Top 5 Project Management Skills You Should Have
Being a truly great project manager is about more than just training and qualifications. Here are 5 most important project management skills you need to have.
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Being a truly great project manager is about more than just training and qualifications. Here are 5 most important project management skills and how to develop them into your project management strengths.
What Are Project Management Skills?
Project management skills are the necessary traits and competencies you need to be a successful project manager.
While "project manager" seems like a fairly straightforward job title, this role is responsible for far more than keeping projects on track. A project manager needs to:
- Deliver the end product or service.
- Plan projects from conception.
- Map out timelines.
- Create, allocate, and manage the budget.
- Communicate with all stakeholders.
- Execute each phase of the project life cycle.
As a project manager, you need to work with a lot of different people: team members, other departments, leadership, clients... Most projects have a long list of stakeholders that you need to keep aligned, up-to-date, and ideally, happy. When you have so many people to manage, communication is key.
So considering it’s a skill you’ll rely on multiple times a day, every single day, in lots of varied formats. It seems pretty safe to say that the importance of people skills to project management success can’t be ignored.
How to Develop Communication Skills?
- Centralize your communications: Using a team management tool can help by giving you one central place for all of your important discussions and updates, at both the task level and project level.
- Don’t shy away from giving feedback: Even when it’s critical, feedback is essential for growth — and everybody wants it. In most people’s minds, feedback is linked to career development.
- Listen: Whether you’re in a client meeting or an employee one-to-one, simply listening is one of the most powerful things you can do. Do it right — and ask the right questions. And you’ll be able to pick up on what’s not being said as well as what is.
Organization is a broad term that covers a lot of associated sub-skills, 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.
How to Develop Organization Skills?
- Don’t be afraid to set your DND status: That’s Do Not Disturb. Part of being organized means focusing on one thing at a time — which also means giving each individual task your full attention.
- Keep your calendar up to date: Having a shared calendar helps the whole team to keep track of the important tasks and milestones so you never lose sight of when things are due. It even helps you to spot any potential resourcing issues before they become problems.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and project managers: they often go awry. The best project managers aren’t afraid to go off-piste, because one of the keys to successful project management is being adaptable.
According to the same PMI survey quoted above, a change in the project’s objectives is responsible for 37% of project failures, while a change in the organization’s priorities comes in as the #1 reason projects fail, with 39% of the votes.
How to Develop Adaptability Skills?
- Be a little more agile: No matter which project management methodology you like to use, understanding the basics of agile is a good project management skill to have in your toolkit. Even if you don’t want to go fully agile, there are lots of agile marketing and project management practices you can start to incorporate.
Empathy is the ability to understand how others around you might be feeling and see things from their perspective. Empathy is also an important part of the project manager's skill set when it comes to conflict resolution.
As a project manager, empathy empowers you to engage with everyone you work with more compassionately and productively. Because you’re better positioned to understand what drives each individual, you’re also better equipped to help them develop their skills and reach their goals.
How to Develop Empathy Skills?
- Read more fiction: Studies have found that reading literary fiction exposes us to complicated characters and scenarios we otherwise might not experience in our own lives.
- Check-in with your team: Try to connect with the people working on your project. You need to make a conscious effort to see things from the other person’s point of view. Developing that personal connection with individual team members will help you to understand how they see things.
Great leadership will look different to different people. What it means to be a good leader can vary depending on the industry, team, and individual team members. We believe that being a good leader means being able to understand what’s needed to motivate and drive your team, in your own way, using your own unique project manager skills and competencies.
It’s also something that grows as you develop your project management experience. So when we say that leadership is one of the key project management skills, we don’t mean that you need to be one particular way.
How to Develop Leadership Skills?
- Learn from other leaders: Who inspires you and why? Try to learn as much as you can from leaders you admire — whether that means going for coffee with a colleague or mentor, or reading up on a famous leader you want to emulate.
Start honing your soft skills, and you’ll soon find that they become your project management strengths. The best way to learn these project management skills is by practicing them every day.
Volunteer to give a presentation to challenge your communication skills; start tracking your work in a project management tool to ensure you’re always organized and on top of things; and look for ways to engage and inspire each team member.
Published at DZone with permission of Huyen Pham. See the original article here.
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