The 4C's of an Ideal Project Manager

Program and Project Management

Mellacheruvu Adi Saasthry
Director, India

The 4C's of an Ideal Project Manager

To be excellent, a project manager should be:
- Communicative - Communication is the artery of any project and information is the blood that should flow seamlessly. The PM has to be communicative to all levels of the organization who are involved. It is not just to be communicative, but communicate effectively the right information at the right time to all the stakeholders of a project.
- Collaborative - Projects are a joint intellectual effort of many minds. The PM should lead any activity in a project and should take a collaborative approach. For example when adopting this approach, the PM is involving the client in project activities from the beginning, indirectly getting a buy-in. It becomes easier for the client to take decisions in any activity and overall it saves time in the project.
- Committed - This can make or break lots of decisions and has a tremendous impact on the project, and on the relationships and trust between the PM and various other constituents. A PM, once committed to a deliverable or a milestone, can never go back. By sticking to a commitment he builds relationship and trust.
- Creative - Customers are quenched with creative meaningful ideas that help them to meet the business or competitive market needs. The PM should be in the forefront with creativity in dealing with client’s problems or requirements. Also, he should be creative in leading the team. Problems do creep in a project, but the PM should be creative with array of new ideas to deal with them.

  Foure-Joopen Helga, France

Add Extra C's: Coordination and Concentration

The four C's indicated above could perhaps be complimented by two others which are: - Coordination, and - Concentration in a horizontal and vertical sense. In this way, the manager's issue is orien...

Management Consultant, Belgium

The Ideal Project Manager is a Leader

Mr Saasthry, I like your points, what you tell us is that a good project manager should also be a leader... I can agree with that, because a leader manages processes, and not projects. Creativity, ...

  Leonard Stewart, United States

Add Extra C: Cool

I would add another C: Cool, as in cool under pressure. A PM must respond to many pressures with aplomb and consistency... another c....

  Asad Ali
Manager, Pakistan

Add Extra C: Caring

Agreed, but I would add yet another C for Caring, because it is one of the most important sources for motivating the team....

  alice fernandes, Kuwait

Establishing an Ideal Project Team

Very good points are listed but very rare to find all of these in one person. Every person has some strong areas and some weak areas. Hence when a project manager is selected, an assessment should be...

  Shankar Lakkaraju, India

Caring / Empathy

@Asad Ali : I agree with Caring; without empathy towards "your" team nothing can be achieved. Feel that the team is working for you not for the company. I think this will take you a long way....

  Mohamed Hisham, Sri Lanka

The Ideal Project Manager

It becomes clear reading the above that the subject of project management includes team work, leadership and motivational factors. All these attributes are contributing factors to leading a project w...

  umesh bahadur, India

Add Extra C: Couragious

Great. I would like to add courage in taking decisions and to stand up to criticism when things do not turn up as planned....

  Frank Yost, United States


@Asad Ali : I could not agree with you more. People are losing sight of what it means to be a true leader. What a lot seem to fail to grasp is that by taking care of those that work for you, you are e...

  Macil Eddy, United States

Add Extra C: Centered

What about centered as in centered on the end goal, and not the project itself. It seems that failed projects I have studied failed in part because the project itself became the primary focus and not...

Accountant, Kenya

Extra C: Cost Effectiveness

Cost effectiveness is also key. Cost-time tradeoffs are to be considered. For example, certain processes can be expedited at an incremental cost, but keeping overall cost within target....

  Madan Gopal Agarwal
Business Consultant, India

Behavioural Traits for a Good Project Manager

Good and useful summary of behavioural traits for a good project manager. As such, any job needs technical / functional traits like knowledge, skill and expertise on one hand (collectively, referred ...

  Prof. Dr. Karl Kuhn, Azerbaijan

4 C's are Good, But Other Qualities are Needed as Well

I agree that these are prerequisites supporting project management excellence. But they are not sufficient, because there is a need for some other qualities to become excellent too, i.e. time managem...

  wil son chnyamurindi

To Succeed as a Project Manager

Over and above all else, the PM should visualise the goal, motivate himself/herself through interim targets, stay focused and determined; not be afraid of failure, and be an integral part of the team....

  Tom Smulders
Business School Marketer, Netherlands

The 4C's of a Project Manager

Very good points, I wish I had realized it earlier in my career. I understand now what the reason is that my company stayed too small over the years. Especially, the first point (communication) count...

  Mark Song
Manager, China

Add Extra C: Customer Oriented

I would like to add another C: customer-oriented. Sometimes most PMs would like to focus on products developing and training and packaging and product brand, but most of the PM's activities they shoul...

  aurelian cojocaru, Romania

Project Manager should be C-L-E-A-R

To complete the picture, there is also the CLEAR acronym for a project manager: - Credibility - you have it or you'll never succeed! - Leadership - Evaluating - with fairness - Advices - whenever ...

  Ioannis Chassiotis, Greece

Requirements for Effective Project Manager

The above mentioned 4C's can equally apply to effective management & leadership in general. And of course, project management requires qualities of effective management and leadership. On top of thi...

  James Kimani Mwaura
Manager, Kenya

Project Management Tools

On a basic level, the project manager should also be able to use tools for project management such as Microsoft Office / Visio etc. for proper documentation, coordination....

  Shadrack Ashibo Atanda, Kenya

Project Manager Traits

I totally agree with the above C's.. enlightening! If I had known all this earlier, then my organization would have been further!...

  Rannona A Rantao, South Africa

Project Manager and Transformational Leadership

I agree with the various comments on the required C's as ideal traits for a project manager. I'd like to emphasize that the project manager as a hand-on manager should lean more towards transformatio...

  Roller Saint Pierre, Haiti

Ad Extra C: Culturally Oriented

What about "culturally oriented". A PM must understand the organizational culture in which he is operating. There are multiple relationships between the project and its environment. A project can fai...

  Robin Lahiri, United Kingdom

On Extra C: Centered on Goals

@Macil Eddy: I couldn't agree more. In many organisations, especially where "project management" becomes a way of life or raison d'être for some teams, the project acquires a life of its own that has...

  Mohd Alduwaihees
Strategy Consultant, Kuwait

Add Extra C: Candid

I would like to add another c (candid) telling the truth in evaluating the different stages of the project. Also candid and nice in his/her treatments and communications with his/her coworkers, peers ...

  Marco Brandimarte
Project Manager, Italy

Add Extra C: Coherent

Coherence increases reliability of relationship and leadership. If a PM is coherent, it's easier for his staff to follow his guidelines: his energy is more effective.
Ed: thanks Marco, your Coher...

  Nzuza, South Africa

On: Client-oriented

@Mark Song : Mark, I agree. As a project manager, you are employed by the client to help them improve their business, not to advance your own profit agenda. So, listening to the client, understanding...

  francisco, Brazil

Consider Replacing Collaborative by Cooperative

I think, instead of, collaborative, you should put cooperative, because cooperative is larger and goes beyond collaborative....

Coach, India

An Ideal Project Manager: Before the 4 C's

I would rate leadership as the most essential characteristic of an effective PM. After all the PM is accountable for delivering the product/service at the right time, place, quantity & requisite quali...

  Mellacheruvu Adi Saasthry
Director, India


Thank you to all of you, it pays really to enrich our thoughts, and experiences, I am delighted with such inputs, we can work more, thank you so much once again....

  Maia de Lourdes Larrea, Ecuador

On Extra C: Care / Caring

@Asad Ali : For Saasthry's 4 C's, the most important thing is to have behind all of these a high motivation of your personnel and all other people who are involved. So I agree to add Caring. Thanks ...

Business Consultant, Germany

Caring? Project Manager must be Passionate too

Talking about caring... from my point of view a projct leader must be passionately fighting for his project. Should he arrive in a project meeting with "tired eyes", what will the team think?...

  Andile Ace Kwakweni
Project Manager, South Africa

4 C's of an Ideal Project Manager

Just about every "additional" comment and "counter" argument that flows from the original contribution by Mr. Saasthry, curiously, unpacks and builds on the latter beautifully. Reminds me of the Knowi...

  Alexander Weihs, Germany

Extra C: Coach

I like these 4C's and would like to suggest another one: coaching for team members and executives....

  Alberto, Spain

The Project Manager Should Be a Good Finisher too

I agree with many of above opinions. Additionally I think that the ideal project manager should be a "finisher", in other words, a person who completes the projects in all its aspects.
Ed: thanks...

  Ana Gonzalez

Culture Matters

@Roller Saint Pierre : I agree. Culture is another C even though is not a characteristic itself (Ed: Cultural Intelligence might be!). I work for a Business Group with 15 plants around the globe and ...

  Oscar Pinto
Project Manager, Portugal

Add Extra C: Competent

I would like to add another C. Competent: a competent leader possess in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge to deal with situations in a background of conceptual understanding of technologies in...

Manager, Ireland

Add Extra C: Consistency

How about consistent? What I mean is that a PM must always stick to the project management process. Don't be tempted to become a hero or make deals with the devil. Just stick to the process consisten...

  Maria Montero
Coach, Venezuela

The Human Part!

I agree with everything said here. In my short experience with project managers I have learned that most of them are very well prepared technically, but they usually don't have the skills to deal effe...

  Oscar Tobar
Consultant, Guatemala

4C + Time, Costs and Quality

I agree totally with these four fields of a PM´s behavior, but supported with knowledge of the strict observations of the main controls to reach the goals of a project: time, costs and quality.

  John A. Williams
Project Manager, Netherlands

4C's are Keys to Success in Project Management

It's good to see that more attention is being given to the 'soft side' (relational and situational aspects) of project management. In my experience these aspects are the keys to success in PM rather ...

  Joel Nicaragua, Nicaragua

On Courage

@Umesh Bahadur: You are totally right. What we always find in the field are questions like: "Are you sure?", "Can you really do it?", "The risk is to high, do you really want it?" You need to show th...

  Ana Lilly Sander Padilla, Mexico

So.... The 12 C's of a Perfect Project Manager...

I was reading all of your your comments, and I thought most additional traits that were mentioned are true. So we need to have 12 C's... 1. Communicative (incl. candid and coherent) 2. Collaborative...

  M Johnson
Management Consultant, Australia

Combine 4 C's of an Ideal Project Manager with the 7S as a Checklist

I like this. Perhaps the 4 c's could be combined with McKinsey's 7 S's in a matrix to provide a checklist for project manager self assessment. (The 7 S's are strategy, systems, structure, skills, sty...

  nan zeng, China

Using the Cs for Selecting a Project Manager

In my opinion, it is necessary to determine the features or competencies a PM should posess by taking intoi account the qualities of other managers and team members. Being ideal is just a goal for PM...

  Anwar Saleem, Pakistan

Caring - Passionate > Motivating

@Bergmann: caring here doesn't mean pampering, caring here stands for motivating. When a leader is on the way of motivating his people, he knows he can't do it with tired eyes. Being passionate and ca...

  Reshma Sreedharan
Teacher, India

Extra C: Conscientious

The 4 C's mentioned are the core of being a successful project manager. But conscientiousness is also an important trait needed in managers as it includes self-discipline, carefulness, thoroughness, ...

  Anwar Saleem, Pakistan

Technically Prepared - Skilled

@Maria Lairet: I agree, being technically prepared or being competent is a must, but competency is only one-third of the project management. The second one-third is knowing the strategies i.e. the po...

  Dilip Khanal
CEO, Nepal

More Project Manager Traits...

It seems that we are stuck with Cs as Shaastri initiated the discussion. I think being conversant with project management tools, strong monitoring, learning from mistakes and the ability to response q...

Business Consultant, Germany

Caring & Passionate

@Anwar Saleem: Yes, your are right. I agree with this meaning of 'caring' emotionality, passionately and in leadership/motivation. The project manager must be a front person, and must be motivate the...

  bhusan, India

Essential Traits in the Form of 12 Cs

@Ana Lilly Sander Padilla: I think you summarized the discussion well in the form of 12 Cs. Each and every reaction posted here is really informative for all of us, let's use this intellectual capita...

  Heather Jones, New Zealand

4 C's in Practice?

The C's sound good in theory, but how do they actually work in practice......

Consultant, India

Creating Team Spirit

The 4Cs are definitely the most important qualities. I believe also Caring & Cool are equally important. I wish to add "team spirit " to the list. A true and successful PM will be able to lead only ...

  Paolo Mazzoni, Italy

Managing Customer's Change Requests

All interesting and valid opinions. In my experience I think one of the most valuable is the PM's ability to manage the continuous customer's attempts to change important items of the project. It's a ...

  Mahmoud, Saudi Arabia

Catalyzation ~ Caring

I would like to add Catalyzation which is very near to motivation process. I believe it's more powerful than "caring". Mahmoud...

  Sam Oum
Director, Cambodia

Add Extra C: Concluding

Concluding is also one of the most important C's for project management...
Ed: thanks Sam, nice suggestion. Can we say Concluding is already covered in #3 Committed?...

  John Moses
Manager, Nigeria

Extra C: Current

In my own opinion, the list is ending. Apart from being communicative, collaborative, committed and creative, a project manager should be CURRENT with new developments and trends in his field of profe...

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Thanks for This Nice Discussion

Thanks Mr. Saasthry for the 4C's and all other contributing members for the Additional 8 C's (or even more). In my opinion this discussion of the ideal traits of a project manager was very good. To av...


The Most Important Thing in Project Management: the Word MANAGEMENT
👀The 4C's of an Ideal Project Manager
Project Management Basics
Project Success Factors
Criteria Program versus Project?
Build Project Support First
Creating Ownership in the Project Team
Agile Project Management Methods
Effective Project Communication
Project Manager versus Business Analyst
Objectives of Project Management?
Are Project Managers Born or Made?
Project Manager Soft Skills
Project Hierarchy Structure
Why Project Management? Importance
Cultural Factors in Project Management
Priority: Deliver the Project
Project Expectation Management
How to Prepare Project Reviews?
Project Management Office
🔥National Public Projects Implementation System (NPPIS)
The Use of Mobile Devices in Project Management
Best Practices
Best Practice: Five Crucial Project Conversations
How to Convert a Project into a Road Map for Product Development?
Leadership in Project Management
Project Transition Into the Operational Activities
Project Downsizing Approaches
Project Lessons Learned
Managing Delays of Projects Caused by Owner

Program and Project Management

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