Have you noticed that there are some projects that inspire you to break through obstacles and reach new heights? And there are other projects that make it difficult to even get up in the morning?
As a project manager, don’t you want more of the “right” kind of project? Well, the key to this is understanding what kind of project manager you are.
Not all project managers are alike. Some project managers are driven by the sheer scale of the project, while others are inspired by continuous improvements. Some like to explore uncharted waters, while others prefer to stick to the status quo.
In this regard, Harvard Business Review identified the four types of project manager as below:
Prophet | Gambler | Expert | Executor
Curious about which type of project manager you are and the qualities that characterize your approach?
Take the Quiz: What Type of Project Manager are You?
Answer the following questions to find out your project management style.
1️⃣ Which of the following projects is most interesting to you?
A. Drive large-scale innovation that requires long-term planning
B. Test new ideas for growth within existing business strategies
C. Breakaway from existing strategies to pilot a new project
D. Manage an on-going project and optimize performance with data analytics
2️⃣ When initiating a new project, you prefer to…
A. Be challenged by “moonshot” projects that your organization has never done before
B. Focus on tangible outcomes based on current business goals
C. Research proven tactics that have yielded success elsewhere to transform internal business strategies
D. Have a strong business case or supported data within the organization to assess the likelihood of project success
3️⃣ What is your top priority to ensure effective leadership?
A. Lead with the power of persuasion and motivate teams with a grand vision
B. Communicate the project objectives and rewards
C. Get buy-in through a well-supported business case
D. Utilize data-driven analytics to generate reliable, actionable insights
4️⃣ What is the most crucial aspect of managing a project?
A. Establish a strong vision
B. Evaluate tangible benefits
C. Achieve organizational agility
D. Report data and insights
Result: The Four Types of Project Manager
If your answers are mostly A – You are the Prophet
You constantly seek to challenge the status quo with bold, new ideas. As a Prophet project manager, you are able to capture hidden growth opportunities based on research and observation of market performance, rather than from internal business strategies. However, disruption always brings uncertainty, so it’s extremely difficult to convince your teams to support your vision without quantitative evidence for success. In this case, it’s best to include a few numbers-driven, analytical members on your project team to develop a data-backed strategy for your project, even if the data points are derived from external resources.
If your answers are mostly B – You are the Gambler
Just like the Prophet, you enjoy leading projects that touch on new ideas. The difference is, you prefer to align the project goals with business goals. So, instead of straying away from the current growth avenue, you seek to update the existing strategy by piloting a new solution, even though it may result in significant losses without supporting data. This can be a highly effective strategy, so long as you factor in on-going feedback to continually improve the processes.
For example, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was set to strengthen the company’s pioneering smartphone technology, but it failed to measure up to the customer’s expectations. The good news is, the project has raised the bar for the next premium smartphones. Change is necessary, the challenge is to realize the growth opportunity and execute it effectively.
If your answers are mostly C – You are the Expert
You tend to find the perfect balance between launching a moonshot project and keeping it viable. In other words, you have a big vision and you make sure that it’s supported by a solid business case. Your priority is to align your team members on a shared goal, communicate the strategic change in favor of the project requirements, and get management buy-in. You are the key enabler for a self-disrupted organization! This type of project management is extremely crucial in today’s accelerating technological disruption.
Intel’s transition from memory chips to microprocessors is an example of a delayed, yet important project that pushed the company forward for years to come.
If your answers are mostly D – You are the Executor
You prefer to play by the rules with a well-documented strategy. You are driven by executional excellence. You understand that while big, disruptive, moonshot projects can transform a business–they also come with a lot of risk and uncertainty. The reality is that executional excellence is how most businesses gain and sustain their competitive advantage. You thrive when you’re working on well-defined projects with clear scopes and success metrics.
Understanding your distinct project management style is important to choosing the right projects and identifying potential weaknesses.
Gamblers and Prophets should consider including numbers- and process-oriented people on their teams to ensure that their projects are backed by data and executed competently. Meanwhile, Executors can benefit from including a challenger or disruptor on their team, who can help them identify opportunities to improve upon the status quo.
In an ideal organization, there should be a diverse project management team that can tackle different areas of business growth, whether it’s continuous improvements or leading innovations.