What Are the Most Important Skills for a Project Manager?
Have you ever wondered what skills differentiate an outstanding project manager from those who settle for average results? Is it leadership skills or quality decisions that makes an astounding project manager? Well, the general idea is to work on developing skills that allow you to accomplish a more efficient job and improve you and your team’s performance. If you would like to take your project management career to the next level, perfecting the skills given below should be your primary concern.
Being a Good Leader
The most significant difference to take note of here is that a team leader does not necessarily refer to a boss. As a leader, your skill is not the ability to order people around and tell them what to do. Instead, you want to find a way for your team members to understand the importance of the tasks required of them so that they are willing to go above and beyond to achieve them with little effort on your part. It is crucial to motivate each team member to give their best as this guarantees that the project will be completed in the shortest possible time frame while still being of the highest quality.
Leadership skills are there to help you navigate your team through any project. You should set mid-point goals which will help you assess the on-going performance of your team members and identify problem areas. If someone is not performing their best, it is your responsibility to find a way to help them improve their productivity. It is also crucial to secure space, tools, and other resources your staff might need to complete their allocated tasks.
Finally, it is essential to recognize when you need to take command. If a conflict occurs between the members of your team, as the leader, you need to drive the need to find a resolution. Also, you need to ensure that the team knows what they need to do at each point of the project and understand how to achieve it.
You can ask them to participate in creating an assignment schedule, but keep in mind that you are the leader. As much as you would like to be accommodating, you also need to be strict when necessary. If someone drops the ball, address it head-on, make sure that they are aware of the mistake they have made and ways to prevent it from happening again. A leader is there to ensure that the team can work without any disturbance and helps remove any obstacle that might affect the project’s success.
Communicating with Everyone Involved
A skill that goes hand in hand with leadership is communication. When we say communication, we are talking about communicating with everyone. From the more senior members of your team to the junior members to your clients.
For starters, you need to know how to talk to your team members. You need to ensure that you are capable of explaining their tasks and answering any follow-up questions they may have. Remember, it is your responsibility to secure everything they need for their job and that includes knowing what that job is in the first place.
Experts recommend constantly talking to your team members about how their work is going. Team meetings, as well as one-on-one discussions, can give you an idea of how to readjust to reach your goal if necessary. If team members never share their concerns, encourage them to talk, listen to them carefully and try to come up with the best possible solution.
It is your responsibility to also communicate with your clients. Many of them like to be kept in the loop with what’s going on, which is why you might need to deliver periodic reports. If you are asked to send them updates, make sure to do so regularly.
Know Your Planning
When you start a project, you have an end goal, and your task is to come up with actions that need to be executed in order to achieve it. That is where planning skills come into play.
After all, you are the project manager. That means you will need to organize tasks and prioritize them, as well as decide on the amount of time to spend on each particular assignment. Planning requires time management but also knowing how to use your team’s skills efficiently. For example, if a team member is an expert in graphic design, you don’t want them spending time creating written content, you want them to be involved in tasks which lend well to their existing skills.
Once you come up with a plan, your task is to ensure everyone stays on track. You will probably have a timeframe for project completion, and it is imperative to honor it. Otherwise, you might run into problems with your client or boss. That is why you shouldn’t hesitate to change the plan if you see things aren’t going well, and you believe the adjustment is a required to stay on track.
Enrolling in a strategic project management course might be an excellent way to boost your existing skills beyond traditional project management so that you are able to develop a more strategic role. It can assist you in familiarizing yourself with the tools and resources you could use in your future projects to improve overall results.
It would be great if everything we planned went 100% the way we imagined. However, the chances of that happening are slim. That is why an exceptional project manager should also possess risk management skills.
A risk is anything that might go wrong during a project. Anticipating those risks is critical so that you can prepare for them ahead of time. That way, it will only be a minor setback and not a major issue that could lead to project failure.
Risk management is something that comes with experience, but sound advice is to calculate the shortest and longest amount of time in which you can complete a project. This will enable you to manage expectations better. By agreeing to a project deadline which is in line with your estimate on the longest amount of time it will take you to complete a project, you will have time to deal with problems that arise and it won’t prevent you from missing the deadline.
Whether we like it or not, finances are a department that you cannot ignore as a project manager. The odds are you will receive a limited budget for your project. It is up to you to find the best way to use it to secure sufficient resources for your team to complete the assignment.
What if you need more time than specified to finish the project? What if something unpredictable happens, and you need extra money to acquire additional resources to continue working on the assignment?
As you can see, cost control is related to time and risk management, as well as other skills relevant for project managers. Furthermore, all the skills we mentioned are intertwined and can get you closer to achieving your goal. You could also benefit from being an expert negotiator, and even by knowing how to maintain a positive atmosphere within your team. It is all about finding a way to stay focused and keeping your team on the right track.