SkillRary

Please login to post comment

Essential Project Manager Skills

  • Amruta Bhaskar
  • May 26, 2021
  • 0 comment(s)
  • 351 Views

Project management skills allow you to successfully take a project from start to finish with more efficiency. Regardless of your role on the team, improving your project management skills can have a direct impact on the team's ability to complete an assignment. There are many project management skills that can improve your performance, but they take practice and development.

Project management skills refer to the core abilities that are necessary to successfully bring a project from start to finish. For example, a project manager must be organized, knowledgeable and able to multitask. They must also be a good communicator, strong leader and effective problem-solver.

With the project management field reaching new heights each day, it has become imperative that one must possess a distinct set of essential project management skills to achieve project success. A project manager needs to have special abilities for successfully executing projects from initiation till closure.

How critical is it to work on these skills is evident from statistics forecasting that by the year 2027, the need for skilled project management-oriented individuals will increase by 87.7 million. Another report by Project Management Institute implies that a project is 40% more likely to succeed if managers possess essential project management skills.

·        Leadership

We have to start with the big daddy of them all – leadership. It’s a bit of a slippery skill in that some believe you’re born with leadership skills and that they can’t be taught. But we think everyone has the potential to learn how to apply proven leadership skills and techniques. After all, what’s the alternative?

As a project manager you’re responsible not only for seeing the project through to a successful completion, but you’re leading a team to achieve that goal. This requires you to motivate and mediate when necessary. Remember that project leadership comes in different styles, one of which will suit your personality. It’s more than managing tasks; it’s managing people.

·        Communication

Communications really go hand-in-glove with leadership. You can’t be an effective leader if you’re not able to articulate what it is you need your team to do. But you’re not only going to be communicating with your team, you’ll need to have clear communications with everyone associated with the project, from vendors and contractors to stakeholders and customers.

Whether that’s through reporting tools or fostering collaboration with chat, file sharing, and other means to tag discussions at the task level, you’re going to need both systems in place to facilitate communications. These tools also help connect people one-to-one and in group settings, such as meetings and presentations.

·        Organization

We hate to be a cliché, but there’s no getting around it: organization is one of the most important skills needed to be a project manager. But while it may be the most typical project management skill on this list, the good news is that it’s also one of the most tangible — and therefore one of the skills easiest to practice and develop.

Organization is a broad term that covers a lot of associated subskills, from the big picture stuff like planning out the project in detail, to the everyday things like personal time management that allow you to get your day-to-day work done and be in the right place at the right time.

And as a project manager, you’re not just responsible for keeping yourself organized and managing your own work — everyone else is relying on you, too. So it’s easy to see why organization is one of the most important strengths of a project manager.

·        Adaptability

So you know that beautiful, detailed, well thought-out plan that you made with all your sharply-honed organizational skills? Yeah, that’s almost definitely going to change. You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and project managers: they often go awry.

That can be for reasons outside of your control, like client or stakeholder demands, or because in the course of the project, you realized you needed to change direction in order to get the best outcome.

The best project managers aren’t afraid to go off-piste, because one of the keys to successful project management is being adaptable. For project leaders, it’s one of the most important project management skills, allowing you to flexibly respond to change in the moment, without sacrificing your whole project plan and having to start from scratch all over again.

·        Scheduling

Now we’re starting to get into some of the hard skill sets required of project managers, and few are as essential as knowing how to create a project schedule. The only way to achieve the goals of the project within the timeframe that has been decided on is to breakdown that goal into tasks on a timeline.

That’s scheduling, and it’s the heart of what a project manager does: setting up a realistic schedule and then managing the resources to keep on track so the project can be successfully concluded on time. There are many tools that can help with this process, chief among them an online Gantt chart, which provides a visual of the schedule with tasks, durations of those tasks, dependencies, and milestones.

·        Risk Management

Doing anything is a risk. Planning a project, big or small, is inherent with risk. It’s part of your job to see those issues before they become problems. Therefore, before executing the project, you have to put in the work to identify, assess, and control risk.

The more you can manage risk, the more likely your project is going to succeed. Of course, you can’t anticipate everything that might happen over the life cycle of your project. There will be unanticipated issues that arise, so you need to have a process in place to handle those when they come up.

·        Critical Thinking

Project managers aren’t the only ones who could benefit from this skill. Most of us are not thinking, but reacting and following a series of responses that we’ve either been told or learned. It’s not such a bad thing. You can sometimes be on autopilot, but you better know how to switch it off.

Critical thinking is simply being as objective as you can in analysing and evaluating an issue or situation, so that you can form an unbiased judgement. It pulls you out of acting on emotions or from received knowledge, and isn’t that what a project manager must do? You’re faced with problems every day when you’re working on a project, and you want your decisions to be impartial. The only thing guiding your decision should be what’s best for the project.

·        Task Management

Here’s another one of those technical skills that should be stamped onto the DNA of every project leader. If scheduling is bedrock to project management, then tasks are mortar that holds everything together. There are going to be tons of these pesky little jobs for you to create, assign, and manage – some of which will be dependent on others, meaning that mismanagement of this process can severely impact the success of your project.

You can look at this as making a super to-do list, which is not entirely wrong, but as you add complexity you’ll also want to add the tools to help you manage these tasks more efficiently. You’ll want features in your task management tool that foster collaboration with your team, help you prioritize and give you instant status updates when tasks have been completed or are running behind.

·        Quality Management

Most of these skills are obvious, right? Well, they are the top 10 project management skills. But quality management is one that is often overlooked by project leaders, and it’s one that needs to get more attention. Quality management is overseeing the activities and tasks that are required to deliver a product or service at the stated level indicated in the project paperwork.

Sound familiar? It’s basically a part of your job that you might never have given a name to or worse, you’ve been neglecting in favour of meeting deadlines. Staying on schedule is important, but that schedule is pointless if it produces something that is subpar.

·        Tech Savvy

Technology is constantly evolving. Just as you get used to one tool another takes its place and you’re back on the learning curve. True as that might be, to lock yourself in antiquated ways of doing things just because you’re used to them is a recipe for becoming antiquated yourself. Tools have migrated from the desktop to online and while this might not be what you’re used to there are myriad advantages.

If you’re struggling with analog Gantt charts, you’re world will go from black and white to colour once you start using cloud-based project management software. Also, communications have moved from email to text messaging tools like Slack, where etiquette is loose but tone is flat. To stay relevant you need to get on that platform and learn how to talk the talk, so you can walk the walk of a successful project manager. Regardless of your role on the team, improving your project management skills can have a direct impact on the team's ability to complete an assignment. There are many project management skills that can improve your performance, but they take practice and development.

Project management skills refer to the core abilities that are necessary to successfully bring a project from start to finish. For example, a project manager must be organized, knowledgeable and able to multitask. They must also be a good communicator, strong leader and effective problem-solver.

With the project management field reaching new heights each day, it has become imperative that one must possess a distinct set of essential project management skills to achieve project success. A project manager needs to have special abilities for successfully executing projects from initiation till closure.

How critical is it to work on these skills is evident from statistics forecasting that by the year 2027, the need for skilled project management-oriented individuals will increase by 87.7 million. Another report by Project Management Institute implies that a project is 40% more likely to succeed if managers possess essential project management skills.

·        Leadership

We have to start with the big daddy of them all – leadership. It’s a bit of a slippery skill in that some believe you’re born with leadership skills and that they can’t be taught. But we think everyone has the potential to learn how to apply proven leadership skills and techniques. After all, what’s the alternative?

As a project manager you’re responsible not only for seeing the project through to a successful completion, but you’re leading a team to achieve that goal. This requires you to motivate and mediate when necessary. Remember that project leadership comes in different styles, one of which will suit your personality. It’s more than managing tasks; it’s managing people.

·        Communication

Communications really go hand-in-glove with leadership. You can’t be an effective leader if you’re not able to articulate what it is you need your team to do. But you’re not only going to be communicating with your team, you’ll need to have clear communications with everyone associated with the project, from vendors and contractors to stakeholders and customers.

Whether that’s through reporting tools or fostering collaboration with chat, file sharing, and other means to tag discussions at the task level, you’re going to need both systems in place to facilitate communications. These tools also help connect people one-to-one and in group settings, such as meetings and presentations.

·        Organization

We hate to be a cliché, but there’s no getting around it: organization is one of the most important skills needed to be a project manager. But while it may be the most typical project management skill on this list, the good news is that it’s also one of the most tangible — and therefore one of the skills easiest to practice and develop.

Organization is a broad term that covers a lot of associated subskills, from the big picture stuff like planning out the project in detail, to the everyday things like personal time management that allow you to get your day-to-day work done and be in the right place at the right time.

And as a project manager, you’re not just responsible for keeping yourself organized and managing your own work — everyone else is relying on you, too. So it’s easy to see why organization is one of the most important strengths of a project manager.

·        Adaptability

So you know that beautiful, detailed, well thought-out plan that you made with all your sharply-honed organizational skills? Yeah, that’s almost definitely going to change. You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and project managers: they often go awry.

That can be for reasons outside of your control, like client or stakeholder demands, or because in the course of the project, you realized you needed to change direction in order to get the best outcome.

The best project managers aren’t afraid to go off-piste, because one of the keys to successful project management is being adaptable. For project leaders, it’s one of the most important project management skills, allowing you to flexibly respond to change in the moment, without sacrificing your whole project plan and having to start from scratch all over again.

·        Scheduling

Now we’re starting to get into some of the hard skill sets required of project managers, and few are as essential as knowing how to create a project schedule. The only way to achieve the goals of the project within the timeframe that has been decided on is to breakdown that goal into tasks on a timeline.

That’s scheduling, and it’s the heart of what a project manager does: setting up a realistic schedule and then managing the resources to keep on track so the project can be successfully concluded on time. There are many tools that can help with this process, chief among them an online Gantt chart, which provides a visual of the schedule with tasks, durations of those tasks, dependencies, and milestones.

·        Risk Management

Doing anything is a risk. Planning a project, big or small, is inherent with risk. It’s part of your job to see those issues before they become problems. Therefore, before executing the project, you have to put in the work to identify, assess, and control risk.

The more you can manage risk, the more likely your project is going to succeed. Of course, you can’t anticipate everything that might happen over the life cycle of your project. There will be unanticipated issues that arise, so you need to have a process in place to handle those when they come up.

·        Critical Thinking

Project managers aren’t the only ones who could benefit from this skill. Most of us are not thinking, but reacting and following a series of responses that we’ve either been told or learned. It’s not such a bad thing. You can sometimes be on autopilot, but you better know how to switch it off.

Critical thinking is simply being as objective as you can in analysing and evaluating an issue or situation, so that you can form an unbiased judgement. It pulls you out of acting on emotions or from received knowledge, and isn’t that what a project manager must do? You’re faced with problems every day when you’re working on a project, and you want your decisions to be impartial. The only thing guiding your decision should be what’s best for the project.

·        Task Management

Here’s another one of those technical skills that should be stamped onto the DNA of every project leader. If scheduling is bedrock to project management, then tasks are mortar that holds everything together. There are going to be tons of these pesky little jobs for you to create, assign, and manage – some of which will be dependent on others, meaning that mismanagement of this process can severely impact the success of your project.

You can look at this as making a super to-do list, which is not entirely wrong, but as you add complexity you’ll also want to add the tools to help you manage these tasks more efficiently. You’ll want features in your task management tool that foster collaboration with your team, help you prioritize and give you instant status updates when tasks have been completed or are running behind.

·        Quality Management

Most of these skills are obvious, right? Well, they are the top 10 project management skills. But quality management is one that is often overlooked by project leaders, and it’s one that needs to get more attention. Quality management is overseeing the activities and tasks that are required to deliver a product or service at the stated level indicated in the project paperwork.

Sound familiar? It’s basically a part of your job that you might never have given a name to or worse, you’ve been neglecting in favour of meeting deadlines. Staying on schedule is important, but that schedule is pointless if it produces something that is subpar.

·        Tech Savvy

Technology is constantly evolving. Just as you get used to one tool another takes its place and you’re back on the learning curve. True as that might be, to lock yourself in antiquated ways of doing things just because you’re used to them is a recipe for becoming antiquated yourself. Tools have migrated from the desktop to online and while this might not be what you’re used to there are myriad advantages.

If you’re struggling with analog Gantt charts, you’re world will go from black and white to colour once you start using cloud-based project management software. Also, communications have moved from email to text messaging tools like Slack, where etiquette is loose but tone is flat. To stay relevant you need to get on that platform and learn how to talk the talk, so you can walk the walk of a successful project manager.

Please login to post comment

( 0 ) comment(s)