How Do Good Project Managers Evolve?

Susan Hall
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Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2012

In an insightful piece at Fast Company on project management, Frank Ryle, a 20-year veteran of the field and author of "Keeping Score: Project Management for the Pros," talks about being the manager with the "charm" to talk process rather than just product.


Ryle, who now teaches project managers, oversaw construction and operation of the first Cadbury Schweppes factory in Russia as a project manager for consultancy Arup International. He uses a nine-hole golf metaphor to make his points in his book.


He says though it's considered a separate discipline these days, it used to be just part of a manager's job - and most people learned by doing. What does it take to be a good project manager? Says Ryle:

You should be comfortable with ambiguity. You have to be willing to reshape the rule, the process, whenever things change. It's really important to be comfortable with people too, different cultures, so much of business being international now. ... You'll have to create a bit of a roadmap for yourself, and, hopefully, be likeable enough to get by.

For those who aspire to become project managers, but don't get that opportunity at work, he advises coming up with your own projects. And he's not that keen on many project-management software products, saying many are too complicated for the task at hand.


The biggest piece missing in most projects is a work breakdown structure (WBS). He says:

[People] have a schedule, and they have a budget, and neither are accurate.


You'll hear (as a project manager) people say that, if they had known all the work that would be involved in every step-deliveries, committees, approvals-their estimates would have been better. The WBS will make you better.

You'll find a wealth of resources at IT Business Edge in our IT Downloads section to make you a better project manager, including these:


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