leadership Jun 14, 2016
Why do some project managers thrive on one project and fail miserably on another project similar in size and complexity? I have seen this happen countless times in my career.
For example, I once had one of my best project managers tell me he didn’t know how to proceed with a project he was managing. The project’s objective was to develop a new and innovative technology solution. “What do you mean,” I asked? “I mean I don’t know what to do, at all. I don’t even know how to start the project,” he said. “Well you just figure out a logical game plan and then adapt as you move forward and learn more,” I replied. He tried for the next few weeks and wasn’t able to get any momentum. Finally I had to pull him off the project.
How can someone so exceptional on one project be so helpless on another, I wondered? I have come to realize that I was at fault in that I didn’t recognize that there are different types of project managers and each type is only right for certain types of projects.
What are the different types of project managers? Here is a list of 8 different types of project manager that I have identified (note: many project managers fit more than one type):
What type project managers do you have in your organization? It is a common management objective to put the right people in the right jobs where they can thrive. So what type of project manager does well for a given type of project?
The project manager in the personal example above was a Task-Master and Hero type of project manager and the project called for an Architect or Innovator type of project manager. This experience helped me learn this lesson and led me to consider the various types of project managers in future project manager assignment decisions.
Now it’s your turn. If you’re an executive, what types of project managers would be best for the projects in your 2-year roadmap and how does that map to your current cast of project managers? If you’re a project manager, what types above describe you and how can you use that information to pursue the right types of projects for your type as well as to develop your capabilities in the other project manager types?