Does Your PM Really Have Your Best Interests at Heart? – Part 2: Organizational Skills and Attitude

February 27th, 2015 by Blake Jehle Leave a reply »

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of professionalism and ethics from your hired PM. From professional attire, to providing transparency, to being free from any conflicts of interest. In Part 2, we will review organizational skills and attitude that you, the Owner, should expect to receive from your Project Manager.



Every project has multiple moving parts that involve large amounts of data, drawings, records and files. These include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes, budgets, schedules, plans, contracts, reports, emails, tasks, etc. One of the jobs of the project manager is to manage these project documents in a manner that provides the owner easy access at all times. And while managing these documents, the project manager should also maintain a positive attitude towards the owner’s project and also one that creates a strong team and not one that divides the team.


Disarray and Confusion

Does your PM issue meeting agendas the day prior to the meeting and do they arrive with copies to distribute to the project team? Are they prepared with pen and paper? Do they issue meeting minutes within 24 hours following the meeting? This should be a standard deliverable, but it is shocking how many project managers operate in this capacity. If this is reflective of your PM, what does this indicate about the project manager’s organizational skills and their attention to your project?

When specific project tasks are being assigned, how does your PM handle issuing the assignments? Do they assign specific team members with dates and have consistent follow-up at meetings, or are the tasks dropped off from any future discussions? Your PM should review tasks at each weekly meeting and keep track of what is being accomplished and what is still outstanding. This consistent review will keep your team on track and your project moving forward instead of backwards.

Are the documents you receive presented in a readable and professional format that could assist you as you provide updates to Board members and/or the CEO? How does this reflect your position and your office to your high level stakeholders on this project? Your weekly reports from schedule updates, to meeting minutes, to budget reviews need to be presented in a manner that should not require editing on your part. After-all, you are paying for these services.

Order and Structure

Order and Structure

What is your PM’s attendance record to project meetings? Are they consistently late or do they arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the meeting begins? Hopefully your PM attends all of your meetings, or at least provides communication if there is a conflict. As your eyes and ears on the project, you should expect that they attend any meetings impacting your project. And of course, they should be providing you with correspondence to update you about the meeting discussion and the outcome.


Does your Project Manager attempt to work with the project team or do they like to yell, scream, and throw team members under the bus? Do they communicate with slang, foul language, or improper jokes?  How does this performance reflect on you, The Owner?  What does this kind of communication reveal about the confidence and skill of the project manager?  As professional project managers, they should be inclusive of everyone on the team and attempt to foster a team like atmosphere with all participants. There are many methods of addressing problems and issues that do not require belittling an individual. If this is typical on one of your projects, then these might be key indicators that your PM has lost his ability to communicate and lead the project team.

Positive Attitude Fosters Collaboration and Cooperation

Positive Attitude Fosters Collaboration and Cooperation

These characteristics are often overlooked by owners and this can have a negative impact on your project’s success. An Owner should request samples of previous deliverables, from minutes to reports to schedules, as well as a clear expectation of what will be provided on their project. It is also beneficial to follow up on references and review how the PM performed on past projects. And utilization of the internet from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets can provide good insight on the person you might hire as your Project Manager.  And most importantly, do your research and call their previous clients!


Next week – Part 3 – Budget, Schedule, and Honest Feedback


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