Behavioral Profiling of "Successful" Project Managers


Purpose of this paper:

Given the observation that some people are just naturally “good” at managing projects and consistently are able to deliver “successful” projects, and given there were no obvious educational, certifications, age, sex or any other demographics that seemed to differentiate them, the research question that resulted in this paper is whether there are any behavioral attributes which can serve to predict with any accuracy who is likely to be a “natural” project manager. This paper explores a pilot research project done to see if the behavioral profiles of successful project managers could be created (it was) and to see if that behavioral profile was a reliable predictor of who would likely to be a good or successful project manager. The paper concludes that while there is anecdotal evidence to support such a claim, that further research is necessary to help validate by adjusting the behavioral profile which was created using the Harrison Assessment Instrument.


The paper was based on using the Harrison Assessment Behavioral Profiling Instrument, modified to assess the behavioural profile of “successful” project managers.

Findings and value:

The findings from this paper indicate a strong correlation between those who score well on this profile and their performance as project managers.

Research limitations/implications:

To further validate these findings, more research is required, specifically to validate whether those who score high in the desirable traits but low in the essential traits make mediocre project managers and/or do those who score high in the undesirable or negative traits make poor or less successful project managers.

Practical implications:

This is a highly practical and important piece of research, given the importance of project management to our organizations and the expense necessary to train and develop “successful” project managers.

Originality/value of paper:

It is believed this is the only research of this type being done globally. Although some research has been done using Myers Briggs and other assessment tools, none of them offer the level of detail this research is capable of producing;


The paper concludes with 1 Actionable Item:

  1. To be able to validate this instrument further, we are seeking other companies interested in participating in this research.

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