What makes PMs unique?

Author: Ian Needs

At KeyedIn Projects, we know how hard project managers work to ensure the best possible end result for each and every project. However, we’re not sure that colleagues in other offices and departments know the skills and qualities required to be a PM.

We wanted to paint a picture of the skills and experience that are required to be a PM, along with the things they have to deal with that other professions don’t, so we went straight to the heart of the matter and asked those in the know, the PMs themselves. Here’s what some of them had to say when we asked what makes PMs unique...

 “You always have two plans to leave the office on a Friday. The first is you will be out of the door by 4pm and the second is to phone your partner at 3pm to say you will be late, or not back until Sunday morning, or see you next Friday.


“If anything is going to blow up, it always waits until 2pm on a Friday. And that is how you tell a PM from mere mortals.”

“I have noticed that in quite a short space of time, as a PM you can become the go-to person for tricky 50/50 decisions and controversial subjects. Also, I think the responsibility to generate the team is generally the domain of the PM.”


“You can add and subtract one less from any number real fast. 
“You try to arrange your trips through the supermarket aisles according to a critical path. 
“When driving, you try to figure out what you can do during the total float at traffic lights. 
“The term “drag cost” means something other than a Judy Garland outfit.”

 “Change is a way of life, the only constant is the process framework. Thank goodness for the work of PMI to build at least that standard. The PM life is not for the thin skinned or self doubters.”


 “A PM is a communication hub, more than any other roles in business, starting from inception through agreeing the scope, then through the planning phase through the stakeholders, and finally executing the approved plan and communicating status, exceptions and proposed actions.

“Poor communications might fit other roles, but will never make it through project management.”

 “The heart of a PM is to put process around ambiguity and define steps to get things done.”


 “Good PMs are born and not made … You can train someone in the necessary disciplines for project roles, but there will always be gaps.”

It is safe to say that PMs play an integral role at businesses in a wide variety of sectors, and are called upon to fulfill a number of roles at any given time. From critical problem solving, to seeing projects through from beginning to end, it seems most PMs would argue that this profession is not as simple as a regular 9 to 5. The professionals we questioned live and breathe project management, and it is that dedication that sets them apart from the rest.

Tweet @KeyedInProjects with your suggestions on what makes a PM unique!