Make sure that you have the project management skills you need to lead a successful project
Today's companies need to ensure that their projects are managed with competency, efficiency, and creativity if they want to keep pace with their competitors. To accomplish that goal, Project Managers are assigned to create and maintain an environment in which teams can effectively collaborate to achieve their goals. If your goal is to fill that role, it's vital to know which project management skills you'll need to be successful.
In this post, we'll explain why these project management skills are so important and highlight 21 key Project Manager skills. By working to improve these skills, you'll ensure that you have what it takes to lead any project team to success.
What are project management skills?
The skills required for a Project Manager include a wide variety of technical abilities, soft skills, and key interpersonal strengths that can enable someone to successfully guide a project from start to completion. Project management skills are used to lead team members, organize workflow, and ensure that everything is done accurately, efficiently, and within assigned budgets and deadlines. Effective Project Managers are able to plan out every detail of the project, coordinate their team, and execute the project strategy to produce an end product that meets stakeholders' needs and expectations.
Why are project management skills so important?
Without the right project management skills, leaders will struggle to manage their team members and complete assigned project tasks in an efficient and effective way. With the right skills, however, a good manager can effectively lead the project, delegate responsibilities to the right people, and motivate their entire team to ensure that the project goals are met and exceeded.
The top 7 Project Manager skills
One of the most important skills that any Project Manager can possess is the ability to manage the various tasks involved in completing the project. Successful task management requires leaders to identify those tasks, organize them in an effective way, and assign them to the right team members. Many Project Managers use some form of project management software to coordinate this aspect of the process, so it helps to be familiar with some of the most common tools in use today.
Time management skills
Projects invariably come with deadlines, and it's the Project Manager's job to ensure that the team's time is managed in a way that meets those expectations. This requires soft skills like organization and attention to detail, as well as the hard technical skills needed to monitor task progress, adjust workflow to maintain that progress, and create any necessary reports along the way.
Project scheduling skills
This skill is critical when a project is being created and organized, since it establishes labor and resource allocation, identifies risk elements, and sets expectations about the final product and its anticipated completion date. Effective time managers refer to these plans often, as they monitor their teams' progress, and make any needed adjustments.
Budgeting and cost management
Experienced Project Managers should also have sound budgeting skills. Project development always involves monetary costs and it's the Project Manager's job to create a budget that's within expectations and then to monitor expenditure throughout the project process.
Every project comes with a certain amount of risk. That's why risk assessment and management is a vital skill for project managers to have during the project planning stage. Leaders who can effectively identify potential risks and create solutions to minimize those hazards can increase their teams' chances of successfully meeting project expectations.
Technical writing skills
The best Project Managers will also have sound technical writing skills. These skills are used to develop project plans, document important information over the course of a project's lifespan, and create memos, progress reports, and final assessments for team members, clients, and management.
A Project Manager will be expected to understand the company's policies and procedures, as well as important regulations that might impact on their team's efforts. This knowledge can include familiarity with everything from best practices and specific company guidelines to various safety, environmental, or health regulations.
7 important Project Manager soft skills
Effective communication is an absolutely critical project management skill. These leaders are responsible for communicating their plans to superiors, explaining project goals and strategies to team members, and potentially interacting directly with clients. These skills should include both verbal and written communication abilities, to ensure that Project Managers can consistently deliver clear and precise messages at every stage of the project process.
The most effective Project Managers have the skills needed to obtain team buy-in for their projects and personal traits that inspire team members to follow their lead. Abilities like vision, honesty, decisiveness, and empathy are essential for any good leader. For more information on effective leadership, check out our article, These 14 Leadership Traits Can Fuel Your Career Success.
Organizational skills are another critical ability for project management. An effective manager must be able to prioritize tasks, delegate work in an orderly manner, and maintain oversight of resource use, team member activities, and project progress.
The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is a vital component of any Project Manager's skill set. That adaptability can involve everything from meeting unexpected challenges to keeping pace with new technologies, trends, and processes.
Attention to detail
Since the Project Manager is responsible for ensuring that every element of project development positively contributes to the final outcome, attention to detail is critical. That means tracking team members' activities and results to ensure that every part of the project is completed as intended.
Critical thinking skills
Good leaders rely on sound critical thinking skills to help ensure that problems are dealt with in the most logical way. Project Managers should have this skill in abundance and use their critical thinking at every stage of the project planning, development, and execution process.
Problem solving skills
Every manager needs to possess some type of problem solving skills to ensure that they can lead their team to find solutions to challenges. In fact, the ability to find solutions to problems is one of the most coveted skills that employers look for when assessing job candidates.
7 interpersonal skills every Project Manager should possess
Team building skills
Leaders who have great team building skills will always be more successful than those who lack these abilities. That holds true for Project Managers as well, who need to facilitate collaboration and ensure that everyone on the team is committed to meeting a shared objective.
Emotional intelligence is a necessary project management skill. A good leader needs to be able to help a team to manage emotions that might inhibit progress and show empathy and understanding to maintain harmony among team members.
Negotiation is the art of finding solutions that can end disputes and bring people together. That bargaining skill is key for Project Managers who often find themselves trying to manage team members, clients, and superiors whose ideas and expectations can sometimes be at odds with one another.
As a Project Manager, you might find yourself in the role of teacher, identifying team members' training needs and trying to fill those gaps. The best Project Managers are committed to providing their teams with the knowledge and skills they need to find success.
Project management can be a high-stress job, so a good manager needs to be able to manage their own stress to avoid frustration, burnout, and mistakes. If you believe that your own stress management could be better, check out “12 Tips to Manage Workplace Stress.”
Like other types of managers, Project Managers will often need to resolve disputes and disagreements between team members. With sound conflict management skills, an effective Project Manager can quickly identify a conflict's root causes, help the parties to find an acceptable compromise, and help to restore team cohesion.
Project Managers need to have great collaboration skills if they want to guide any team effort. This involves using an array of interpersonal and other soft skills, while fostering open lines of communication and a conscientious mindset that focuses on the team's success rather than any individual contribution.
Reflect these project management skills on your resume
Project management skills are important for any leader who is tasked with guiding a project from the planning stage to handover. Whether your job title specifically identifies you as a Project Manager, or you lack the title but are regularly tasked with leading project efforts, these skills can ensure that you provide the kind of leadership that your team needs to be successful.
Are you a Project Manager interested in ensuring that your resume conveys the compelling project management skills that you need to land your next job? Get your free resume review from our team of experts today!