I am frequently asked, "What makes a gifted project manager?" Here are few thoughts and ideas to consider. Relationship Skills: The best project managers (in my experience) are able to motivate the project team to meet goals, objectives, deliverables and timelines naturally and in a collaborative way. The best project managers are also able to effectively manage project / program sponsors productively and ensure they stay informed on project status, issues and decision requirements.
Scope Creep Management: The best project managers are able to effectively define the scope of a project and manage the project work to that scope. Most projects are regularly threatened with "scope creep" from the business and the project manager must quickly and efficiently be able to define pros/cons/costs/timeline impact of the additional scope to business stakeholders.
Financial Management: The best project managers are able to manage to a set project budget, report out status of progress vs. budget and effectively provide an early heads-up to the business if the budget is threatened.
Process-Oriented: The best project managers are process oriented. They typically stick to the standard Business Case-Setup-Define-Design-Build-Test-Pilot-Deploy-Measure project milestones and communicate progress against project activities within each of these areas. The best project managers are highly organized and have a strong sense of attention to detail.
From a business perspective, to ensure project managers are set-up for success, here several factors to consider:
Business Sponsorship: What are the "business" priorities vs. "technology" priorities? Many initiatives are not adopted or successfully deployed as they are IT-led vs. business-led. In a tight capital environment, solutions must be developed and deployed to effectively generate business benefit and be "owned" by the business
CAPEX / OPEX: What the current year / future year(s) CAPEX requirements for individual programs/projects? How much OPEX is needed to support the solutions (e.g. people, software / hardware support, etc.)? Is there a defined ROI for the initiative - is it measureable? How?
Business Readiness: Is the business prepared to change as planned per the program? What change leadership and communication processes are in place to enable the deployment of new programs? Business sponsorship must also be considered in this area for without it, projects typically fail.
Silo-Avoidance: The portfolio management concept must be employed across BU's or lines of business to ensure the most effective utilization of available capital. This is of particular concern for larger businesses that have independent operational business teams, etc.