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Traits of Alpha Project Managers

by Josh

In the February issue of PM Network, the PMI‘s monthly magazine, there is a great article titled “Are you an Alpha?” It’s about Andy Crowe’s book, Alpha Project Managers: What the Top 2% Know That Everyone Else Does Not”.

This is awesome content, especially for an aspiring project manager like myself. 8 key areas were identified where alpha project managers shine:

  1. Attitude and belief
  2. Communication
  3. Alignment with the organization
  4. Approach and organization – twice as much time planning as non-alphas
  5. Priority management skills
  6. Issue Management
  7. Relationships and conflict
  8. Leadership

I already knew the majority of this based on my experiences, reading, and just talking with project managers. The one thing that blew me away was that alpha project managers spend twice as much time on planning as non-alphas, although both think it’s about the same importance.

So why do the alphas get to spend twice as much time planning? Is it because they are good enough at handling upper management and sponsors to assert the need for it, while lesser project managers fold when their time is cut back? Or is it more that non-alpha project managers just want to dive into the doing too early? If you’re reading this, leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

kwiefling April 5, 2007 at 4:37 am

Studies have proven that human beings have an aversion to planning. Given a choice, humans underplan, or don’t plan at all. I think it has something to do with mistaking activity for progress. When a person is planning there is no code generated, no sheet metal cut, no circuit board designed, no apparent progress. Even though it’s been demonstrated that every hour of planning saves about a day of wasted time and rework, people still fall into the trap of under-planning because people respond to how they FEEL instead of doing what they KNOW. (Pfeffer & SUtton, The Knowing-Doing Gap) Professional project LEADERS do what works whether they FEEL like it or NOT! My 2 cents. For more see our blog at http://www.SVProjectManagement.net

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kwiefling April 5, 2007 at 10:37 am

Studies have proven that human beings have an aversion to planning. Given a choice, humans underplan, or don’t plan at all. I think it has something to do with mistaking activity for progress. When a person is planning there is no code generated, no sheet metal cut, no circuit board designed, no apparent progress. Even though it’s been demonstrated that every hour of planning saves about a day of wasted time and rework, people still fall into the trap of under-planning because people respond to how they FEEL instead of doing what they KNOW. (Pfeffer & SUtton, The Knowing-Doing Gap) Professional project LEADERS do what works whether they FEEL like it or NOT! My 2 cents. For more see our blog at http://www.SVProjectManagement.net

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