Anyone who has told you project management is a straightforward job has likely never attempted to complete a project in their life.
Not only is project management not a straightforward job, it’s a whole series of not straightforward jobs involving the inception, outlining, implementing, supervising, and wrapping up of many different tasks.
On top of that all of these tasks must be completed on time and on budget, so it’s little wonder that most project managers end up using project management software to keep everything going smoothly.
There are 10 key skills a good project manager needs in order to get it all done successfully.
Read on to discover some skills you may already know, and some skills you didn’t even know you needed.
This is the key ability all project managers need to have.
We have all been in the unfortunate position of working for a manager possessing no leadership skills, and it’s not fun.
The good news is that contrary to common belief – that leadership skills are born and not made – anyone can learn basic leadership practises, and develop it into a first class management ability.
If you are serious about your project management career, you’ll want to develop this skill, as you’ll be dealing with tasks and more importantly people – all the way from first meeting to project completion. It’s the glue that will hold the whole project together.
Information Relaying Skills
While this is closely related to leadership skills, its often something even experienced leaders can struggle with. Unfortunately, it’s hard to be a really great leader if you are unable to accurately convey information and instructions to your team.
These skills reach farther than your team, you’ll also need to clearly communicate with people project wide. Merchants, contractors, shareholders & clients will all need to be kept up to speed on various platforms, so its super important to keep your communications clear and easily tracked.
Timing Organization Skills
Scheduling the timing of assets and deliverables in the many stages of a project is one of the hardest aspects of project management. It is so important that they are all completed on time so the next job can begin, and any one element falling behind can jeopardize the whole project.
Happily, there is no need to try and keep a complicated calendar of dependencies in your head. There are several wonderful online tools to help you ensure you are hitting all the milestones on time.
Risk Handling Skills
Projects are full of risk. You will have planned and mapped out strategies to potential risks during the opening stages of your planning, but where your skills also need to shine is mid project. By carefully identifying, appraising, and curbing risks as they arise you can help your team through difficulty and make the entire project process smoother.
Cost Control Skills
No project can move forward without a well-planned, accurate budget set in the initial stages. Your cost control skills will enable you to ensure the projected budget is realistic and has taken into consideration all the aspects of the projected outcome.
It takes real skill to ensure the budget is not exceeded at any stage during the project, and you will need to use your abilities to make informed decisions when unexpected expenses crop up.
If you already have great communication skills you’ll likely be experienced in negotiation.
You can limit negotiation by extensive pre-planning and using a scope statement to head off any late requests and changes, but inevitably you will have to deal with a later stage demand from your clients that will impact the budget or deadline.
You may have to negotiate a budget or deadline change, or even to deny their request if it’s not feasible, but with your skills they will leave the conversation knowing that it’s in their best interests and be happy with the outcome.
Of course you will have to use your negotiation tactics within your team as well, any close working group will have its own conflict, this must be handled by the project manager to ensure the project moves along.
Rational & Critical Reasoning Skills
It’s a very human trait to react before thinking around sudden events, and most of us have a hard time mentally stepping back to assess a situation before making rash instinctive decisions.
A good project manager will develop the ability to judge impartially making informed decisions in any situation no matter how stressful, always with a view to the finished project and what’s best for its successful completion.
Task Administration Skills
It’s the small things they say, and in project management its true. While most have their eye on the bigger aspects of the job, it’s the small tasks that make the bigger ones achievable. These little jobs can get lost in the storm of hard work, and many project managers have found themselves unable to move forward due to an earlier small task not being completed.
The trouble is that these small jobs are numerous and need to be tracked well. This is where a management tool will come in handy, so you can tag a team member to take care of it at the right time and see for yourself that it has been done.
Quality Supervision Skills
Often overlooked, the skills required to oversee completed work making sure it meets the set expectations often disappear when deadlines are looming.
Develop your skills here to make sure your team is producing quality deliverables at all stages through the project. Deadlines are key but mean nothing if what’s delivered is inadequate.
Ability to Laugh Skills
Projects can be tense, your whole team is working hard, facing tight deadlines and budget restraints so things can get edgy at times. It’s ok to lighten up and lift the mood around the office.
You need to be able to laugh at yourself and the difficult situations that can arise. It’s a great stress relief for you, your team will see you as a team-mate, and it will improve morale for an all-round pleasant working environment.
Developing a successful skillset in project management is a matter of time and experience.
Make your journey a little more straightforward by using project management tools and software to help you on your way.