79 responses to “Is a Project Manager Born or Trained?”

  1. Thomas Lewis

    I would say that this element (communication) should be first and foremost; the prior 2 elements cannot exist without this element.

    Communication, and the ability to communicate on all levels, is in my mind the foremost skill that the effective Project Manager brings to the table. A PM can have in-depth knowledge of all other aspects of a project, but if s/he cannot effectively communicate the essentials to all stakeholders, then the project has at best, a minimal chance of success. The true measure of a successful PM is not his or her intimate knowledge of the specifics, but an intimate understanding of the ‘people processes’ integral to the successful completion of the project, and the ability to communicate the true needs of the project across multiple disciplines, and to help to achieve consensus. That being said, it is important for the PM to have and hold a basic understanding of the project elements, and to then be able to communicate to all stakeholders the need(s) for their individual understanding and adaptability in order to achieve the ultimate goal. The ability to effectively communicate across the enterprise is the most important skill for a PM in any endeavor, in my mind.
    From the prior post: “Finally, the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently on the project is a key trait for the project leader on an engagement. In fact, it’s a critical aspect of being able to effectively perform the first two roles above. The project manager who can’t effectively communicate expectations, status, responsibilities, and decisions on the project to the team, the customer and his senior management is doomed to fail in his profession. In my opinion, there is no greater PM trait than this one. This is the building block for the effective and productive project manager.

    1. bradegeland

      We seem to share the same thoughts on the absolute need for solid communication skills coming from the project manager. Without that skill, they will not be long for the profession.

  2. begeland

    I completely agree. In fact, on less complex projects, I think some project managers can sort of ‘fake it till they make it’ as long as they are very good communicators. Effective and efficient communication is Job One for the project manager and I always want me team to tell me that I communicate with them more frequently and that they feel they know more about what’s happening on my projects than projects they are working on for other project managers. So far, that’s been the case…if they stop telling me that then I’ll be concerned.

    Thanks for commenting!
    Brad Egeland

  3. JJ Joseph

    The best project managers come from the armed forces. They invest huge amounts of time & energy learn the listed skills. They’re definitely “made” – not “born”!

  4. nm

    One thing i noticed about the good project manager was the ability to quickly summarize the meetings and put forth the action plan which i believe is his/her mental ability to remain focus on the project objectives and not deviated from the suggestions coming out from other members which might pull the project in different direction than initially intended or to look for clarity in those different suggestions and even sometime put together different suggestion coming from different members and doing that right there by the end of meetings which i believed requires some natural mental tendency and can not be learned in books or through experience because every project is different, every meetings are different and every problems are different. and that keeps me off from taking leadership roles because whenever i ask myself whether could i have come out of that solution from the meeting and most of the time my answer was no ! so even though i consider myself technically strong i don’t believe i do have that mental ability to juggle through the ideas and come out of clearly defined action plan or solution which i believe comes naturally to the good project managers which of course nothing but leaders and we know leaders are born and not created.

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