Project excellence -  What separates good from excellent project managers?

ValueMiner GmbH, Oystein Ullnaess

Project excellence

In my mind, what separates good from excellent project managers is curiosity, courage, proactivity, analytical out of the box thinking and a clear vision. I think my point is that you need to care about what you lead, why you lead it and what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

DO I CARE ABOUT MY MANDATE?

It starts with whether you accept your mission or mandate as a given or not.

I would say a project manager of excellence would NEVER take the mandate as a given. Since mandates are almost never consistent and up to date with reality, it would never make sense to just do what is stated.

Which is why a project manager of excellence would start by first understanding how what is built relates to the business challenges and objectives to meet. This means often to be courageous enough to ask stupid questions to better understand essential relationships and apply the out of the box thinking required to connect the dots in a sensible way.  If you do not ask the questions why - you will with high probability not get it right.

If you do ask why – you will be able to set a clear vison and choose proper strategies. So, bottom-line - projects are like any strategic change – they only have a chance of success -  if it is clear how things relate to each other.

DO I CARE ABOUT GOALS?

It continues with whether you are committed to goals or not during execution?

I would say a project manager of excellence NEVER focuses on planning and measuring activities. Activities mislead and almost never are those that are relevant to accomplish the goals.

Which is why a project manager of excellence would rather focus on breaking down the building components that are directly related to the business challenges and objectives. Secondly a project manager of excellence, knows that change will ALWAYS lead to a need for OTHER components and ALTERNATIVE ways of building them. It requires proactive, analytical out of the box thinking to find creative ways to both understand and control such dependencies under change.

So, bottom-line – project execution is to be alert and ready to do and control the continuous changes and corrections to help you achieve goals –sometimes even influence change of goals – but never abandoning the goals.

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Written by Øystein Ullnæss, ValueMiner GmbH