Friday, April 25, 2008

An Integrated List of Predictors for Project Managers

Given below is a list of Predictors for people who are seriously interested in pursuing Project Management as a career option. I read this in the book “Leadership Skills for Project Managers” by Jeffrey K. Pinto and Jeffrey W. Trailer (eds.). It is a slightly long list, but be assured that it is worth the time.
The first set, "Problem Solving" is a logical result of three predictors, ranging from problem analysis to decision-making. The predictor, "Problem Analysis," deals with a person's ability to handle information; it is the most closely related to her mental and intellectual potential. The predictor, "Judgment and Practical Sense," based largely on the candidate's experience, refers to the actual content of the solutions or decisions proposed. Finally, "Decisiveness" represents the tendency to make decisions or apply solutions, regardless of their quality.
The second set, "Administration" brings together what are usually known as management skills ("Planning and Organization" and "Control"), political aspects ("Strategy and Organizational Know-How"), and technical aspects ("Specialized Knowledge") of management.
The third set contains the main predictors relating to "Supervision and Project Team Management" The first four predictors are concerned with the manager's behavior toward individual team members, and the other two, with management of the team as a whole.
The fourth set is composed of basic general skills in "Interpersonal Relations"
The last set, "Other Personal Qualities" lumps together various other personal characteristics.

Problem Solving
1.Problem Analysis

  • Mental and conceptual abilities
  • Ability to deal quickly with large quantities of information
  • Identify significant problems
  • Look beyond symptoms to find the cause
  • Gather and analyze data that are essential to make a diagnosis
  • Develop all possible solutions and their consequences

2.Judgment and Practical Sense

  • Choose wisely among possible solutions
  • Make decisions and apply solutions that take into account the constraints of the project and its environment
  • Always bear in mind the overall perspective of the project and not just one of its facets; concentrate on the problem as a whole
  • Decisiveness
  • Propensity to make decisions
  • Committed to decisions, even in difficult or delicate situations where the consequences could be personally unpleasant
  • Set up a concrete strategy for implementing the decision (action planning, delegating responsibilities, fixing objectives, follow-up mechanisms and assessing results)

Administration
3.Planning and Organization

  • Identify objectives and priorities
  • Establish work timetables
  • Organize resources to achieve the objectives
  • Define tasks and work methods

4.Control

  • Maintain everyday activities in line with objectives and project deadlines
  • Ensure follow-up and make corrections if necessary
  • Follow budgets and exercise financial control

5.Strategy and Organizational Know-How

  • Take steps to be well informed
  • Build formal and informal collaboration networks
  • Know who to talk to outside the team or service when necessary
  • Know the organization and its operation
  • Ability to work in harmony with the organization's political reality
  • Ability to implicate others to reach objectives

6.Specialized Knowledge

  • Know the information, principles, theories, and techniques that are useful for the various tasks to be done
  • This knowledge can be related to management (planning and control tools, accounting, finance, contracts, decision-making tools, behavioral sciences, and so on), the technology to be used, the product or service offered, the market, production, or marketing

Supervision and Project Team Management

7.Delegation of Responsibilities

  • Believe fundamentally in others
  • Structure clearly the tasks to be carried out, while leaving enough latitude for initiative on the part of team members
  • Delegate responsibility to the appropriate level
  • Share part of the responsibility with team members
  • Allocate authority and resources to team members to enable them to make significant decisions in their fields of responsibility and competence
  • Ability to work with subordinates who are clearly identified as experts in their fields without being either too direct or too deferential

8.Team Structuring

  • Structure tasks to be carried out and communicate them clearly (see no. 4, Planning and Organization)
  • Ability to use power unilaterally
  • Use reinforcement to stimulate team members
  • Establish control mechanisms that favor task accomplishment according to objectives and correct them if necessary (see no. 5, Control)

9.Consideration toward Team Members

  • Behave kindly toward team members
  • Identify their needs and ensure their satisfaction
  • Fair

10.Development of Team Members

  • Frequently assess the performance of each team member and give him feedback
  • Identify training needs of team members on the basis of their present and future tasks
    Set up training strategies and ensure they are carried out
  • Demonstrate the importance of training by devoting financial and human resources and personal time to it

11.Teamwork, Flexibility, and Cooperation

  • Ability to work as part of a group
  • Recognize the circumstances that require teamwork or a team decision
  • Maintain a climate that encourages the participation and implication of each team member
    Receptive toward other people's points of view
  • Prepared to change own opinion and compromise

12.Resolving Conflicts

  • Ability to coordinate specialists from different fields
  • Recognize a conflicting situation and resolve it efficiently (see A, Problem Solving)
  • Know conflict psychology
  • Interpersonal Relations

13.Oral Communication

  • Communicate efficiently in exchanges with others
  • Make efficient verbal presentations
  • Concretize communications in respect to the project

14.Interpersonal Influence, Persuasion, and Negotiation

  • Aware of the feelings, needs, and expectations of others
  • Conscious of the effect of one's behavior on others
  • Ability to influence others toward realizing objectives
  • Bring interlocutor around to own point of view while maintaining a good relationship

15.Ascendancy

  • Liking for command
  • Need to dominate others and not be dominated
  • Concerned by one's influence on others

Other Personal Qualities
16.Need to Achieve and be Proactive

  • Need to excel, to achieve something unique
  • Constant desire to do better, to be the best
  • Directed toward action and results
  • Dynamism, relentlessness, energy
  • Optimism, belief in ability to influence events around oneself

17.Self Confidence, Maturity, and Emotional Stability

  • Confidence in self and abilities
  • Ready to live with personal consequences of difficult decisions (see No. 3, Decisiveness)
  • Emotionally stable and strong
  • Able to control emotions
  • Short- and long-term resistance to stress

18.Loyalty, Honesty, and Integrity

  • Endorse the organization's politics and values
  • Place the organization's interests before own
  • Respect superiors
  • Respect engagements
  • Professional and personal integrity

19.Tolerance toward Ambiguity and Openness to Change

  • Accept uncertainty and unforeseen circumstances that are inevitable during a project
  • Desire to work among more supple organizational structures such as matrical structure or its variants
  • Propensity to change plans, approaches, strategies, policies, or practices according to the demands of the situation

20.Interest in the Job

  • Intrinsic motivation for the work itself and its different activities
  • Hopes and career plan that correspond to the opportunities offered
  • Interest in the working conditions (place, timetable, salary, and so on)

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