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 from initiating the project, planning the strategies, executing them, controlling, and closing the project. It gets more challenging when the project timeline is short, and budget is limited.
To overbear 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
Whilst there are numerous skills but out of these skills, here are 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 are 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 the quality to move the project forward smoothly and effortlessly.
In a diversified world out there, the ability to communicate effectively can be treated as a high-priority project management skill whenever top project management skill 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 that 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 occur during the project.
4. Planning Skills
To achieve the vision of the company every leader must possess serious strategic planning skills. A little planning in 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 the organizations don’t even track and compare what their competitors are doing differently. Another survey concluded that 76% of the 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 to fail. The best advice, in fact one of the top project management skills is planning strategically before calamity strikes.
5. Risk Management
Risk management is basically identification, analysis, 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 the executives believe that their organizations are not training their resources enough for analyzing and managing the risk.
Plans are nothing, 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 also known as accounting 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 much resources and 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 chunk of time, you will not miss the deadline.
A survey revealed that managers waste around 3 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 of every project manager is negotiation. Every day a project manager deals with clients, employees, and even CEO’s. 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.
Among the top skills for project managers negotiation holds a special place in project management. 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 understand the scope of the project and deal with the employees in a better 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 the learning part of their daily lives.
Adaptability is about adjusting with the environment to overcome the challenges that come along with the project. As project managers one 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.
It is an era of evolution. Things, people, and systems are changing in the blink of an eye. If project managers don’t avail 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 a job of the project manager to keep the teams well-informed and higher authority updated regarding the progress on all initiatives. Sometimes things will mess-up and it is 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.