Managing projects is like doing multiple jobs at the same time. A project manager leads the project through all the stages to completion at the same time managing the project team and controlling deadline and budget.
This demanding job requires certain skills that a person needs to master in order to become a successful project manager. Below you will find a list of what we think are the most important skills for the modern project manager.
Planning and Scheduling
A planning skill is behind a project success. It can be described as an ability to organize goals, break them into tasks, set timelines and adjust in the process. Project plan takes into account many things: client’s requirements, project scope, stakeholders’ wishes, team’s resources and many more smaller details. Planning and scheduling is about making the process as efficient as possible.
This skill is the core of a project manager’s job. His days are full of communication with the team, with vendors, with project stakeholders and the customers. So the ability to pass an information to another person in a clear and effective way and to listen and understand other people is an absolutely necessary skill.
Communication helps to identify issues at their beginning and to address them before they bring real harm to the project. It helps to make sure that all sides involved in the project – team members, stakeholders, clients, and project manager – stay on the same page. Communication build trust and positive relationship.
Every project leader knows that managing project is like playing politics. The project involves different people, sometimes with different interests and goals. The job of the project manager is to find a common ground for everybody.
Negotiation is a skill that a project manager uses every day. Answering the demands of stakeholders, resource requests from the team, terms of third parties – some of these discussions can become pretty heated too, if not handled correctly. So high-level negotiation skill is a must for every project manager.
The project manager is in charge of a team with dozens of different tasks, so there is an endless list of things to keep in mind and items in a to-do list. So a knowledge of time management is really helpful. An experienced project manager can set priorities so that the most important things are addressed first.
But it’s not so simple to tell what is important and what can be done later. There are some time management techniques such as Covey’s time management matrix that can help.
Consider implementing time-tracking software and start logging your team’s time on the project’s tasks. It might take some resources at the beginning, but eventually, it will bring such benefits as a clear view of the team’s workload and struggles.
As the project manager leads the team, a leadership is a cornerstone skill for this job. You need to be able to set the goals and motivate the team to achieve them. It’s a project manager’s job to make sure that the process is running smoothly, to deal with all the conflicts, questions, and requests, to evaluate team performance and give them feedback.
Any project involves risks. There are things that won’t go as planned. So the job of the project manager is to identify possible risks and create a plan on how to address them if they arise. The earlier you think about risks, the better the chances to avoid them.
Risk management shows a project manager’s professional level. The clients and projects stakeholders will appreciate a timely delivery and a smooth process. There is a great article on HBR that examines the types of risks in modern projects and gives real-life examples.
The number of things that the project manager has to think about might be overwhelming for someone outside on this industry. But with these crucial skills, a manager has all the chanced to lead the project to success and to deliver it on time and budget.