How to Think Like a Project Manager

Thinker by RodinOne of they key factors that distinguish good project managers from other people is their way of thinking. The way they look at things, the way they evaluate what’s happening around them.

Here are some examples:

  • Good project managers always think ahead: “We want to ship our products in January, therefore we’ll have to decide on a freight company by September. Negotiating freight charges will take some time, so better start finding a suitable cargo partner now.”
  • Good project managers like to be prepared for issues: “I assign my team members specific deadlines for their parts of the project – and the dates I give are always much earlier than I actually need. Something might go wrong, you know.”
  • Good project managers are problem-solvers: It’s easy to feel paralyzed when severe issues occur. Project managers are trained to stay calm, evaluate their options and take action, no matter how dire the situation.

If you want to learn more about how project managers think, I recommend you watch the following video interview with Megan O’Malley, a project manager from Ohio.

Megan manages projects for product launches and line reviews for a company in the manufacturing sector. She recently completed her CAPM certification and is planning to get her PMP soon.

Here is what I spoke about with Megan:

  • Why time is your most valuable resource (0:42)
  • Why being too focused on the end-date isn’t always good (2:29)
  • How to stay focused (4:16)
  • How Megan keeps track of all issues (5:09)
    including Megans punch list meetings
  • Why project managers take their work personally (7:48)
  • How Megan reacts in case of issues (8:45)
  • What she likes about being a project manager (9:26)

Megan reveals a ton of useful strategies and good habits every project manager should adapt. For instance, organizing daily status meetings every morning (as she calls it: punch list meetings) to make sure no issue gets forgotten, walking around to check in with the team and more.

Enjoy the video!


  • Adrian Neumeyer

    Hi! I’m Adrian, founder of Tactical Project Manager and Ex-Project Manager with over ten years of experience in project management. Led large-scale IT implementations and business projects. I started Tactical Project Manager to offer you a straightforward and pragmatic approach to project management, enabling you to lead any project with confidence.