Just for fun, I did a search on this phrase to see what would pop up. My name didn’t pop up, nor did I expect it to. But there were a couple of interesting findings.
First, there was a posting from October 2007 by Social Media Group stating that they wanted to hire the “Best Project Manager in the World.” “Is this you?”, the post asks. Someone whittingly responded with the question, “are you ready to pay the Best Salary in the World?”
Second, there seems to be a line of products for the World’s Best Project Manager including a round ornament, a long-sleeved sweatshirt and a hooded sweatshirt. Interesting…apparently they are reserved for whoever SMG ended up hiring back in 2007 since they were out to hire that “Best” PM in the World…and there can be only one “Best.”
The Best Coder?
This concept makes me think back to my first manager. He was a great manager, a good friend and still a friend to this day. He’s currently a CTO in Minnesota and he’s also the individual who mentored me on becoming a Project Manager. When I first started working for him as a COBOL application developer back in the mid-80’s he liked to tell me how the first program he ever wrote compiled the first time with no errors. That just doesn’t happen – especially to a newbie. I was a good developer and COBOL is fairly easy to learn and write….but I still never wrote a program in college or in my professional career that compiled the first time with no errors. So to me, this was kind of like the concept of saying he was the Best Developer in the World. Of course, he didn’t say that, but he did set the expectation bar high – which is a good challenge anyway. Whether or not his story is true, I don’t know…but he’s still sticking to it.
An Attempt to Define
Back to Project Management. How would you identify the best project manager to ever exist? Here are a few possibilities that come to mind for me…
- All projects successfully deployed
- All projects on time
- All projects on budget
- No customer complaints
- Tracks everything
- No complaints and only praise from team members
- Highly sought out for new projects
The list could go on forever. Does such a person exist? All good PMs meet some of these bullets, but I don’t know of any project manager with significant experience that can honestly say that they’ve delivered every single project on-time and on budget with no customer complaints ever. And who hasn’t had a project canceled or without some significant issues? It just doesn’t happen that way.
The Characteristics List…so far
In past articles, I’ve looked at the characteristics of a good project manager. Since there’s never going to be a ‘perfect’ or ‘best-ever’ PM, I think the best we can all aspire to is something on the lines of the list I was compiling (plus anything else you can think of). Here’s where that list stands today (and it’s growing):
- Good organizer
- Excellent communicator
- Experienced negotiator
- Confident leader
- Good listener
- Well connected in the organization
- Problem solver
- Do what you say and say what you do
- Passionate about the task
This list is a good start toward building the solid character of a project manager. If you have all of these…and more…you won’t be the best ever – but you may be the best your organization or customer has ever encountered.