Requirements for project managers

The success of a project depends on the qualification of the project manager. Nowadays the individual personality profile of a project manager is at the centre of attention, because approx. 80% of all projects do not fail due to high technical requirements, but due to the lack of social competence of the project manager.

In the past, project managers were regarded as technical experts who had to solve a technical problem. Today’s project managers, on the other hand, bear the overall responsibility for the results. The role model and requirements have changed fundamentally.

A project manager today has to understand and master the „multi-role principle“. In order to successfully master challenging and socially complex projects, the project manager has to be a strategist, manager, representative, coordinator, negotiation partner, conflict and crisis manager, psychologist, comforter, and much more at the same time – and all this in one person. Pure specialist knowledge alone is no longer enough.

Changed demands on the role model of project managers

How have the requirements for a project manager with a changing role model developed in recent decades? What should a project manager himself pay attention to and what are the important and decisive criteria from a company’s point of view?

The following overview is a comprehensive collection of criteria that no project manager in the world can claim to be one hundred percent complete. However, it is a valuable support that can give impulses for the selection of a project manager.

Requirement: Process and method knowledge

A project manager …

  • understands project management a holistic approach, the conscious handling of conflicts, an active control of communication as well as the consideration of the environment.
  • thinks and acts project-related and therefore cross-departmental.
  • focuses on the project goals, uses the strengths of its team, recognizes the risk of failure early on and sets clear priorities.
  • knows the broad portfolio of project management methods and tools and applies them regularly and in a variety of ways; he knows exactly which methods and tools are optimal for which situation in the project.
  • is able to create realistic and adequate project plans that are oriented to the size, risk and complexity of the project.
  • coordinates, controls and manages the project management process taking into account the available framework conditions and deadlines, costs and resources.
  • applies moderation, presentation and creativity techniques regularly and consciously.
  • Reflects its own actions, gains knowledge and constantly adjusts its procedures accordingly.

Requirements: Leadership and teamwork

A project manager …

  • focuses on the teambuilding and development process at the beginning of a project.
  • strives to develop solutions together in order to promote their acceptance.
  • sets challenging and realistic goals and is „militantly“ committed to achieving them.
  • attaches great importance to the co-determination and co-designing of the project team.
  • recognizes the needs and potentials of its project employees and promotes their development without endangering the project goals.
  • delegates tasks in the project according to the qualification and ability of the project team member.
  • awakens enthusiasm among its project employees and ensures a positive climate.
  • knows the effectiveness of their own leadership style and adapts it to the situation in the project.
  • is a role model for the employees in the project with regard to the fulfilment of tasks and personality impact.

Requirement: Communication

A project manager …

  • knows the advantages of a transparent communication structure within a project organization and can optimally establish it.
  • is aware of the importance of an active and conscious support of influential stakeholders and surrounding groups.
  • makes the chosen strategy and approach transparent and understandable for the project team and the project environment.
  • can communicate well and has the ability to present complex relationships in a simple, concise and structured way.
  • organizes the cooperation in the project team by defined rules, which are not prescribed but developed together.
  • is in a position to create a positive and appreciative working atmosphere and above all lives it by example.
  • knows the different personality types, can adapt well to the needs of different groups of people and speaks their „language“.
  • can actively listen and ask the right questions, because questions are the answers.
  • attaches great importance to sustainability and acceptance of decisions.

Requirement: Conflict Management

A project manager …

  • behaves actively in case of problems and difficult project situations.
  • does not avoid conflicts within the project team or with the management.
  • acts hard and clear in the matter, but in a respectful way towards the person.
  • Deals constructively with criticism, even of oneself.
  • always takes a constructive attitude; keyword „problem orientation vs. solution orientation“.


The project manager of the 21st century is a all-ROUNDER!