Bang Your Drum Part 3: What Makes A Project Manager?

Posted on May 2017 By Speller International
Bang Your Drum May

​Don’t go chasing waterfalls – this month in our ongoing blog series Bang Your Drum, we take a look at what companies are after when looking to hire an SAP Project Manager.

So you have a couple of years under your belt as an SAP consultant, and have been methodically accruing qualifications to flesh out your experience and skill set. Where to from here? Well, if you’ve ever felt an implementation you’ve worked on could have been done better, it might be time to consider project management.


As a SAP Project Manager, you’ll be expected to oversee everything that goes into a systems project implementation.

You’ll need to have your technical skills up to date, allowing you to confidently demonstrate leadership in your technology decisions, as well as to enable accurate evaluation and integration of any required software components (commercial and/or open-sourced).

Most importantly, you’ll need to be up to date with best practice methodologies, and be comfortable managing people as well as processes.

Here are five killer qualities that will make you stand out when the next Project Manager vacancy drops into your inbox.

1. +1 Agility bonus

The more comfortable you are across a number of different approaches and project management methodologies, the stronger your position.

The reason? In many fast-moving technology environments, the Waterfall approach has proven not just time-consuming, but costly. Many have found the incremental builds of Agile development better suited to the often fast-changing needs of business, making Agile projects the flavour of the month.

Additionally, since not all projects are suited to an Agile workflow, if you can demonstrate you have the talent to comfortably chart a course through a hybrid Agile/Waterfall environment, you’ll be a standout candidate to any recruiter.

2. Be enough of an expert

Make no mistake, you’re going to need to know how your project fits together, but there’s no need to know everything. Having a sound technical understanding of SAP and knowing the solution requirements for your project – i.e., what success looks like – are crucial, but the important thing to remember is that you will have a project full of experts to rely on. Make sure you can talk the talk, and have sufficient knowledge to know which questions you need to ask in order to bring your solution closer to fruition with minimum fuss.

3. Plan the work, work the plan

If you’re going to be a Project Manager, then naturally you’re going to need to have your organisational skills in order. That means showing you can plan properly when it comes to deliverables and time management. It’s not just lining up all your ducks in a neat little row, however; you’re going to need to show you’re not afraid of making the tough calls on deliverables. If something isn’t coming together as expected, you’ll need to get in there and find out why – as well as what happens next.

4. Talk the talk

This may sound like it goes without saying, but say it we must. Project Management requires very, very robust communication skills. You’ll be working with a lot of people across a lot of moving parts, and maybe even talking through aspects of SAP implementation that are new to you. It’s your job to ensure that business and IT are singing from the same hymn sheet. The better able you are to ask the right questions, and the clearer you can communicate the project objectives as a whole to a great many different people from all backgrounds and departments, the more things will go right for your project.

5. So… manage!

Again, not to state the obvious, but as Project Manager, you’re going to need to feel comfortable managing people. That means managing up as well as down, as you will be accountable for your efforts (often to people who are also accountable for your efforts). When it comes to management, the ability to delegate tasks and optimally utilise the skills of your team – without taking it all on yourself – is a good benchmark to aim for. As for managing up, remember at all times to be very clear about what you were hired to do, and do it to your best ability. If you are proficient in your work, go the extra mile now and then, and are able to benignly influence outcomes for the better, then you may yet come to be thought of as ‘indispensable’!

So there you have it. A good balance of up-to-date technical and business knowledge, a capacity for solid yet flexible planning, and a knack for interpersonal communication are all valuable qualities that will make you a very good prospect for recruiters and potential clients seeking a suitable Project Manager.

This has been Part 3 of BANG YOUR DRUM, an ongoing series looking at Key Achievements and Attributes hiring managers are looking for in consultants, and how you can most clearly get their attention. Want to know more? Follow us on Twitter and/or LinkedIn, and get the latest insights into SAP Recruitment and the SAP industry at large.