Required Skills for Project Managers!

Required Skills for Project Managers!

Project Management is part and parcel of every business. It is a systematic approach to managing and controlling new initiatives or changes in an organization. Projects, often time-bound, involve completing a number of activities within a given duration and a fixed budget.

What makes project management interesting and demanding is that it requires a great deal of time, expertise and aptitude for managing things. Hence, there are specialists called project managers to handle project management. The project manager’s job is much more than estimating, managing and delivering the project within specific time duration and a limited budget.

The project manager is responsible for:

  • Planning the project in detail
  • Organizing the team to work on it
  • Communicating the project status on a regular basis to the concerned stakeholders
  • Adhering to the time schedule and budget
  • Closing the project

His responsibility starts at the inception of the project. At this stage, he estimates the time it will take to determine the pricing and profitability. Time Estimates should take into account all the delays and disruptions to work. A realistic time estimate is very critical to a project’s success.

Cost Management is about creating a budget for the project. The manager should skillfully budget all the resources from people and tools to equipments and more. A project manager’s skill lies in finishing the project in the said budget.

The project manager should have the ability to obtain competent people for the project. Hiring the right people for the job is an ongoing process throughout the project lifecycle. The manager should have Strong Interpersonal Skills and be able to motivate and encourage his team members to work in collaboration with him. He should also be able to address and resolve problems within the team and assist in resolving any project conflicts.

It is essential for the project manager to have Effective Communication Skills. Lack of good communication skills can result in misunderstanding and delay in completing the project. The manager must be able to communicate information clearly and concisely to his teammates and stakeholders.

The project manager should have the ability to work and build relationships with people from top to bottom level within the organization. He should have the required Technical Know-How needed to do the job. If the manager lacks much-needed technical skills, he or she should be trained, coached or mentored by an experienced person. Though the manager may not do the ground work, his technical skills and knowledge will definitely help him during the development and implementation stage.

The manager should have Good Presentation Skills as he is the link between the customer and his organization. He should be able to update and convince the customer on the progress of project at each stage. The skills are many and varied, hence the list is exhaustive.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Brian

    As you mentioned interpersonal skills but part of that is being a good project leader. Many PMs look at people as resources and do not consider the human factor when creating time lines, tasks and budgets. Listen, watch and help people who do the tasks in your time line.

    I read a saying a few years back that stuck with me. People hate to be managed but they will follow a good leader.

  • What are the key skills required to be a good project manager?

    I would say the most important skill is the Communication skills and managing people.
    because the project manager at the end of the day will manage people whom will deliver the end product or services as a project deliverables… and if the project manager has the skills to communicate with his team and his client will success in his project by deliver it on Time, Budget and Quality.
    this is my personally opinion

  • Besides these skills a project manager also needs some tools to help him to better apply them.

  • As a long time project manager, I will tell you the good ones go way beyond the PMBOK list of hard skills in managing scope, schedule, budget, quality, and client satisfaction. While those things are certainly important, the really good (and successful) project managers require a solid set of soft skills for the role. The soft skills you possess will largely answer the following questions: Do you own your project? Do you understand the business problems the project is trying to solve? Is your communication style one that fosters team building, respect, commitment, and consistency in action? What kind of leader are you? Do you know your audience before you present your project to a group of customers, technical people, stakeholders, executives, and your team? What motivates them? How do your stakeholders handle bad news….or the “reality” of schedule and budget to achieve the desired scope?

    I can go on and on with the questions but after 12 years of managing a wide of projects for a variety of stakeholders and executive sponsors, I often find the best thing I can do for myself is to be constantly in-tune with my project data. I am able to quickly identify something that is out of scope, relate the technical issues to the non-technical, understand requirements and business objectives, and know the specifics on the budget and schedule.

    I often ask myself, if I rode up three floors in an elevator with any executive, technical manager, or business person and they asked, “So how’s the project going?” What 30 second answer could I give to provide a satisfactory answer with meaningful data? So later on if they were asked, “How’s the project going?” they could relate what I just said?

    How do I do this? Personally, there are 3 things that I, as the project manager solely own and would never staff out to a project support analyst or coordinator as their responsibility. This helps me stay in-tune with my project data.

    >I own the weekly project status report. I complete this every week. It’s my project, I own it, I report on it (with your team lead’s input of course!)

    >I own the schedule. I manage creation and maintenance of the WBS. It’s my project, I own it, I schedule it (with your team lead’s input of course!)

    >I own the SWAG’ing of estimates. I manage scope, schedule, and budget. It’s my project, I own it, I coordinate the estimates and the change requests (with your team lead’s input of course!)

    One of the great things about project managers and the profession is everyone has their own style in how they run their projects. This is but a glimpse into my style. Colleagues of mine have completely different styles and are very successful. This is my baseline; what I start with and then tailor it according to the specifics of the project, my team, stakeholders, and my executive sponsors. I hope this helps.

  • • Improved communication skills.
    The ability to mediate conflict.
    The ability to bring the best out of others.
    The ability to help others understand themselves.
    Achieve the boldness to resolve conflict early.
    Encourage others to a greater level of risk taking and achievement
    All of the above are skills contained within EI that is why the effective teaching of emotional intelligence skills to project managers is critical in the process of change created by projects

  • The best PM’s I’ve met are exceptional at the following:

    -Clearly establishing and communicating expectations, especially the ones that are generally difficult to talk about.
    -Listening and probing to fully understand all aspects of a project; both strategic big picture and tactical details. Able to ferret out the issues that people don’t want to talk about.

    If a PM has these skills, I believe that they are well on their way to controlling the “Triple Constraints”.

    Les Hollingsworth
    University of Wisconsin-Platteville Online

  • Andy Burrell

    Hi, good article that covers the basics. Based on my experience I would also emphasise to other areas:

    1) Risk management – something of an art in itself. That is assessing potential risks to your project and making plans to mitigate them

    2) Stakeholder management – especially the main project sponsor. Getting alignment on the project aims is critical and if it all goes wrong the business owner can help to pull you out of the brown stuff.

  • All true, however, we cannot forget the most important aspect in managing anything; The ability to manage oneself. This includes the use of one’s time with the ability to focus strategically on the important things. Too often, project managers get involved in the team member’s activities, leaving the project temporally unmanaged.

  • Yes human factors enter the equation. Fostering team building and participation enhance the delivery of a project. This is especially true with projects focused on implementing new processes or implementing major software changes. There are many tools that can assist in this process.

  • having a good relationship with all the stakeholdes and the ability to communicate effectively are essentially two sides of the same coin. A good project manager also has to have very good situational awareness so that he can judge where the next problem is going to come from to maintain the the pillars, cost, timeliness and quality.