- Trusted advice. Provides great counsel, broad insight, problem-solving ability. Doesn't necessarily have to have extraordinary expertise, but knows how to effectively pull together the know-how and skills that are needed.
- Client focus. Makes the client, not the work, the center of every project. Understands the client's business, technical needs, personal expectations. Tailors service delivery to the unique needs of each client.
- Proactive communication. Keeps in regular contact with the client, providing advance notice of changes or developing issues or concerns. Makes the same commitment to the project team, including outside subcontractors and stakeholders.
- Active collaboration. No mavericks here; understands the value of cooperative problem solving and solution development, both with the client and with the team. Integrates multiple perspectives, disciplines, and services to deliver the best possible outcomes.
- Disciplined performance. Routinely tracks progress and metrics to ensure that the project fully satisfies contract requirements and client expectations. Minimizes surprises, delays, budget overruns, mistakes.
- Inspired team contributions. Knows how to get the best out of project team members, providing strong leadership and motivation to perform at a high level. Develops people as part of doing projects so that their value on future projects grows.
There are other attributes I could name, but these comprise a worthy goal. A tall order to achieve these? Yes indeed. But you don't have to perfect these to stand out because most firms seem to accept the status quo for project management. You can go further and make project management your most prized product. Then see if the value of your design services doesn't increase as a result. You might call it the Google Effect.