Life is a project. As we lead our daily lives, we are constantly planning for the future, learning from the past and fire-fighting for the present. The people who are able to best handle projects are those who are determined, ready to take risks yet committed to plan, those who know their constraints and optimise resources in the best possible way. Likewise, helming projects—be these infrastructure, political, commercial or cultural—requires precision planning and skills.
Projectum means to throw something forward and managing a project involves managing the uncertainties associated with it. Given limited resources, and with costs, time, scope and quality being ever-changing realities in an era of globalisation and e-technology, a management degree may not be enough to helm projects. We need behavioural, contextual skills that are essential to lead and motivate team members.
Now, there are a few qualities and skills that are necessary for a manager to evolve into an able project manager. First is integrity. A manager whose integrity cannot be doubted makes an excellent example across his or her team members. Then, an able project manager should know the art of team building, because a project is a team effort and can succeed only when everyone performs his or role rightly. A project manager should be an effective decision maker. Then, a prime objective of a project manager is to lead towards an outcome that satisfies the end-user. Also, because delivering a project is a challenge, the person helming a project needs to have a high degree of determination and perseverance. What an efficient project manager also must do is understand the availability of resources and optimise them to the fullest potential, and at the same time keep environment constraints in mind. Then, a project manager should be able to take calculated risks. Lastly, because communication is a key driver of the effective implementation of any project, an able project manager should have good communication skills.
The author is honorary national president of Project Management Associates