What Defines a Great Project Manager

William Delaney

As digital transformation sweeps the corporate landscape, companies are rushing like never before, to produce new and innovative products, under increased throughput time sensitivities. This has seen companies focusing their efforts on embodying project management procedures to guarantee deadlines are met and stakeholder expectations are satisfied.  


Companies maintain this balancing act by hiring or adapting a professional project management go-to person to oversee all the variables involved. 


But what exactly does that involve?  

When hiring or training a project professional, companies are identifying and being transparent about their need to have a dedicated team member oversee that project from start to end. This individual is responsible for ensuring the successful completion of a project and to advise and support those involved.  


Project professionals generally have some key responsibilities. Here’s a taste of just a few:   

  • Planning the projects based on the business objectives of the organisation. 
  • Generate a project plan, outline deliverables, schedules, time, costs and capacities required.  
  • Execute and deliver on stakeholder expectations.  
  •  Identify potential bottlenecks and maintain control over the entire project portfolio. 
  • Finalise project end dates and organise project closure reports.  

Project Management Characters

There are several different project management characteristic types that have been identified. The type of project professional is generally based on the level of seniority and control within the project environment of an organisation.  


Encouraging Project Professional  

The encouraging project professional provides encouragement and support through sharing experience and expertise with their team. This type of project professional is usually associated with organisations that execute projects in a relaxed manner, where emphasis on control is relatively low. This is most common within a smaller business setting.  


The Organised Project Professional 

The organised project professional is a master of control. This type of professional excels in implementing rigid rules, templates and generally governs the overall project landscape of the organisation following tried and tested project methodologies. This type of individual is most likely found in SMB’s looking to scale.  


The Leading Project Professional  

The leading project professional embodies an enthusiastic mindset and takes on the project in its entirety, with a goal-orientated agenda to reach deadlines and maintain quality. This type of professional is generally experienced, bringing a high degree of knowledge and ensuring consistency across all the project demands. This type of project management is most notably found in larger enterprises or successfully scaling organisations with increased levels of demand.  


The role of the project professional can sometimes be difficult to explain, as for many companies this is still a relatively new opening and to the more experienced organisations, the purpose of the project manager historically was to oversee the technical aspects within the project space. While this might still be true at its core, the position of the project professional has drastically diversified.  We’ve seen an increase in demand for project managers to embrace business development and marketing knowledge, along with HR-related topics all of which are needed to ensure the completion of projects.  


Of course, the type of industry and seniority will have a major impact on the skills required by an organisation, whilst hiring a project or portfolio manager but here is a general overview of what’s required at a basic standard level: 

  • Plan projects, outline timeframe of compilation and identify key project needs. 
  • Coordinate with all stakeholders and project participants and delegate tasks.  
  • Control budgets and report directly to senior executives.  
  • Manage project progress and deliver on deadline expectations. 
  • Ensure adequate resources and capacities are available and bring any issues to the attention of seniors.  


Project professionals generally have a very specific skill set. A successful project professional has more than likely faced many challenges throughout their career, as the role itself can be demanding and at times difficult. Therefore, it can be testing for junior level project professionals to find employment, as most company's look for an experienced individual.  


Of course, there are foundational elements of which any project professional should be aware of or learning.   


From a technical perspective, here we’ve identified some key areas to master and be aware of; 

  • Project Methodologies – Critical Chain Project Management, Agile, Scrum etc...) 
  • Project Management Solutions (, JIRA, MS Projects, etc....)  
  • Web Dev Languages ( Java, C#, etc...)  

On the soft skills and non-technical side of things, it’s essential that project professionals share the following characteristics.  

  • Embody Leadership qualities!  
  •  Excel in communication and negotiation  
  • Critical thinking comes naturally.  
  • Patience and calming mentality are built in. 
  • Can easily identify, assess and manage risks and costs.  

At the pinnacle of their careers project professionals can earn substantial salaries. Let’s take a closer look at this based on a survey carried out by the “Project Management Institute, Switzerland”. The findings of the survey showcased the following results, on an international scale. Average salary for a top-level project professional (PMO):

  • Switzerland - $132,086 
  • USA - $116,000 
  • Australia - $101,381 
  • Germany - $96,987 
  • Netherlands - $93,839 
  • United Kingdom - $83,410 
  • Singapore - $71,279 
  • UAE - $81,665 


From all the above information it’s clear to see that project management, is an ever changing and challenging role within an organisation. It’s a diverse role with many interesting and sought-after qualities. Companies are now aware more than ever, that it’s no longer a question of do we need a project professional within our organisation but more a question of when this individual can start.