6 characteristics you want in a construction project manager
To guarantee a construction project’s success, you need to have a detailed plan and the right people involved. A key role in any project? A construction project manager. The project manager puts together the timeline, makes sure all pieces of the puzzle match up, and ultimately sees the project through to successful completion. The project manager is the glue that holds it all together, and keeps your customers – and team – happy.
Great project managers use a wide range of skills on each job, but we feel there are six key characteristics a construction company should want in their project managers.
1. Powerhouse Communicator
Good communication is the heart of any successful venture, and it’s especially critical in construction projects. An effective construction project manager is less worried about their preferred communication style, and is more focused on communicating with their teammates and clients based on their favored style: via email, over the phone, in person, over coffee or a cocktail, through a construction project management software, etc. The project manager understands that they don’t just need to communicate with the construction team – communication with the client is also crucial.
2. Team Player
Usually, construction jobs are not single-person projects, so the project manager must understand and practice these three T’s to ensure success: trust, teamwork and task delegation. A good project manager willingly trusts their team, and delegates tasks to those people, all while remaining approachable if any issues arise. Teamwork is essential to not only getting the planned work done, but also dealing with curveballs (and let’s be real, every project has at least one).
3. Detailed Organizer
A good construction project manager knows how to write and keep up-to-date a strong project plan, which needs to be crafted in two ways: high-level and detailed. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?
Well, the high-level version of the plan communicates to the construction company’s leadership and to the clients the project’s milestones, such as breaking ground, foundation laid, carpet installed, etc. Leadership and clients usually only want to see when something is going to be “finished” versus all of the granular details that go into each milestone.
The detailed plan communicates to the project team not only the milestone completion dates, but all activities in between. This helps keep all of your people in the field on the same page regarding what needs to be done first in a long line of tasks to meet a milestone due date.
Knowing the project plan like the back of their hand is key for a seasoned project manager, as they will be able to more nimbly act in case of an issue. The ability to resolve timing discrepancies and resource allocation issues will only help aid both the job’s and the team’s success.
4. Great Problem Solver
While it would be nice to believe that nothing will go wrong throughout a project, it’s best to plan for the unknown. Although one cannot predict every edge-case scenario, construction project managers need to be able to adapt and keep a project going – even when things go wrong. Project managers who are great problem solvers think about these things: identifying risks, adding padded time to the project schedule, and communicating clearly if something goes wrong.
5. Focused Goalkeeper
A successful construction project manager needs be able to focus on the job’s goals and big picture without getting distracted or discouraged by problems that inevitably occur. There really is no room for avoidance or procrastination in this role; instead, the project manager needs to embrace chaos and failure in order to keep the job moving at the planned pace.
If the project manager is getting overwhelmed by large tasks, they should know to break down large goals into smaller, more manageable parts and stay driven by results.
6. Lifetime Learner
Last, but certainly not least, a solid construction project manager doesn’t get stuck in the past. This role at your construction company needs to embrace continuous education and learn about everything from the latest project management method to using construction project management software to help alleviate manual work and decrease the company’s paper footprint.
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