Project management is one of the most sought-after services in the business world. Complex projects warrant proper management in order to prevent any mishaps that may jeopardise their success. It falls upon the project manager to oversee the entirety as well as the key tasks that are crucial to a project’s success. However, the responsibilities of project management are not only restricted to project managers. Other team members may be involved in project management. Consequently, the market has grown competitive. You need to be at the top of your game to survive.
A project manager should possess an ideal blend of technical and managerial skills. They have to combine the principles and processes of project management with soft skills and necessary technical skills in order to achieve the desired goal. What are the skills that will enable us to do that? How can we find success in increasingly unpredictable circumstances? Here are our top ten project management skills that will help you navigate these stormy waters.
1. Leadership: A team is only as strong and effective as its leader. Being a leader is more than successfully completing a project. A team leader is responsible for monitoring the overall process, effective planning, providing updates, task coordination, problem resolution, and most importantly, motivating the team members. Team members look up to the leader for guidance and seek them out in cases of conflict. Being a good leader is all about knowing how to influence others and get them to follow you.
2. Communication: Communication is the key to effective project management. It is essential to get ideas and opinions across in a clear manner in order to avoid misunderstandings. Poor communication may lead to conflicts, which may hamper the project. Communication has to happen at every level, from executive to team members. The scope, parameters, and specificities of a project have to be communicated to the task performers in a comprehensible way so that they can grasp their responsibilities and understand what is at stake.
3. Change management: It is a given that human beings fear change. Change signifies a disruption, a break away from the traditional way of doing things. This prompts fear in people and may stand in the way of the success of a project. Effective project management therefore includes change management, the art of managing change effectively within an organisation. Massive changes within an organisation tend to make people anxious. Therefore, a competent project manager must possess the necessary skills to get others to buy into initiatives that make them apprehensive.
4. Organizing and planning: A project is not a spontaneous activity. You cannot just wing it. Without a proper plan in place, things are bound to fall apart. There are various elements in a project. There are factors of time and budget as well. All of these components have to be organised and managed in such a way that they yield the best results.
5. Problem solving: Project management is a dynamic process. No matter how prepared one might be, things may go wrong for a myriad of reasons. Problem-solving, therefore, is a must-have skill. A project manager should be able to take a problem and break it down into its constituent segments in order to understand the real issue and solve it, and take decisive actions to resolve the issue at hand.
6. Adaptability: The business world is constantly evolving and it demands new skill sets with every leap it makes. Our old approaches may not work in the current context. That is why it is essential to stay informed of the current developments and adapt to changing circumstances. If we steadfastly refuse to evolve with changing times, our doom is inevitable. In order to survive and excel at what we do, we need to embrace change. We must look into new approaches, new technologies, and new methodologies to keep up.
7. Diplomacy: Diplomacy is a part of communication. However, it is important enough to warrant a special mention. Diplomacy is all about knowing how to talk to people at various levels. The way you communicate with an executive differs from how you communicate with your team members.The former demands tact and sensitivity. Diplomacy is required to navigate the hierachy levels in order to get things done. It doesn’t mean avoidance, but rather understanding situations in order to avoid conflicts.
8. Risk management: Risk management is a core part of project management. It is not only about dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, but also about taking proactive steps to avoid the disaster.We must be able to anticipate possible threats, evaluate them in order to understand their severity, and come up with strategies to help us avoid them. In case they are unavoidable, we must have strategies in place which will help us minimise the damage and get us back on track.
9. Data literacy: This is a technical skill, rather than a behavioural one. It is an important skill, nonetheless. Today’s world is run by data. It is essential to know how to access, create, and manage them. Data literacy can provide significant insights into our projects and aid us in taking the best business decisions.
10. Knowledge of tools: Again, a technical skill. Technologies have come up with tools and software made specifically with project management in mind. Without software like Microsoft Project, Basecamp, and Proofhub, scheduling and managing tasks would be significantly more difficult. Familiarity with project management software is therefore crucial.