Project Manager Skills

Project Manager Skills: What Makes Project Managers Effective?

Project stakeholder needs are increasingly complex and changing quickly. As a result, PMO leaders are struggling to enable the consistent delivery of business outcomes. Our research shows that having effective project managers is the easiest way to ensure the PMO can deliver value for the organization.

Throughout the last five years, CEB has surveyed more than 8,500 project managers across industries and around the globe to understand what skills make the best project managers so effective. We found that project managers fit one of four profiles:

  1. Process-crats: Experienced project managers who use tools and templates to their fullest potential and manage projects primarily through methodology.
  2. Apprentices: Early-tenure project managers who rely on established processes and make few judgment calls.
  3. Laggards: Low-performing project managers that require close supervision to prevent or resolve "troubled" projects.
  4. Entrepeneurs: Leverage their strong interpersonal skills and good judgment to effectively navigate project execution. They are flexible, prepared to change their approach if the business outcome warrants, and comfortable with risk and uncertainty.

The Most Effective Type of Project Manager: Entrepreneurs

Of these four types, project managers who fit the Entrepreneur profile are 40% more likely to deliver project business outcomes.

Unfortunately, Apprentices and Process-crats make up almost 60% of the total project manager population, while less than 30% of project managers are Entrepreneurs who consistently deliver project business outcomes.