This is the stuff you learn in project management training or when you study for the PMP exam. This can't be the only focus of a good PM, but it is the foundation.
- Foster positive relationships and cohesion on the team? People perform projects. Is the PM bringing the team together?
- Manage customer expectations so that customers get the best value? A good PM helps the customer create their best balance of cost, schedule and features.
- Communicate to keep all stakeholders positively engaged? There are a lot of stakeholders for projects, and they have different interests.
- Balance the goals of the project and the goals of the organization? Keeping an eye on the big picture supports the overall organizational strategy.
These are all skills that can be improved by attending hands-on project management training!!
This post was inspired by a question in the LinkedIn Project Management group.
A procedures guide can be incredibly valuable - just watch the pilots in Sully walk through their procedure when both engines were disabled.
Project procedures guides are often full of incredibly valuable content - but so long and detailed that nobody opens them up. Don't throw them away though - just pair them with checklists. A checklist can distill fifty pages of procedure into a single page because it DOESN'T describe HOW to do something (such as a stakeholder analysis) it simply asks IS IT DONE?
Read this Project Success Factors checklist. If you can answer YES or NA to every item, you'll know that you are following the procedures. If you find some items that you can't confidently check ("A detailed risk analysis has been performed") then refer to the procedures guide.
Promoting consistent project management practices within your department is the fastest way to improve overall project success. Project management training will show people what to do and why it is important. Reinforcing the training with regular checklist-driven reviews will build the habits that lead to results.
This project management issue was inspired by a question posted to the LinkedIn project manager community.