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10 Things to Look For in a Project Manager

Today, PM’s are doing more (and faster!) than in previous years. Here are here are 10 important traits required for a PM:

Written Communication:

A person needs to have an extensive vocabulary and know how to use it in written fashion.  Always have emails from the candidate in front of you and ask them: “What did you mean here?”  Are they getting point across?

Active Listening:

Most people think they are listening, but have little to show for it after a meeting. Does this person take notes? Can they here when a decision has been made? Are they asking questions? Even seemingly trivial questions can show the desire to know more.

Professional Attire:

Being dressed for success is important – anything less does not reflect a winning attitude.


PM’s are going to be looked as leaders, but we are not all born leaders. Delegating leadership to into the team will empower individuals to be best they can be.


A good PM draws together a team quickly. A good PM will learn first names quickly and use them often. The PM is the figure people look to early in the project, when everyone has questions.  This skill gets the group together and gets collaborating quickly.

Organizational Skills:

Even though this is a style item with many successful variants, PMs have to have it. The ability to be able to quickly pull up an old email, document or artifact is crucial. Organization can be taught within a PMO system.


Getting out of your cube and working with people is crucial. A shy PM is an ineffective one.

Communication Methods:

Sure you email, but do you text?  Yes, it is a phone, but do you use it to make a meeting?  OneNote, SharePoint, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging – all of these are viable options in today’s world.

Adoption Skills:

Too often, PM’s come in with all the answers and fail to adopt a new team’s organization or a company’s producers. Find out early if a PM can learn and adopt existing ways. Getting certified proves they can learn, but not if they want to on the job.


Are you sure your organization won’t change?  PMs have to be fast on their feet and not get stuck looking back into the old ways. Be ready for change, when it’s called for.


Brian Burrows is a Project Manager at BCforward, providing services for multiple projects in Initiation, Execution, and Monitor and Control process groups. Current assignments have also included assistance with preparing RFQ and vendor selection activities.

Contact us to learn how PMforward Project Management Solutions can assist your organization.

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