Project Managers: A Team Member’s Perspective



Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy



While the Project Manager role and competencies have been addressed in various studies (PMI, 2007, Brill, Bishop, and Walker, 2006, El-Sabaa, 2001, Crawford, 2000, Patterson, 1991), none of these studies was based on answers provided by project team members. This is peculiar, since although the important contribution made by project team members to project success is widely recognized (Shenhar et al., 2002) little or no attention has been devoted to listening to their voices.

In order to obviate this shortcoming, this study focused on how project team members evaluate the project manager role and behaviours. A questionnaire was sent to more than 1000 people, 108 were considered valid.

Among the findings we can mention that team members consider the project manager role very important but did not consider many of the project managers they worked with suitable for the role. In addition, the more senior the team member , the less important they consider the project manager role to be. This is especially true for male respondents. As expected, team members consider being assigned clear objectives by the project manager to be fundamental, but contrary to the dominant project management literature, team members also consider fundamental managers’ possession of technical skills aligned to the project domain.

Key words: project team members, project manager appraisal, project followership.

JEL code: M54


By screening books and papers addressing project management topics, it can be noted that most publications are aimed at project managers and, more generally, those responsible for coordinating complex and innovative initiatives. Project management literature had shown that without the support of senior management it is more difficult for a project manager to manage a project (Kerzner H., 1987, Pinto J.K. and Slevin D.P., 1987). For this reason, other publications then appeared, targeted to the senior management which commissions and sponsors the projects. By limiting our analysis to books we can mention: Archibald R. D. and Archibald S. C., 2013, West D., 2010, Englund R. L. and Bucero A., 2006, Love A. L. and Love J. B. 2000.

However, other publications recognize the importance of the project team as key variable in project environments. What these latter publications have in common is that they are still addressed to Project Managers, since they provide hints for them on how to lead, motivate, and manage project teams (DeMarco T. and Lister T., 2013, Brown K. and Hyer N., 2009, Wong Z., 2007, Loo R., 2003).


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 4th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.


About the Author

pmwj36-Jul2015-Sampietro-PHOTODr. Marco Sampietro

Milan, Italy


Marco Sampietro
has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy since 2000. SDA Bocconi is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times Rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member and teaches Project Management in the following programs: MBA – Master of Business Administration, EMBA – Executive Master of Business Administration, GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration. He is also responsible of the executive education course: IT Project Management. He is also a Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University. He has been teaching Project Management, IT Management, and Computer Skills for Economics at Bocconi University since 2001. In 2008 and 2009 he was Vice-Director of a Masters’ Degree in IT Management at Bocconi University. He also teaches Project Management at the Milano Fashion Institute.

Some of his international experiences are: speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, USA; speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, 2010; speaker at the IPMA-GPM Young Crew Conference, 2008, Germany; visiting instructor at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Finally he is author of internationally published articles and award winning case studies. Dr Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]