3 things to look for in a Project Manager during times like these …

3 things to look for in a Project Manager during times like these …

Bushfires, hail storms, COVID-19 –  we are operating in a world of constant change.  This year has confirmed the adage that change is the only constant.

For our portfolio of projects from international long term complex programs to supporting individual academics with business support services for a paid outside work consultancy – I noticed our Project Management Office step up and make it happen.  So I thought I’d share why it works.

For your project to succeed you need someone who knows what you are striving to achieve and can navigate the risks along the path to get there, be they security, financial, relationship management risks or beyond.  Here are my top three qualities to look for in a Project Manager in times like these:

Quality One: “Alright, I’ve got this.
When others might freeze, a great Project Manager steps up to the challenge and makes it happen. They provide calm and clarity, despite the storm that might be raging around them, they deliver a clear, executable plan.  Project Managers love making complex urgent situations work for you.

Quality Two: Flexible, tailored risk management and response
All projects inherently have major and minor risks. These risks could impact scope, cost, schedule or a combination. A Project Manager proactively identifies, evaluates, ranks and manages each risk, incorporating these into a risk management plan. The plan categorises risks, considers the probability and potential impacts of each risk and outlines how they will be handled and confirms roles and responsibilities.

A great Project Manager sees that risks are inevitable and is always ready to identify early and mitigate. A characteristic of great project managers is that they thrive in uncertainty because they don’t see risks as inherently negative and instead, can identify the opportunities and find the best way forward.

Quality Three: Steady support and communication
Great Project Managers keep everyone clear and connected through regular, targeted communication. They will ensure nobody is left guessing about their role, the responsibility to act and the context in responding to emerging risks, no matter how abrupt the change.

Ellen Bussell
Head of Project Management | ANU Enterprise

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