Project management is a very complex field. Essentially a project manager has to lead a multi-disciplinary team, manage a budget, ensure compliance with the project brief and keep stakeholders happy; all within a high pressure environment, where time is often a precious commodity that simply ebbs away, thereby creating more pressure.

So what qualities do you need to ensure that your project succeeds and delivers?


A good project manager needs a good understanding of what the project is, what the risks are, how much it will cost what needs to be delivered, when it needs to be delivered and the systems that will ensure that quality is maximised. There also needs to be an awareness of what will happen if the project goes over budget or it is not delivered on time. Without a thorough and detailed understanding of what is required and what will happen if success is not achieved, then the project will fail. This understanding is in fact the foundation to any project and without a solid foundation any structure will collapse. This understanding needs to be firm and solid.


The project manager needs to have confidence. Confidence to deal with people, confidence to try new approaches, to venture out into unknown territory and the confidence to inspire and lead the project management team as well as keep the confidence of the stakeholders.

This confidence should not be arrogance; the ability to learn, to listen and to make sound judgements is vital, so arrogance is a hindrance, whereas confidence is a blessing!

Negotiating Skills:

Any project manager needs to be able to negotiate and to do so in a way that will bring about positive resolution to complex problems. Projects are fraught with conflict during their development and the project manager needs to be able to deal with this conflict in a way that does not alienate people working on the team whilst keeping the stakeholders happy. This can sound easy in theory, but in practice can be extremely difficult.


Integrity is very important because a project manager has the ultimate responsibility for creating something that is new. The creation of this new entity requires it to be of good quality and if a project manager lacks integrity then the project is likely to be sub-standard.

In addition, it is difficult to lead and inspire if you lack integrity. With a leader who has little honesty or integrity the project team will be rudderless and fail to deliver.

Resistance To Stress:

The ability to remain calm when everything seems to go wrong is vital. A project manager who caves in when times get tough or who shouts and hurls abuse at the project team will not deliver a good project. The challenges can at times seem daunting, but for a good project manager this allows them the opportunity to thrive and show that they have the capability to succeed. Being calm and completely organised helps project managers be resistant to stress and they are essential qualities.

The Ability To Say ‘NO’

Project managers have to say ‘NO’ when things are not right. They often have to make difficult decisions and reject work when it is not satisfactory, which means that if you are a person who doesn’t like to upset people, then it will be difficult to be an effective project manager.

The number one priority for the project manager is delivering the project successfully. Upsetting someone who has failed to deliver any aspect of the project is therefore an unavoidable situation. So ‘NO’ has to be said, firmly and without abuse; but it still has to be said!

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