Project management is evolving with every passing day and so should project managers. We are moving in an age where project managers will have to wear multiple hats to cope up with emerging project management challenges. To do that efficiently, they will need to hone their project management skills. Yes, having project management certifications and hands-on experience in managing projects under your belt is important, but it is the project management skills that differentiate great project managers from good ones.
Want to succeed as a project manager in 2020? Here are some of the essential project management skills you must master.
As a project manager, you are in the driver seat. You not only have to lead from an operational standpoint but also from a strategic perspective as well. This means that you will not only have to manage people but also inspire them to follow your vision by setting a great example for them. You don’t want to be a dictator who only passes on orders. People like to follow those who get their hands dirty and get in the trenches with them. In addition to this, you will also have to provide guidance, show empathy and coach your subordinates so they can get work done in a more efficient manner. If you have these leadership qualities, you can be a great project manager.
Communication is an integral part of project management. In fact, most of the project manager’s time is spent on communication. If the project manager doesn’t have excellent communication skills, they will never be able to succeed. Why? Because you can not expect your team members to perform the way you want them to if you have not been able to communicate what their roles are. Convey your vision, ideas, goals and tell them about the challenges and they will help you achieve your project goals.
3. Time Management
Projects have deadlines, which are getting tighter and tighter with each passing day. Add to that the number of projects running concurrently and project managers have their work cut out. They will have to juggle multiple balls at once without dropping any one of them, which they can only do if they have excellent time management skills and know time management techniques. With so many things on their plate at a given time, they can easily lose sight of the goal. That is where are a task management tool can come in handy. It helps you keep track of the deadlines and ensure timely completion of tasks, which would eventually lead to the completion of the project before the deadline.
4. Cost Management
Cost is one of the three constraints in the project management triangle. This means that the cost of the project heavily depends on scope and time. If the project scope grows out of proportion, your project will not only miss the deadline but also go beyond the allocated budget. Successful project managers know the art of project cost management. They estimate the cost of each activity, allocate resources and take measures to control the costs so their project doesn’t exceed the project budget.
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, a project could have few to many stakeholders. As a project manager, it is your duty to keep all the project stakeholders on the same page. You will be continuously negotiating with them. That is when your negotiation skills will be tested. Negotiation skills are not just about haggling with vendors to get the best deal, it goes well beyond that.
For instance, your client might ask you to add more features mid-way through the project. You know that if you entertain there request, your project scope will blow out of proportion which can force your projects to exceed deadlines and budget. You will have to negotiate with them to find a win-win situation for both parties.
6. Risk Management
When a project fails, everyone will point the finger at the project manager. Did you know why? Because they are expected to identify, analyze and respond to risks before it can hamper your project progress. A good project manager always mitigates project risks before it can have a negative impact on the project timeline or budget.
Here is a three-step process a good project manager should follow to manage risks.
- Identify the risk
- Evaluate the risk
- Mitigate the risk
Once you have identified the risk and assess its impact, you will have to decide how to mitigate it. There are four ways to mitigate risks.
- Risk reduction
- Risk transfer
- Risk sharing
- Risk avoidance
7. Critical Thinking
The pace at which project moves these days is mind-boggling. Many businesses have adopted an agile project management methodology and agile approach to project management. The only downside of this approach is that it does not offer you anytime to think. All you must do is act and follow a series of steps. That is the reason why most project managers tend to struggle when they come face to face with a complex problem that requires critical thinking. Problems like these require you to think out of the box, which might not be your forte if you don’t have this skill.
Which project management skills do you look for when hiring project managers? Let us know in the comments section below.