Behavioral Profiles of SUCCESSFUL Project Managers- Results

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Predictors of Project Management Success

The results were:

Illustration 1- Behavioral Attributes that were reliable PREDICTORS of success
Illustration 1- Behavioral Attributes or Traits that are reliable PREDICTORS of success (when combined with the other traits)

Illustration 1 shows those attributes or Essential Traits that were reliable predictors of success within the Project Management Template. (other templates or profiles would have different attributes) That is, ALL of the 28 people in the pilot study scored high in these traits. To explain a bit:

  1. Takes Initiative- ALL 28 scored substantial or strong in this attribute. These are all self starters
  2. Enthusiastic- Likewise all 28 scored substantial or strong in this attribute as well. These people are able to motivate and energize those around them;
  3. Finance/Business- Again, all 28 scored very high in this attribute. They had a ?natural head? for business.
  4. They wanted to lead- So much for project management being the ?accidental profession?.
  5. They were Analytical, but not OVERLY so. They did not succumb to ?paralysis by analysis?. They were able to gather enough facts to make sound business and technical decisions, but did not agonize over making them.
  6. Handle Autonomy- These people did NOT have to be told what to do nor when to do it. Not only did they take initiative, and were enthusiastic, but they were able to figure out what needed to be done and when?
  7. Wanted Challenge- This group tended to be impatient and easily bored.

Subsequent partial studies have validated that in fact, people who score high in these attributes (and did not score low in the other areas) are highly likely to make successful project managers.

Desirable Traits of Project Managers

Then there was a second grouping of attributes, called Desirable Traits. Where, ?if a person scored low in these, it would detract from their overall score. Explained another way, it was not important that they scored high in these traits, only that they DIDN?T score low or negatively otherwise it would lower or reduce the probability that they would be successful as a project manager.

Illustration 2- Desirable Traits
Illustration 2- Desirable Traits

As noted above, scoring high (to the right) was not important but IF they scored to the left, it would lower their overall suitability (see Illustration 4)

This part of the research proved to be very interesting, because when I first started out, I expected that Organized, Planning, Handling Conflict, Managing Stress and Systematic would be the top ranked predictors.

Undesirable Traits of Project Managers

Lastly, there is another set of attributes that were ?killers?. That is, IF a person scored to the left on any of these, it would be unlikely that they would succeed as project managers??.

Illustration 4- Killer attributes for project managers
Illustration 3- Killer attributes for project managers

If a person scores even moderate to strong to the left, it is unlikely he or she will succeed as a project manager. While these traits are pretty obvious, and would probably be unacceptable to anyone working in a management position, the primary impact would be to lower the overall score.

Overall Project Manager Behavioral Impact

Illustration 4 - Overall Project Manager Behavioral Impact Graph
Illustration 4 – Overall Project Manager Behavioral Impact Graph

Illustration 4 shows the overall score, which includes all of the pluses from the Essential Traits, less the minuses from the Desirable and Negative traits, to provide an overall score.

Since developing this profile, it has been validated twice, both by large telecommunications companies in SE Asia. One of them is an equipment manufacturer and systems installation contractor and the other is a major telecommunications services provider. Because of Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA?s) I am not able to disclose the specific results, but suffice it to say that the preliminary evidence supports the validity of the pilot research.

Thus having already validated this with 28 people in the pilot study, what we are hoping for next is a company that is willing to work with us to extend this validation by expanding the research population. By selecting a larger sample group including their average project managers as well as their successful project managers and to validate the Negative behavioral traits by selecting another group of marginal or poor performing project managers.? Unfortunately, while all the companies want to test for their superstars, few of them are interested in testing the average or below average performers.

If there are any questions or people would like to learn more or to test themselves or their team against this profile, email me, or John Suermondt,

Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM