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Ten Traits of a Successful Project Manager

This short article highlights some of the best traits of a successful project manager. He or she has many of these abilities:

  1. In Touch - Regularly checks the "pulse" of the project. The balance is in checking often enough for scope and length of the project, without over-checking.
  2. Good Vibrations - Has inner and outer warmth. The manager understands people, and can use humor as a relief.
  3. Rock-solid - Has a solid character. Everyone respects and trusts the manager and his actions.
  4. Does the Job - Has a preference for action - doesn't wait for issues to resolve themselves.
  5. Good Reactions - Anticipates problems and plans as he can to handle or avoid them.
  6. Not Scattered - Can handle mulitple tasks with proper focus. His management style is balanced between multi-tasking and focusing on the important details and tasks. This trait is connected to good time management.
  7. Focused Picture - When buried in details, she can also look at the big picture, and understands how the teams efforts are integrated in the whole of the project.
  8. Quality Workmanship - Through leading by example, quality outcomes and products are achieved.
  9. Bends, but Unbreakable - Has flexibility, but can make firm decisions. It is a key trait to be able to understand when decisions have to be made by the manager (as opposed to letting others intercede or make decisions for the manager by default.)
  10. Leverages Tools - Learns and uses tools to help manage projects. A good PM doesn't get buried learning complex project management tools - especially if she does not yet know the theories or uses behind techniques (such as earned-value management or PERT charts).


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A large project can have the phases listed here repeated as part of larger chunks, such as :

  • Pilot
  • Expansion
  • Rollout
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