Finding the right project for the right project manager….

Changes, that in the end are easy to see aren’t the ones you need to worry about when considering next steps and options. It is the ones you don’t see. An eternal question for architects should we have to find the right project for the project manager or should instead it be the right project manager who happens to understand and value our input to the overall project?

I worked with a project manager once that during the initial part of the first project we worked together he drove me nuts with a risk assessment. He wanted us to consider every possible risk and mitigation we could ever encounter.

The first project we worked together it as I said just drove me nuts. Why I kept asking do you need to have all information? Why do you need to have every possible risk. He answered so I can be prepared.

I worked with him three more times and after the first time I never noticed the risk process again. It never bothered me that we spent 2-3 days early in the project thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

Over the years I have spent a lot of blog space on running good meetings. being a good software architect and innovation. I’ve never taken the time to write down the attributes of a good project manager.

Partly that is because a good project manager is someone that knows where I am weak and helps me move around those issues. They are also someone that understands they themselves are not perfect and understand their own issues.

Great project managers fit into the communication pattern of the technical team and then slowly over time work to move that closer to what is needed for project delivery. They don’t walk in a declare the project is being done this way, Instead they start off by having a conversation with the technical team.

Where are we going?

Then they have a second conversation “what are the risks?”

So simple and yet so difficult for many project managers. The attributes of a good project manager aren’t impossible. They are pretty simple in the end.

  • Good communicator
  • Able to translate technical talk into business talk
  • Understanding of the requirements
  • Keeper of the project plan
  • Reminder of overdue tasks
  • Leader not manager

In the end it is a thankless job often but well done a great job. As a technical person you miss working with great project managers and you lament when you have one that isn’t great.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow