C. Myblog

5 Musts Of An Effective Project Manager

June 2, 2016

72% of all projects fail.¹ Effective project management can be a strategic differentiator. One of the most important keys to the success of a big project is the project manager.

Equally important is the senior support necessary to allow an effective project manager to get the job done – even when the project manager isn’t saying what others want to hear, put any misgivings aside and take advantage of the skills the project manager brings to the table. In the end, the project implementation will be better, which can ultimately enhance your members’ and employees’ experiences.

An effective project manager should:

  1. Not be a “yes” person. Your project manager should require that any mid-project changes be thoroughly vetted, even if those changes are coming from senior people. This involves an objective assessment from the project manager of whether the changes are out of scope and how they will affect timelines, budgets, and other resources, so decisions can be made with more complete information.
  2. Ask pertinent questions and drill down for their own understanding of why something is being included in the project plan.
  3. Think creatively to get the job done, on time, with quality, and on budget – all while appreciating that the project team members have their real jobs to do, as well.
  4. Without hesitation, give weekly frank assessments on how the project is progressing (i.e., it is on track, at risk, or in trouble) in a way that keeps stakeholders informed of progress, or lack thereof.
  5. Be comfortable asking the business owner to step in, when necessary, to help light a fire and/or reallocate resources, budgets, or adjust timelines.

It can be easy for a project manager to blindly accept a business owner’s requests, especially if that business owner has a more senior position in the credit union. Further, it can be infinitely more difficult for a project manager to push back if questioning leadership is not part of the credit union’s culture.

Effective project managers are able to think deeply, ask tough questions, provide pushback, and say “no” when needed – even if it means saying “no” to the boss. So the next time you are thinking “I wish our project manager would just say yes,” think again, and appreciate that an effective project manager is striving to have projects that are well planned, well executed, on time, and within budget.

For more on project management, browse our previous blogs.


¹The Chaos Report, Project Management Institute

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