As workplaces become more complex, organisations are increasingly recognising that the application of project management techniques and disciplines are key to improving, developing, and sustaining their business.
Project managers are now found in every kind of organisation. It doesn’t matter whether ‘project manager’ appears in the job title; project management is quickly becoming everyone’s second job.
While general management is concerned with the day-to-day, project management is defined by its finite timespan and specific deliverables.
Effective project management goes beyond keeping – or trying to keep – the ‘golden triangle’ in check, however. (The golden triangle refers to the project constraints of time, scope, and cost). Good project management brings clients and teams together by creating a vision that gets everyone on the same page of what is needed for successful delivery. When projects are managed well, there is a positive impact that reverberates beyond delivery of ‘the stuff’.
Not surprisingly, project management is being seen more and more as a strategic competence, and people with the skills to bring a project in on time, on budget and to the quality required, are increasingly in demand.
Over the last few weeks, we have received an increasing number of calls from people wanting to hone their project-thinking and project management skills. So, we have put together a list of the most important skills needed by a project manager and provided a link to information on our upcoming project management courses. Of course, you may give us a call at anytime to discuss any of our upcoming courses.
Skills of the Project Manager
Project managers clearly need a variety of skills to plan and successfully execute a project. They need to work well under pressure and be comfortable with change and complexity in dynamic environments. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in project management. The approach taken needs to be adapted to the context and constraints of each project.
So let’s look at the skills needed.
- Communication:Ultimately, delivering on a project is about getting people to do things and that means being a good communicator. Project managers spend most of their time communicating with their team, reporting progress or problems to clients, or negotiating with vendors or other stakeholders. Project Managers are often required to give presentations, so it also helps if you are comfortable using presentation software and speaking in front of groups of people.
- Leadership / People Skills:As we noted above, managing projects is not just about managing tasks; it is about managing – and leading – people. Project Managers need to foster trust and communication among all project stakeholders: its sponsors, the client (the client may be within the organisation), the resource managers, and the project team members.
- Negotiation:Normally, negotiation would be included under communication, but given its importance to project management we think it deserves its own mention. That’s because leading a project means you will likely do a lot of negotiating. Project managers negotiate with clients on an appropriate schedule and scope of work. They negotiate for resources. They also manage demands from stakeholders that can impact the scope of the project. Inevitably they may also need to manage conflicts among team members or other people involved in the project.
- Problem Solving / Critical Thinking: It is a rare project that proceeds without any issues, no matter how well the planning and risk assessment has been done. Project managers must therefore be able to efficiently deal with unexpected problems to make sure that minor issues do not become major ones. Critical thinking skills enable you to analyse an issue and potential solutions, in order to form an unbiased judgement.
- Cost Management: By definition, projects are going to have a fixed amount of funding available to them. It’s a project manager’s responsibility to develop a budget for that money and then to control those costs through the execution of the project.
ASC Training & Development delivers a range of management and leadership courses focused on developing and strengthening the skills needed to thrive in a leadership role.
Our project management courses are designed for those who relish responsibility. Managing and coordinating projects requires leadership, drive, and organisation, and these are all skills that our courses foster.
Further information on our upcoming Project Management courses can be found here or feel free to give us a call to discuss your specific needs.