Project management is a thick-skinned job. In fact, it consists of various not-so-easy jobs all combined to do one job. The job starts with initiating the project, then planning the strategies, executing them, and finally, controlling and closing the project. The project gets more challenging when the timeline is short and budget is limited.
To deliver the project successfully, a project manager needs a set of various skills. These skills include technical knowledge, people management, and developing sustainable processes for the business.
The 10 Essential Project Management Skills
While there are numerous skills, here are the top ten essential project management skills which can build a solid foundation for a successful career in project management.
Some people claim that leaders are born, while others think that leadership can be learned. It is a never-ending debate. But what we do know is that leadership is all about managing people and guiding them to achieve a specific goal.
A survey by McKinsey concluded that companies are not spending enough resources and money on training leaders for the future. Only 10% of the top executives think that the leadership training in their companies is generating some impact.
To take the company forward it is important to have a clear vision, solid strategy, and a road map to success. Not everyone can motivate people and inspire them to act. Therefore, leadership is a must-have quality to move the project forward smoothly and effortlessly.
In a diversified world, the ability to communicate effectively should be treated as a high-priority project management skill whenever top project management skills are discussed. The quality of the communication will decide the success rate of each project.
A study revealed that effective collaboration can act as a driving force for employees to produce best results. Moreover, those employees who are effective communicators performed 47% better than average employees.
For any project, successful communication is the cornerstone to success. People who learn the art of communication can negotiate better financial terms with clients.
3. Conflict Resolution
The ability to resolve conflicts depends largely upon the environment and the stress level. As a leader, it’s important to create and maintain harmony among the team. A project that is done in a stressful environment will face a lot of problems.
It is concluded that around 85% of the people at some level deal with workplace conflict every day. According to a report, it is estimated that $359 billion of paid hours is lost each year in conflict resolution.
As we have seen, a huge chunk of working hours is lost in conflict resolution. But if a leader can devise a system by which employees can resolve the conflict before it even occurs, that would save the amount of distraction which occurs during the project.
4. Planning Skills
To achieve the vision of the company, every leader must possess serious strategic planning skills. A little planning at the start saves a lot of regret in the end. Planning is simply developing small actionable steps to achieve the final goal.
A survey revealed that more than 92% of organizations don’t even track and compare what their competitors are doing differently. Another survey concluded that 76% of successful companies focus their efforts on specific goals which made them successful.
Recognizing strengths and weaknesses is a smart move to make and whoever plans to succeed must plan strategically and monitor the results. There is no shame in failing.
5. Risk Management
Risk management is basically identifying, analyzing, and accepting the process of migration when uncertainty happens. Normally, in a project, there are a plethora of things that can go wrong. But if preventive measures are made, the loss can be reduced.
In an alarming survey, it was concluded that 75% of executives believe that their organizations are not training their resources enough for analyzing and managing the risk.
Planning is everything. Uncertainty can happen anytime. It is wise to plan for every situation. Before, and after the project, it’s important to keep in mind what will be the best way to manage any type of risk.
6. Cost Management
Cost management is the skill to plan and control the overall cost of the project and keep things within the budget. It is one of the most essential project management skills which can help run and finish projects without any delays.
A survey concluded that managing project costs is one of the most difficult problem faced by project managers. With so much competition out there, it’s important to keep the cost under the budget.
Furthermore, by knowing the cost of the project, it will be easy to decide how many resources and how much time should be assigned to each project.
7. Time Management
Managing time in a project is all about asking the right questions and executing things based upon their priorities. If you can manage the time and divide each element of the project in a chunk of time, you will not miss the deadline.
A survey revealed that managers waste around three hours per day by interrupting employees during their work. Time management is life management. Managing time is essential because it gives more room to deal with the unexpected stuff.
Setting deadlines, making to-do lists, delegating tasks, and getting organized can help project managers deal with project delays smoothly.
One key skill every project manager needs is the ability to negotiate. Every day a project manager deals with clients, employees, and executives. If negotiation skills are weak this can create problems for the project manager.
When people use control to negotiate, they can steer the conversation better and help their cause. To deal with clients and employees negotiation is an important skill to learn.
Every project needs a set of abilities and expertise which can help the team complete the project. A project manager must develop their skill set in various fields. This can help them understand the scope of the project and deal with their teams in a knowledgeable way.
Although Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000-hours rule to master a skill, Josh Kaufman talks about learning anything in 20 hours. This is something every project manager should master and keep learning as part of their daily lives.
Adaptability is about adjusting with the environment to overcome the challenges that come along with the project. Project managers need to understand that project management is evolving with an alarming rate. If the managers don’t adopt what is necessary, there will be no time to regret later.
In a survey, it was concluded that more than 55% of the projects fail if they don’t evolve with time and adopted the necessities that are required to complete the project successfully.
This is an era of evolution. Things, people, and systems are changing in the blink of an eye. If project managers don’t take this opportunity to learn, unlearn, and relearn, they will face serious consequences in the future.
Although there are things like planning, estimating time, and effort required to deliver each project, a project manager needs to have some basic skills which will keep the project organized.
It is the job of the project manager to keep the teams and higher authority updated regarding the progress on all initiatives. Sometimes things will mess up and it is in these times that make negotiation an important skill for a project manager.
A good project manager will be able to drive out from a difficult situation and keep the client happy at the same time. If you adopt these essential project management skills and use them in every project, it will create a clutter-free environment for your team.
These are easy but important project management skills. Nothing in these skills is asking for something big. Just a little commitment every day will take care of the overall progress and make you a more effective project manager. In a nutshell, no project management software can make you better at nuanced situations unless you have the right skills.
Do you seem to have completed this list of project management skills? What skills are you trying to develop in project management? And what are you looking for in other projects?
Do you have the essential project management skills that help teams close big projects and finish projects before time? Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.