June 23, 2024

What Makes a Good Project Manager


A good project manager plays a crucial role in the successful execution of projects in any organization. Their ability to effectively manage resources, time, and stakeholders while ensuring the project's alignment with the organization's goals sets them apart as exceptional leaders. In this comprehensive article, we'll explore the key qualities, skills, and practices that make a good project manager, providing insights that can help professionals in their quest to excel in the field of project management.


One of the most critical qualities of a good project manager is strong leadership. A project manager must be able to guide and motivate their team, ensuring that every member works cohesively towards the project's goals. This involves:

  • Setting clear expectations and providing direction
  • Empowering team members to make decisions and take ownership of their tasks
  • Providing support and guidance when needed
  • Promoting a positive work environment and fostering a strong team culture


Effective communication is another essential skill for a good project manager. The ability to clearly articulate project goals, updates, and issues is vital to keeping the team aligned and informed. A good project manager should:

  • Actively listen to team members and stakeholders, understanding their concerns and ideas
  • Tailor their communication style to different audiences, ensuring clarity and comprehension
  • Utilize various communication channels, such as meetings, emails, and reports, to keep stakeholders informed
  • Encourage open and transparent communication within the team

Time Management

A good project manager must be adept at managing their own time as well as the team's time. This involves:

  • Prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance
  • Developing realistic project schedules that consider dependencies and contingencies
  • Regularly monitoring progress and adjusting plans as needed
  • Encouraging efficient work practices within the team

Problem-solving and Decision-making

Projects often face challenges and unexpected obstacles. A good project manager should have strong problem-solving and decision-making skills to navigate these situations effectively. This includes:

  • Identifying the root cause of issues and potential solutions
  • Analyzing the impact of decisions on the project and stakeholders
  • Using critical thinking and creativity to develop innovative solutions
  • Making informed and timely decisions, even under pressure


Organizational skills are vital for managing multiple tasks, resources, and deadlines. A good project manager should be able to:

  • Develop and maintain project documentation, such as plans, schedules, and budgets
  • Track project progress, resources, and risks using appropriate tools and software
  • Ensure team members have access to necessary information and resources
  • Maintain focus on the project's objectives and deliverables

Flexibility and Adaptability

A good project manager should be flexible and adaptable, as projects often require adjustments and changes in direction. This involves:

  • Being open to new ideas and feedback from the team and stakeholders
  • Adjusting plans and priorities in response to changes in project requirements or constraints
  • Embracing change as an opportunity to improve project outcomes
  • Encouraging a growth mindset within the team

Risk Management

Effectively managing risks is crucial to the success of any project. A good project manager should be able to:

  • Identify potential risks and assess their impact on the project
  • Develop risk mitigation and contingency plans
  • Regularly review and update risk assessments throughout the project
  • Communicate risks and mitigation strategies to stakeholders

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

A good project manager should be skilled in negotiation and conflict resolution, as they often need to balance competing interests and resolve disputes among team members or stakeholders. This includes:

  • Building rapport and trust with stakeholders
  • Identifying common ground and shared interests
  • Developing win-win solutions
  • Addressing conflicts promptly and constructively, fostering open communication and collaboration
  • Demonstrating empathy and understanding of different perspectives

Technical Knowledge and Industry Expertise

While not always mandatory, having technical knowledge and industry expertise can greatly enhance a project manager's effectiveness. A good project manager should:

  • Possess a solid understanding of the project's technical aspects, allowing them to communicate effectively with the team and stakeholders
  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices to inform decision-making
  • Leverage their expertise to identify potential challenges and opportunities for the project

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is an essential quality for a good project manager. High EQ enables project managers to:

  • Understand and manage their own emotions and reactions
  • Recognize and empathize with the emotions of team members and stakeholders
  • Foster positive relationships and collaboration within the team
  • Effectively navigate challenging interpersonal situations

Customer Focus

A good project manager should prioritize customer satisfaction and ensure that the project's outcomes align with the customer's needs and expectations. This involves:

  • Actively engaging with customers to understand their requirements and preferences
  • Ensuring the project scope and deliverables align with customer expectations
  • Regularly soliciting feedback from customers and incorporating it into the project
  • Communicating project progress and updates to customers transparently

Ethical Conduct

A good project manager should uphold high ethical standards and demonstrate integrity in their actions and decision-making. This includes:

  • Being honest and transparent in communications with team members and stakeholders
  • Ensuring fair treatment of all parties involved in the project
  • Upholding organizational values and adhering to industry regulations
  • Taking responsibility for their actions and learning from mistakes

Setting SMART Goals

Good project managers set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for their projects, providing a clear roadmap for success. This helps to ensure that project objectives are realistic, attainable, and aligned with organizational goals.

Adopting a Methodology or Framework

Utilizing a project management methodology or framework, such as Agile, Waterfall, or PRINCE2, can provide structure and guidance throughout the project lifecycle. This helps to ensure consistency, efficiency, and quality in project execution.

Continuously Improving

Good project managers embrace a continuous improvement mindset, seeking opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge, as well as the performance of their team and projects. This can involve participating in training, attending conferences, and learning from post-project evaluations.

Delegating Effectively

Effective delegation is key to successful project management. Good project managers assign tasks based on team members' strengths and expertise, ensuring that work is distributed evenly and that everyone is working at their full potential.

Celebrating Success and Recognizing Team Efforts

A good project manager should acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of their team, fostering a sense of pride and motivation. This can involve providing regular feedback, recognizing individual and team achievements, and celebrating project milestones.


A good project manager possesses a unique combination of qualities, skills, and practices that enable them to effectively lead projects to successful outcomes. By embracing strong leadership, effective communication, time management, problem-solving, and other critical skills, project managers can navigate the challenges and complexities of their role with confidence and competence. In addition, adopting best practices and continuously improving will help project managers to excel in their field and make a lasting impact on their organizations.