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Brilliant project manager?

Jeroen Kleijne, describes what he thinks makes a project manager stand out. Jeroen is a Project Management Director at ICON

1. Communication

Being a project manager really means being a leader and all good leaders find the perfect balance between listening and giving orders. This is a very important characteristic and, crucially, it’s one that can be taught. I’ve coached a number of PMs when they were new to the role and they’ve felt under pressure to have all the answers but this is not the case. Talking and interacting with your team makes sense for everyone – you have a pool of experts who will be happy to discuss issues with you, they don’t just expect you to automatically have every answer.

Having the confidence to use the experts in your team is a far better management strategy then pretending to know everything and tripping yourself up.

2. Vision


Your role is not to be overly focused on the day to day business but to always have one eye on the future. Forward planning, the ability to see potential issues in the future and plan different solutions. The start-up process particularly requires the ability to work on long term risk analysis.

3. Presentation


Presentations form an important part of the Project Manager role at ICON and I place real value on the ability to get to the heart of the matter. The nature of our business means that there are often reams of data to be worked through but making presentations accessible and powerful in a few slides is far more valuable than having hundreds of slides to get through. I’m much more impressed with simple graphs and tables that clearly explain what’s going on. This is all about understanding your audience – as a PM you will often present to senior team members and they need a high level overview so any potential issues are flagged.

4. Ownership


Our project managers have 100% ownership over their trials, it is your study and it is your team. As such taking pride and responsibility is very important. You will be working with a number of different departments and forging relationships with clients and you need to take accountability for everything that happens. This is what it means to be a leader.

5. Preparation


Before you’re even become the PM on a trial you have to win it. Working with the business development team you will be closely involved in pitching to the client and gaining their trust. However, what really stands out for me isn’t the pitch, it’s the preparation. Good preparation really builds up your credibility within the business, particularly with senior management (who call our rising stars “rock stars”!). The better prepared you are the more confident you’ll be in getting the message across and this will impress the potential client.

It is a high pressure job, but the rewards are well worth it - it’s a highly satisfying area to be involved in. If you’d like to learn more about the project management roles we currently have available take a look here
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