Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Daniel T. Holt, PhD


The purpose of this research was to determine what personal attributes project managers (PMs) possess which leads them to project management success. Numerous attributes are identified in the literature through a variety of methods, but very few studies relate specific qualities to success. The traits identified in the literature were compiled and condensed into seven distinct skills and attributes: leadership ability, communication skill, decision making skill, administrative skill, coping ability, analytical thinking, and technical competence. A survey method was developed which involved the PM, to measure levels of each attribute, and the PM’s supervisor and project data, to provide a level of PM success. PMs and their supervisors from the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence, a project management firm within the United States Air Force, were invited to participate in the study. Through correlation and regression analysis, a sample of 23 PMs suggest that administrative ability is the single most important trait to possess. Leadership ability emphasizing teamwork, decision making skill with moderate levels of an adaptive decision making style, and moderate levels of technical competence were found to also contribute towards PM success. No conclusions could be drawn on communication skill, analytical thinking, and coping ability.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number