In whatever industry or market segment, the role of a project manager (PM) is critically important and closely scrutinized. They are the face of the supplier to the customer. The effectiveness of PMs ultimately serves to make or break the success of a project. Success depends upon several different factors and performance attributes of the project management influences themselves.
At Victory Energy, our PMs are vital to our success. The boiler products and systems we supply are extremely complex and require the PM to be familiar with technical and engineering aspects of a given project. We’ve found that no two project managers have the same working style and customer approach. However, there are attributes that are common in the best, and these skills should not waver from project to project. The following are four performance attributes Victory Energy views as essential qualities for determining what to look for in a project manager.
Absolute Customer Empathy
Customers need to feel as though their project manager is truly in it with them. With considerable capital being allocated to a project, the stakes are high, with even greater pressure to deliver. Project managers must be empathetic with whatever the client is facing. It goes beyond the axiom of “the client is always right.” It means fixing a problem immediately and letting customers know you’ve got their back.
Mutual Respect and Confidence
The sheer number of people with whom project managers interact across a project engagement is staggering – engineering, sales, manufacturing. That’s just internally! Being respected is paramount – from both internal stakeholders and the customers. The best project managers are respected based upon their performance in solving problems or, better yet, eliminating a problem from ever occurring. Exuding a sense of confidence is resident in the best.
Managing Client Expectations
It’s been said that the best project engagements are those where client expectations are managed rather than permitting client expectations to manage the project. It is a balance that is delicate to navigate. The management and ranking of priorities almost always grounds the ultimate success of the project. The key to this is open and clear communication.
Intimate Customer and Project Understanding
Project managers who strive to be the best at what they do are true students of their client’s business. Knowing the client inside and out helps build trust and confidence. Having total project recall demonstrates they’re totally invested in the project’s success.
The goal is to identify how to recognize these attributes in future project management hires, but it can also help current project people to implement these characteristics in their day-to-day project management activities