As companies and teams continue to streamline and try to find the most efficient ways of working, Project Managers are becoming key roles in every department.
Project management professionals need to have a wide range of skills to be successful, since their role requires them to work with different teams and at different levels.
What Does A Project Manager Do?
Project managers are hired by companies to oversee a project and ensure that it is successful from start to finish. The project may be a specific thing, such as an app or a physical item, or it could be a marketing campaign or an HR initiative. A project is usually defined as any undertaking that is carefully planned to achieve a particular goal.
To be successful in a project management role you must be well organized, extremely knowledgeable, and competent at multitasking along with being a good communicator, showing great leadership, and being able to solve problems with your team.
According to CIO.com, “Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resource management, and the success or failure of the project.”
There is tremendous career growth potential for skilled project managers. In fact, within the next 5 years, the need for efficient project managers is expected to expand dramatically by 87.7 million.
Hiring companies understand that a good project manager can increase project completion by up to 40%, if they have the right skills.
That’s why you must learn these skills today to become a stronger, more efficient project manager.
Top 10 Project Manager Skills
You absolutely must have effective leadership skills. Being able to lead a team and motivate them to stay on task and complete projects is vitally important.
Effectively leading your team will ensure that you achieve company goals in an efficient and timely manner, staying on task and on budget.
With so many moving parts and working with different teams, you need to be an effective communicator to do this job well.
A big part of being a project manager is regularly communicating with stakeholders. You need to be able to speak confidently and in a direct and understandable way.
If you don’t possess the ability to effectively communicate your views, needs, and vision for the company effectively, you’ll struggle to create consistent success in your role as a project manager.
3. Teamwork and Collaboration
Clearly, your role as a project manager will require you to work well with others. You’ll need to be skilled at working with teams from nearly every department in the company, from finance to legal to operations and even marketing. Being able to understand other peoples’ goals, motivations, and passions will help you be a more effective project manager.
Sometimes, keeping a project on track or within budget will require you to bring multiple teams or stakeholders together. They may not be used to working with each other, so you’ll need to be able to collaborate with them and keep everyone on the same page.
Making sure you become effective at both time management and scheduling will help you to deliver projects on time. Each and every project you work on will come with hundreds of tasks to complete between yourself and your team.
Having the knowledge and skills to be able to prioritize tasks and create project timelines will ensure that you stay on track and meet deadlines.
It is also your job as a project manager to put effort into keeping your projects as stress- and chaos-free as possible. Your team is relying on you to keep things organized so they always know what they need to achieve every day without having to worry.
5. Identifying and Managing Project Risk
Risks are part and parcel of any project, and you will inevitably experience crises as a project manager. This is especially true on more complicated or unique projects. Being able to identify and manage project risk is a valuable skill.
Having the skills to effectively identify and analyze risks, react and adapt decisively, and keep your project on track is critical to keep the company moving forward during turmoil or challenging times.
Not all risks will be obvious, which is why you’ll need to be on your toes when it comes to analyzing the goings-on at the company and keeping one eye on any areas that may be liable to potential risks.
6. Negotiation and Accountability
As a project manager, you need to be efficient in the art of negotiating. In your role, you’ll be expected to negotiate with suppliers, clients, and stakeholders.
You won’t always be negotiating prices or contracts. You’ll also be negotiating deadlines, priorities, and changing business requirements.
Your negotiations will often spread to your team members as well, whether that’s with a new employee, team conflicts, handing out and managing tasks and assignments, and keeping everyone accountable.
Having good leadership skills will help in becoming a better negotiator.
7. Task and Quality Management
Being able to create task lists, delegate tasks, and track completion of tasks is critical to your role as a project manager. Usually, any company you’ll work for will have its own task management solution, but it will be your job to use these tools to make sure tasks are tracked and completed.
Good task management needs good quality management to be truly successful. Quality management ensures that tasks are being completed to the best standard and requirements. It’s your role to oversee the quality of the work that’s being produced by team members and ensuring it is acceptable.
8. Scheduling and Budgeting
At the very beginning of any new project, you will be required to create a working schedule with deadlines and goals that your team will need to meet, and also create a budget for the project. Of course you may have assistance with this from finance or other teams, but the ownership lies with you.
You will almost always have to work under financial restriction, but you will also need to be able to keep track of ongoing project costs, so you have a clear picture of where you can get savings, in case a part of the project goes over budget.
You need to be sure that you understand the steps and the process involved in creating an initial budget and schedule.
9. Understand Agile and Other Methodologies
Agile project management is an incremental, iterative approach to managing projects that allow teams to deliver value to their customers in a faster, more efficient manner. Since Agile improves productivity, it also helps team members improve skills while promoting innovation and creativity.
This approach promotes continuous repetition of developing and testing through a project. Although Agile first appeared in 2001 with the agile manifesto. It is now a popular choice for many development teams and companies – regardless of the industry.
When considering traditional project management, teams define their target, take aim, launch, and then hope that their target doesn’t move. This is commonly known as “Waterfall”, and it works great, assuming that nothing changes from when you start the project to when you complete it.
Agile project management differs in that a team starts with a specific vision. They then begin working in a broad direction, learning and adapting to conditions as they arise. Across time, they hone in on their target incrementally. Today, Agile is one of the most popular approaches to project management because of its flexibility and continuous growth.
10. General Technical Skills
Having competent tech skills and experience with the latest technology can help you to increase the speed of implementation. By having your finger on the pulse of new tech and software development, you will be able to identify tools, best practices, or alternatives that can help your team move more quickly.
Technology can help you and your team to produce tremendous results, but only if you know how to adapt to current tech trends.
Companies that fail to adapt and change when technology changes find themselves quickly running out of resources and failing to get tasks accomplished whilst maintaining the output and quality they once achieved.
Start Learning Today
Project management is a great career that is rapidly growing. If you focus your energy and apply yourself to developing these skills, you can build a successful career as a project manager.