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Core Competencies for Being an Effective Project Manager

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Discuss what key components that contribute in building an effective project manager. Provide practical examples to highlight the discussion.


A project is defined as an impermanent endeavor started to create a unique product, service and results. In order to achieve the set goal, a project team may be formed that encompasses employees from different departments in the organisation and even across numerous geographies. Project management relates to the concept of applying knowledge, resources, tools and skills to meet the specified project requirements. “It has always been practiced informally, but began to emerge as a distinct profession in the mid-20th century”, (, 2017).

This assignment will be looking into which key components contribute in building an effective project manager. To begin we will look into the project manager definitions and the roles and responsibilities that are required to be fulfilled. Thereafter the components, skills, and knowledge as well as characteristics required to be an effective project manager. Lastly, concluding on the information retained and highlighting/recommending the most effective and efficient components identified.

1. Who is a Project Manager?

“A project can be well conceived and financed adequately, utilising the best resources and consultants with immense experience, however, if these efforts of all the contributing factors are not managed and coordinated in a strategic and skillful manner, then the project has the risk of exceeding its budget, inability to meet the schedule and negatively impacting on the functional/technical quality. The bigger and complex the project, the more essential the overall management is needed for the project”.

“A project manager is a passionate, goal oriented and organised individual who understands various projects and is able to strategically handle them, leading the organisation to be successful, learn and transform, (, 2017)”.

The South African construction industry recently lost a lot of middle management level project managers. This having led to many young, inexperienced project managers having to take on complex projects and excessive workloads. Additionally, senior project managers are too busy to provide mentorship and guidance to young project managers, due to the lack of professionals in this local industry. “Notwithstanding the lack of experienced and skilled project managers, the South African Government has identified infrastructure development as a means to stimulate the economy (South Africa. National Planning Commission, 2011: 137).” A project manager is the main contributor of either the success or failure of the project.

“Project managers are laid off during economic recessions due to cancellation of projects. Another reason for layoffs is that organisations did not recognize the additional importance of a project manager. The definition and responsibilities of a project manager are not standardized and the scope of work can extend from administration to high end budget managing”.

In general, a project manager does not have formal authority, however the overall success of a project is under their accountability and responsibility. The responsibility ranges across the managing of interaction between stakeholders, each of whom has their own criteria and expectations for project success. It is beneficial that a project manager puts aside their ego and maintains an emotional distance form their work. Having an overall well-defined skill set and personality profile should be the demanding position of a project manager, (Gewanal et al., 2015)

2. Managing your project – Three dimensions of management proficiency

Undertaken from the seven core competency areas of project management. “Managing your project”, is the one we shall focus on due to the fact that it deals more on the project manager and his/her responsibilities and scope of work.

“The three dimensions of management proficiency looks into:

• Knowledge - can be defined by what a project manager identifies and knows about the application of processes, tools, and techniques in project activities.

• Performance – shown by how a project manager applies project management knowledge discussed above to meet project requirements.

• Personal – how a project manager conducts oneself whilst carrying out activities in a project environment”, (, 2017).

3. Core Components of a Project Manager

When looking at what

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