What Is the Difference Between Good Project Managers and Bad Project Managers?

Project Managers only come in 2 flavors: either good or bad. So how can someone differentiate between Good and Bad Project Managers?

  • Good Project Managers communicate constantly with the stakeholders, the client, and the project team. Bad Project Managers isolate themselves in their office/cubicle and try to keep communication with anyone to the minimum, leaving the team confused, and the client and the stakeholders falsely reassured.
  • Good Project Managers are proactive, they foresee risks and problems and they account for them. Bad Project Managers are reactive, they react to problems as-they-happen, adversely affecting the normal flow of the project.
  • Good Project Managers focus mainly on the project success, and then, to a lower extent, they focus on the project management success, and they can tell the difference between the two. Bad Project Managers care only about the Project Management success (specifically the part about being on budget and on schedule), they don’t seem to care much about whether the project has delivered tangible value to its stakeholders or not. They don’t even know that Project success is not the same thing as Project Management success.
  • Good Project Managers put low emphasis on the methodology used; they just follow a methodology (whatever it is) to get the job done. Bad Project Managers try to force an incompatible methodology on a project, just because “they’re used to it” or “everyone is now using it”.
  • Good Project Managers are organized: they’re always able to immediately locate any document about any project. Bad Project Managers are always in complete disarray, and they never seem to locate any document about anything.
  • Good Project Managers are punctual, they’re always on time (and usually ahead of time) when attending a meeting. Bad Project Managers are usually at least 10-15 minutes late, wasting valuable company time, and citing lame and overused excuses on why they’re late (traffic jam, had to drop kids at school, etc…).
  • Good Project Managers call for a meeting when they feel the project needs a meeting. Bad Project Managers call for a meeting when they feel like having a meeting (which may be every day or every month).
  • Good Project Managers pay attention to their resources, cater for their needs, make sure they have the moral and the logistical support to be able to work on their tasks. Bad Project Managers are disconnected from the project team, they don’t know (and they don’t care) what the team needs.
  • Good Project Managers know when to say “No” to the stakeholders. Bad Project Managers always say “Yes” to the stakeholders, and commit themselves to unachievable deadlines and unrealistic budgets.
  • Good Project Managers think that having their team work overtime (especially for an extended period of time) is a bad idea. Bad Project Managers think that having their team work constantly overtime is a good idea, and even better when they (the team members) are paid for it.
  • Good Project Managers are able to balance their life and their work and have them completely separated. Bad Project Managers try to constantly juggle life and work, and never seem to get any of them right.
  • Good Project Managers are doers. Bad Project Managers are procrastinators.
  • Good Project Managers spend their spare time sharpening their Project Management skills (reading and blogging on Project Management). Bad Project Managers spend their work time playing games or using the social media for non-professional purposes.
  • Good Project Managers work on their image within their organization so that one day, they can get the promotion they deserve. Bad Project Managers work on their CV for their potential interviews outside their organization.

© 2010 Project Management Learning – Reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited without the written consent of Project Management Learning.

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