Here is my version of the good, the bad, and the ugly. A good project manager (PM) has good organization skills and good listening skills, sure, but here are a few things that I think can make or break a PM. The clincher? You can BUY all of these things so it should never be an excuse to stand in your way of going from good to great.
- The Obvious: Calendar
- Every PM needs a good piece of software to do their job and the more people and schedules involved, our jobs become exponentially more complex. (N * (N-1) / 2 in fact). You must have a good calendar that you can move one dependency and shifts or warnings pop up. You must manage holidays and vacation days of your team members too. Pay for the good stuff and you will never regret it.
- PMs are the ice breakers whether they like it or not. PMs are the bearer of bad news, whether they like it or not. They always find themselves in awkward situations, which is why maybe they are so quirky. So having a back pocket story and funny helps avoid the small talk and anticipating killer silence. And go buy a joke book if you aren’t a comedian yourself.
- We are people persons and we have to stay well connected. Send email, create videos, write documentation and presentations, call stakeholders. You have to be easy to contact and easy to hear so having a high quality headset is key to being able to refill your coffee or block out the neighbor-cube calls while on the phone.