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Critically assess the personal attributes you would expect to find in a successful project manager. Go on then to evaluate the effectiveness of the systems approach in building up a full picture of a project.

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Research Brief 5458 - Project Management (2000 words, February 2004) * Critically assess the personal attributes you would expect to find in a successful project manager. Go on then to evaluate the effectiveness of the systems approach in building up a full picture of a project, and finally Prepare a briefing note identifying the method you would use to sub-divide the scope of work within a project. Part 1: Critically assess the personal attributes you would expect to find in a successful project manager. A successful project manager, put simply, is one who achieves the objectives of any given project (Slack et al 1995, p 637). What defines a successful project manager though? What sets him or her apart from the rest in their field? The successful project manager will have a wide variety of skills and attributes that should enable them to work effectively. The following discussion looks at some of these characteristics and critically analyses them. First and foremost a successful project manager must have excellent communication, interpersonal and social skills. They should be able to motivate, coach and inspire those around them. Indeed, 'those around them' is a key point here. ...read more.


The ensuing analysis describes, briefly, what the systems approach is, and looks at how effective it can be. Fundamentally, when using the systems approach, the entire project is considered as a means of better understanding the role of each individual activity, function or component. When applied to the project management process, it can be used to provide a framework for identifying, defining and organizing project requirements in the order they occur. Basically, the result is a model of the process. The systems approach can be very effective when it comes to building up a full picture of a project. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, as is frequently the case in project management, problems are only partially solved during the individual stages that make up the project. Frequently the problem will rear its head in another stage, later on in the life of the project (unless the cause of the problem truly lies within the individual stage). However, taking a systems approach means the entire process is considered and individual stages are thought of as being interrelated. This means that changes in any part of the process will produce changes in another part. This implies that using the systems approach makes the project manager aware of these relationships (possibly via feedback loops) ...read more.


'finance', 'IT' and 'operations'); alternatively it may be expressed in terms of a physical grouping (e.g. 'hardware' and 'software'), all in their own way assisting with the reduction in complexity of visualizing the project as merely one single entity (Maylor 2003, p 89). Another benefit, and reason why I would advocate the use of a work breakdown structure, is that (following on from the previous point) it encourages simplicity. The WBS brings clarity and demarcation to the project planning process. Without the use of it, the project would certainly never be completed satisfactorily, and doubtless chaos would reign. What the WBS does very well is that it summarises visually the status of work to be done; thus offering an attractive alternative to mere narrative. What it also does in this sense is give a clear job, or responsibility, to each team member for a manageable part of the project. The WBS shows 'how the jigsaw fits together' (Slack et al 1995, p 647), thus aiding a comprehension of where the project is 'going', and what part team members play in taking it there. Further, it provides a framework for building up information for reporting purposes. A WBS therefore is an ideal technique to aid the planning process of a project, providing an exhaustive, graphical representation of the work required to fulfil the objectives of the project, in an easy to follow, and understandable format. ...read more.

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