Measuring the success of a project manager

When it comes to success it is something that every project manager wants; there are however many definitions that can be attributed to the word “success”. With this in mind just how do you measure the success that a project manager has achieved?


Even with the best project management skills and experience there is often too much to do and a requirement to do ever more in the same amount of time. Confirming that what they think they know is correct  is something that the best project managers do, and this usually takes the form of asking themselves a range of questions to make sure everything is as it should be.

Asking the right questions is important. All too often something can seem to be going well on paper – perhaps too well- and asking your project team that all important question may just throw up an area of common concern. A project is more than just the work and the project manager it is the collective thoughts of the project team and a good project manager will regularly check in with his team because they might have spotted something. Anything that helps to improve the performance of a project is generally a good thing.

Little overtime

Even the best planned project will run into issues along the way, but when a project ends up with a lot of overtime this can be a sign of a project manager who has failed to anticipate and allow some extra time for issues and who hasn’t planned out the workload of their project team carefully.

If a team continually work overtime, they are more likely to become stressed and burn out. They will have no time to deal with any unplanned for risks in the project and this has the potential to delay things even further. Delays can have a knock-on effect on other future projects and those that are ongoing at the same time. A good project manager knows that overtime happens for a, usually not good, reason and that finding the reason for the overtime is important in order to keep team morale high.

Look at the bigger picture

A good explanation of project management is that you need to be able to see and assess the bigger picture in order to look at how the project, the team and any problems are panning out. The project is about more than just the work at hand, it is about how it fits into the business environment it is for, how the people playing a part on the project can help best. It is also about knowing the industry that the project is for.

Gets buy-in

There are project managers who believe that project management is simply the act of creating a good project schedule using software specially designed for project management, handing it to the team and believing that they know what to do and will get on with it. Great project management however is all about obtaining and ensuring that you keep buy-in.

A project that is a success is one that is completed on time and to the budget, completes the scope that was required of the work and the stakeholders are happy with. Buy-in, after all, makes stakeholders happy and isn’t that what every project manager wants?

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