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What Makes a Good Project Manager?

Project managers ensure projects meet deadlines, budgets and required quality standards. They keep teams aligned and projects on track, embodying a blend of technical know-how, leadership prowess and exceptional communication skills. While some individuals naturally excel in managing tasks and leading teams, refining these skills is crucial for those looking to carve out a career in project management. Success in this role involves overseeing the project as if it were a small enterprise, complete with its own resources, budgets and objectives.

The Henderson State University (HSU) online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Management program equips students with the skills needed to thrive in project management jobs through training in key business areas like accounting, finance and strategic decision-making, alongside elective courses that allow for personalized learning paths. To excel as a project manager, mastering a specific set of skills, strategies and practices in an MBA program is essential.

Skills, Strategies and Practices That Drive Project Management Success

Each of the following abilities and behaviors plays a pivotal role in guiding projects to successful completion:


According to an article from, communication is essential for project managers who interact with various groups, including team members, leadership, clients and other departments. A project’s success relies heavily on the project manager’s ability to keep all stakeholders informed and aligned on common goals. This task requires adeptness in tailoring messages across different communication platforms and to diverse audiences.

The article reports that the Project Management Institute has highlighted ineffective communication as a leading cause of project failure, emphasizing the critical need for clear and consistent communication strategies. Project management tools can streamline these efforts, ensuring updates are systematic and all team members’ responsibilities and deadlines align.


Successful project managers take a proactive approach to planning and executing strategies based on thorough research and analysis of their market and industry, demonstrating organization, prioritization and a results-oriented mindset. Their role extends beyond managing tasks and involves steering the project through informed decisions and innovative solutions drawn from a solid grasp of industry dynamics.

Structure and Organization

Effective organization goes beyond the macro-level planning of a project and encompasses daily management practices that ensure personal and team productivity. Well-structured meetings with clear agendas, defined roles and concise recaps play a significant role in maintaining project momentum.

The ability to meticulously plan, prioritize tasks and manage time enhances the project manager’s efficiency and sets a standard for the entire team.


This capability is crucial in a landscape where project management tools and methodologies constantly evolve. A project manager’s ability to learn and integrate new technologies and practices drives team efficiency and project success. This adaptability extends beyond technical skills, encompassing a flexible mindset that embraces change and encourages team adoption of new tools and methods.

The successful project manager fosters an environment of continuous learning and improvement, positioning their team to maintain clear communication and task alignment.


Faced with challenges and uncertainties, project managers must employ a structured approach to identify issues, analyze potential solutions and implement effective strategies. This process requires a blend of creativity, analytical thinking and decisiveness.

By methodically addressing problems and encouraging team engagement in the solution process, project managers resolve immediate issues while strengthening the team’s capability to tackle future challenges.

Planning and Forecasting

Planning and forecasting involve creating detailed project roadmaps and applying appropriate management methodologies. A penchant for order, clear goals and the use of project management tools are essential for outlining project timelines and milestones. Forecasting plays a critical role in predicting project outcomes and informing strategic decisions.

Through data analysis and a deep understanding of past projects, project managers can anticipate challenges and opportunities.

Agile Software Development

In the software industry, Agile practices emphasize flexibility, continuous improvement and the importance of feedback from team members and customers throughout the development process. A good project manager in an Agile environment excels in facilitating collaboration, managing iterative workflows and ensuring projects adapt to changes swiftly and efficiently.

Agile practices require project managers to be more than just organizers; they must be leaders who inspire agility and champion a customer-centric approach to project delivery.

Prepare to Thrive in Management

Becoming an exceptional project manager requires developing critical skills, applying strategic practices and adopting effective management strategies.

Through comprehensive coursework in key business areas and customizable electives, HSU’s online MBA with a concentration in Management program trains students to lead with resilience, strategize with insight and communicate with clarity in this fast-paced world. Graduates emerge not just as managers but also as leaders capable of driving complex projects and their teams toward achieving shared goals.

Learn more about HSU’s online MBA with a concentration in Management program.

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