The project manager is an important resource responsible for leading the entire project team and delivering high-quality projects on time. The manager must possess a high level of project management skills for implementing the project successfully from its initiation to the closure phase. This can be supported by a report from the Project Management Institute that states, “40% of the project success relies on the manager’s essential project management skills.” (2020). So let us learn about the top 7 essential project management skills a manager must possess.
Leadership – This is the most important skill a project manager must possess, as he is not going to manage the project alone but lead his team to deliver the best outcome. To achieve this, he needs to have great management and leadership qualities that inspire a team to look up to their manager in case of any problems. The manager must motivate his team to perform well and develop a productive working environment for all. He must coach them with essential management skills and make them independent leaders to manage the projects. He must give them proper feedback, delegate tasks equally, set realistic project goals, and review both individual and team performance. If a manager follows all these processes correctly, then he will be an effective leader responsible for managing both the team and the project successfully.
Communication and Negotiation – The project manager must possess great communication skills as he needs to communicate not only with his team but stakeholders and external resources to the project. The project manager’s tone is also very important, he must sound persuasive and talk in a language that can be easily understood by his team members. He must also possess negotiating qualities, as he will require to negotiate with the stakeholders for the project timelines, resources, or resolve inevitable team conflicts. By having this quality, the manager can help everyone to work as a team and make them feel heard even about their minor concerns.
Team Management – Handling a team of members and guiding them to achieve the project goals on time is not easy. The project manager must be skilled enough to manage his team efficiently and bring out the best skills in them. The manager must make all his members think in one direction without any conflicts and help them to achieve the project targets. The manager must delegate tasks and workloads by identifying the strengths of every team member. It is important that the manager helps the members to align their personal goals with the organizational goals. The manager must be in a position to handle failures and successes along with his team. If the team has performed well he must reward them and celebrate the team’s success. In any case, if the project lags behind he must motivate his team by encouraging them to give their best.
Time Management – “Time is more valuable than money, you can get more money but you cannot get more time.”- By Jim Rohn. Time management is one of the key skills that a project manager must possess. Not many managers are good with this, but successful project leaders consider this as their top priority to be worked on. The project manager must be proficient to devise a powerful project timeline with milestones to be achieved at every project phase. The tasks must be divided correctly and priorities must be set for each of the tasks that must be delivered within the project deadline. He can use the latest project and time management tools to delegate accurately. If the manager is good at time management, then it helps the team to give their best performance and achieve higher productivity. (Nevogt)
The project manager must be able to identify risks early in the project so that he can take the necessary steps to resolve them and deliver the project as per the timeline set. Project risks are always not clear, so it is the manager who needs to smartly envision the upcoming risks and get his team ready to work on it. He can make use of the project risk assessment matrix to assess the impact and the likelihood of the risks that will affect their project. He can also make use of the latest risk management tools to derive accurate results. The manager should also have a plan b for every risk that comes to the surface so that the team doesn’t panic and makes last-minute adjustments affecting the project quality. (2020.
Cost Management – The project managers must effectively utilize the cost assigned to every project. For this, they need to plan in advance as to how they will distribute this budget for various tasks that need to be covered. They need to be skillful to plan and set a fixed budget and work within the budget throughout the project lifecycle. Often it is seen that the managers are not unitizing the given budget and then if the project fails play the blame game on the team members for not working within the agreed time and resources. So to avoid such cases, the managers make proper cost estimation plans using third-party cost management tools. These estimations will eventually get better and reliable based on the growing experience of the managers. (2020)
Technical Expertise – The successful project managers are well informed about all the latest technologies and industrial domains. Let’s assume the project manager is currently working on a healthcare project and what if the next project he is required to work on financial asset management or an IoT or Artificial Intelligence project. So he must possess knowledge and expertise about every domain and must be ready to take up any project at hand. They must know to use the trending project management tools like Jira, Microsoft Projects, Trello, and more to manage cost estimation, task delegation, risk management, change management, effective communication.
So a successful project manager must have all the above-mentioned skills and lead his team with the right attitude.
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- Anon., 2020. PMI. [Online] Available at https://www.pmi.org/
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- Nevogt, D., 2020, Feb, 28. The 10 Best Project Management Software With Time Tracking. [Online] Available at https://blog.hubstaff.com/project-management-software-with-time-tracking/[Accessed 14 October 2020].