Recently a project manager I know requested me for a performance feedback. I have read a couple of books, articles, worked under different managers, have about 5+ years of experience in the field and I started to think back on all this material to answer the question, what makes a good project manager? Who were the project mangers that I was always eager to work for and more importantly why?
As I started to think about this, there were three recurring themes that I noticed in all the people I liked to work for.
- Being a good person
- Being Competent
- Willingness to learn, and dive into the depths of any given problem
1. Being a good person
Think about this for a min, who are the people that you are most willing to work for?
- Taking you always for granted
- Never hear a word of praise from them
- Never willing to help you or anyone
- Unwilling to ever hear what you have to say
- Stubborn, my way or the high way attitude types
- Leave you to slug it out while they are at out on vacation
If you have a choice will you be willing to work under such type? If your lead has the above qualities will you be giving 100% to the success of that project?
2. Being Competent
In order to be a lead, it is not just enough to be a good programmer; in fact that is just a starting point. I do not believe that leaders are born, they are made, one needs to train himself to become one and there is a ton of material to do this (books, articles, blogs ….) and learning from others, having a mentor definitely helps.
I have worked under managers, who were excellent programmers, they could hack out sed and awk in there sleep! But when it came to time management or managing direct reports, they were just down right terrible. If you can?t manage your own time, how can you manager someone else?s time?
3. Willingness to learn, and dive into the depths of any given problem
How can one lead if they can?t solve anything? And how do you solve anything if you are not willing to learn what it is? I find these types really annoying, types that are never willing to listen. They never get a good feel about what is going on and you end up going to multiple statuses meeting and creating numerous reports. And these are the types who will freak out about the tiniest problems.
Unfortunately you cannot recognize a good one until you have worked for a bad one! When you work for a good manager things are a breeze, you very rarely end up working on a weekend, things just seem to click and fall in place and you feel good about your project.
Anyways, I think I can rate the PM based on the above 3 qualities