The project management field is constantly evolving and to be successful various set of skills for project managers are must-have. Not only they have to master them, they must constantly improve essential skills for project management and develop additional management skills if there is need.
One of the reasons is the fact that, today, the global economy has become more project-oriented and every kind of organization recognizes project management as a strategic competence that is vital for business success.
If we take into account the PMI’s “Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017– 2027” reports where is stated that by 2027, employers will need 87.7 million individuals working in project management-oriented roles, we can understand why need for project managers with competencies and skills is growing fast.
Although, all that makes the project manager’s job more competitive and challenging, there are some basic and essential skills project managers need to have for successful project management. After learning these skills and with the right tools and techniques, some experience and good software for managing project, every project manager can be successful.
How to become a project manager
Before deciding on a project manager profession, you need to see if that career is for you. Talk to other project managers, ask them questions, or apply for a project management internship. You can also take some online courses to gain insight into this area. Typically, these courses provide tasks that are designed to interact with this business branch and see if you can handle its responsibilities.
Project Manager Essential Skills
Each new survey produces a different list of the top 10 essential skills project manager need to have, which just goes to show that a ‘model’ project manager does not exist. Every individual approaches project management differently, bringing with them unique management skills and abilities that they devote to getting the job done in the best way they know how.
According to the PMI Talent Triangle®, project managers should have a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise as well as digital skills.
We will try to be more specific. To be an effective project manager, besides technical project management skills, basic and most important project management skills to master are:
- Risk Management
- Cost management
Essential Project Management Skills for Smoother Work
For project manager leadership is probably most important skill. In order that everyone sees him as a leader, the project manager always must lead by example. When there is a huge team working under him, setting the examples is the best way to manage them. It’s simple – if the project manager can lead, a project team can deliver.
This means that the project manager should have the interpersonal skills necessary to build, motivate, lead, and inspire a project team to perform well and achieve the project objectives. He must be able to develop a trusting, dynamic and productive atmosphere inside the team. Also, he must be able to motivate the team by providing challenges and opportunities and help them understand the importance of the project.
He must encourage collaborative problem-solving and decision-making, resolve conflicts, recognize and reward good performance and all time provide whatever support is needed to the team.
For project manager communication is the cornerstone of effective project management. Communication breakdowns are continuously cited as one of the key reasons that projects fail, which is why for successful project management communication skills are a must-have skill for project managers.
The role of the project manager is one of communications facilitator. That does not mean he or she sends all of the communications. It means that the project manager is responsible for ensuring that communications are sent, received, and understood.
Excellent communication on a project is required in order to maximize collaboration and work together as effectively as possible. Most of project manager interaction with the stakeholders and the project board will focus on communication. But with the project team, collaboration is the focus: as project managers are responsible both for leading the team and for fostering an environment in which the team can collaborate effectively.
For project planning process is probably the most important phase. It is at the heart of the project life cycle and tells everyone involved where they going and how to get there.
The project manager must know how to create the project management plan that deﬁnes how the project is executed, monitored, controlled, and closed.
How to respond to an ever-changing project environment, clear project definition and detailed objectives are critical to the success of the project. If the definition and objectives are ambiguous, unrealistic, not agreed upon, or not written down, the project is in serious trouble before it begins.
With well-developed plans, the project team is being utilized efficiently and without delay, the project starts on a sound footing and provides the team with a mandate for action and a clear direction to follow.
The project schedule explains what work needs to be performed, which resources of the organization will perform the work and the time-frames in which that work needs to be performed.
The project schedule reflect all of the work associated with delivering the project on time. Without a good and detailed schedule plan that represents how and when the project will deliver, the project manager can’t manage project schedule and direct the team’s entire effort in the right direction.
That’s why, the project manager must be able to create a detailed project schedule that will remain flexible throughout the project and that will adjust to gained knowledge, increased understanding of the risk, and value-added activities.
Whether he is using a predictive development life cycle or manages projects in adaptive environments, the project manager must know proper project scheduling techniques. understand how to apply them effectively.
5. Risk Management
There is no project without risk and project managers can’t foresee all scenarios and eliminate all risks.
There are good and bad surprises and every project manager that is long enough in a „game“ came across both of them. Good ones are, of course, welcomed because they have a positive impact on the project but the bad ones…
Therefore, despite the uncertainties of a changing environment, to provide the best chance for successful accomplishment of the project, the project manager must know how to create an efficient risk management plan.
By that, we mean that he must be able to identify possible risks and assess the impact of project risks, explores strategies and develop plans for minimizing any negative effects that they might have on the project.
“Managing Uncertainty: Strategies for Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times” by Michel Syrett and Marion Devine is a great introduction to risky environments in project management.
6. Cost Management
Budgets are tight and costs can be a major source of frustration in a project. Cost performance determines a positive project outcome and project manager must have the ability to control the budget.
The project manager must know how to create a plan for cost management that will define how the project costs will be estimated, budgeted, managed, monitored, and controlled.
Also, a good understanding of where costs can get out of control, careful monitoring and quick corrective actions are essential for effective cost management of a project.
Of course, there are many more skills besides this and be sure that there will be a need for many new skills in the future.
We know this seems too much, but the thing is, if you enjoy working with people, solve problems, develop and learn new things, you’ll love the world of project management. Besides, everyone has the skills & resources to become a project manager. All these skills can be learned, it just takes time and commitment to master them.
Does a project manager need to have technical skills?
Should a project manager should have technical skills in the area of the project work? This question is often the subject of discussion.
Some people says, Technical skills are not mandatory however, project managers should have a basic understanding of the technical aspects. This helps to better understand the overall solution, technical challenges and related risks.
The real answer is actually quite simple – it all depends on the size and complexity of the project.
If the project is small, then it may be that project manager may also be completing some technical work on the project.
If the project is large and complex then, without doubt, project manager needs to be focussed totally on one thing and one thing only, the management of the project. .
Project Management Software
Development of technology and various software solutions for project management are making it much easier to achieve great results without having extensive project management training.
Also, project management ranks among the highest-paid careers so know that if you put a lot of effort and dedication, in the end, it will be worth it.
It’s a diverse and above all not boring career because no two projects are ever the same and every day is different.