The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Management


By Ipek Sahra Özgüler


Sertug Yilmaz




The aim of every organization is to achieve the organizational strategy. In order to achieve the organizational strategy and objectives, the organizations use project management. In the Project Management Institute’s view, the project management is defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.” (PMBOK, 2013, p.5). Ten knowledge areas and five process groups are defined in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), published by Project Management Institute (PMI). The knowledge areas are Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resources Management, Project Communication Management, Project Risk Management and Project Procurement Management. The project management process groups are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing.

Most of organizations have adopted the Project Management Institute’s approach and developed their own project management methodology and standard based on PMBOK. During developing the organizational project management standard, the organizations should consider the impact of personal characteristics. Developing and following a defined project management standard, which contains the effects of personal characteristics, increase the success rate of projects.

This paper will explain the impact of personal characteristics on project management in systematic way. In order to realize that the author will explain the fundamental concepts of this subject. After that, the systematic way will be detailed. This systematic way consists of six steps:

  • Develop an Organizational Personal Characteristic Map
  • The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Human Resources Management
  • The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Communications Management
  • The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Risk Management
  • The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Stakeholder Management
  • The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Procurement Management

Key words: The Impact of Personal Characteristics on Project Management  

JEL code: Z00


The main aim of establishing an organization is to make profit. Richard Lambert, who is the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry wrote in 2010 as “Business in some ways quite simple. It has clearly defined aims. The aim is to make money. So you have a measure against which to judge all subsidiary actions which add up to the overall result.” (Zsolnai, 2011, p.175) In order to make profit and survive in the competitive environment, every organization should set its own strategy. According to the PMBOK, “effective organizational strategy provides defined directions for development and growth, in addition to performance metrics for success. In order to bridge the gap between organizational strategy and successful business value realization, the use of portfolio, program, and project management techniques is essential.” (PMBOK, 2013, p.14)

To bridge the gap between organizational strategy and successful business value realizations, the organizations develop their own organizational project management standard based on industry standard such as PMBOK or Projects in Controlled Environment Version 2 (PRINCE2) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). During developing their own organizational project management standard and following it, the organizations should consider an important factor. Personal Characteristics. Personal is defined as “of or relating to a particular person” and characteristic is defined as “being a feature that helps to distinguish a personal or thing” in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English language (2014). However, the PMBOK mentions the characteristics of project- related (project life cycle, project), of product related and of organizational, the terminology “personal characteristics” is mentioned only once as “refers to how the project manager behaves when performing the project or related activity. Personal effectiveness encompasses attitudes, core personality characteristics, and leadership, which provides the ability to guide the project team while achieving project objectives and balancing the project constraints.” (PMBO, 2013, p.17) Taylor listed the most important personal characteristics needed by a success project manager as “flexible and adaptable, possessing and exhibiting initiative and leadership, confident and persuasive, possessing verbal fluency, able to balance technical and human components of a project, problem- solving and decision- making capability, good time manager, a sense of humor.” (Taylor, 2006, p.150)

The aim of this paper is to explain the impact of personal characteristics on project management. The paper will start by definition of fundamental concepts in order to develop a common understanding. The purpose behind developing a common understanding is to ensure that the readers understand the main topic, and numerous details related to the main topic. What is a project? What is project management? What is project management process? What is a team? How could we define communications? What is a risk? Who is a stakeholder? Which type of stakeholder is existed? What is personal characteristics? Afterwards, the authors will suggest a systematic way for considering the impact of personal characteristics on project management based on PMBOK. The systematic way consists of six steps:


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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 5th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2016. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

About the Authors

Ipek Sahra Özgüler

Istanbul, Turkey



Ipek Sahra Özgüler, a project portfolio manager in TAV IT PMO, has more than 10 years’ experience in various areas such as portfolio management, program management, project management, software management, business analysis. She has managed a wide-variety of projects across manufacturing, defence, FMCG (Cola Cola), telecommunication, audit (Deloitte), ICT and aviation sectors and gained broader insights.  In addition, she is a contributing writer of the book “A Day In The Life of A Project Manager” which was authored and edited by Frank Saladis and managed by Elaine Jackson in 2013. Her story explained when she decided to develop a multiprocessor project manager’s system.  She holds master degree in Software Management from Middle East Technical University and Bachelor’s Degree from Istanbul University.  Ipek is a certified project manager (PMP) and Professsional Scrum Master I (PSM I).  She can be contacted at [email protected].


yilmag photo
Sertug Yilmaz

Istanbul, Turkey



Sertug Yılmaz, PMP is working as a project manager in Istanbul. He has specialized in the field of project and portfolio management. He studied Management Information Systems in Turkey and has more than 9 years of project related work and leadership experience. He has served in various positions in the IT services of airports in Turkey, most recently as project manager of the TAV Information Technologies. His professional background includes major projects in aviation systems, IT Infrastructure and Construction IT infrastructure.  He lives close to Istanbul and can be contacted via [email protected].