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What Are the Most Important Skills of A Project Manager and Why?

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What are the most important skills of a project manager? A very tedious job, project management is accompanied by numerous tasks that project managers need to do right, including project initiation, planning and execution, control and closure. What makes it even more challenging is when such are delegated to teams who are given a set of goals, a timeline and specific budget. To make matters a bit more complicated, you as project manager, have to see to it that everything goes smoothly to ensure your project’s success.

Now this might sound overly optimistic, but such can be achieved. Project managers have the necessary skill set to achieve these goals. Among these are the staple technical, business and management capabilities, along with a few soft skills, which are needed as project managers deal not only with processes but with people as well. In project management, strong organizational relationships is required in order for success to be achieved. They also have a slew of tools that are accessible and affordable, as pointed out in this project management software guide.

Source: CIO.com

However, such skills need to be accompanied by the necessary tools that make project management much more easier. The purpose of project management software is primarily to automate processes, promote collaboration and foster communication among team members. These technologies have been rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, the global project management software market is expected to reach more than $1 billion by the year 2020.

Indeed, project managers’ skills have become a very important commodity for businesses of all kinds nowadays. This is owing to the fact that current project management trends require them to step-up their game. Such trends, if met head on and strategically by project managers could spell success for projects. 

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What are the most important skills of a project manager?” to help you improve your project management capabilities and, in effect, achieve your 6-figure income goal. We will also detail some examples of project management software that are currently available in the market.

10 Most Important Project Management Skills to Have

Project managers require a variety of skills to be able to effectively do their jobs and ultimately benefit both their respective organizations and project stakeholders. These capabilities can be gleaned from experience and take years to master. However, they offer great benefits that could significantly contribute to managers’ career development. The following are some of the best project management skills that project managers should possess:

1. Leadership

The issue of project leadership has always been and always will be a focal point among businesses. This is why it is undoubtedly at the top of a project manager most important skills. This skill enables project managers to come up with corporate visions and lead teams effectively. Boosting this skill will greatly improve project managers’ career advancement.

2. Communication

Communication goes hand-in-hand with leadership skills. To be an effective leader, one has to be able to make clear what project teams must do. However, communication is not limited to the project team, it also applies to all stakeholders, including vendors, contractors and customers. Such can be done though the use of technologies such as reporting tools, chat or file sharing. Such tools facilitate person-to-person and group communication alike.

3. Scheduling Capability

Another one of project manager most important skills is the ability to create project schedules cannot be undermined. However, it has been established that many project managers are lacking in this skill, an area where improvements are greatly needed.

4. Risk Management

The proliferation of unique projects have resulted in project managers becoming more adept at risk management. Unlike common projects, which are often outsourced or assigned to less seasoned project managers, these unique undertakings entail more complicated efforts that only mature project managers are capable of handling. Having this skill is a sign of having control over your project. Besides, its an effective way of assuring project sponsors that their investments are in good hands.

5. Negotiating

Project managers who have excellent negotiating skills are likely to resolve conflicts that may arise among project stakeholders. This could lead to the formulation of ideal scenarios that could prove to be amicable to all concerned.

6. Contract Management

The ability to manage contracts is very useful in maintaining relationships with suppliers. As every project involves material supply, such skill really comes in handy for project managers. Managing purchases is basically the cream of contract management. As such functions have previously been handled by finance departments, relegating it to project managers makes the process much simpler.

7. Team Management

Needless to say, most members of project teams need guidance from project managers and the most effective way to do this is by coaching. Having this skill will enable you to make up for employee shortcomings such as inadequate project experience and therefore, need coaching. And besides, coaching has been proven to help students to significantly boost their performance.

8. Cost Management

An essential project management skill, cost management is of critical importance to most businesses. Failure to comply with this need could hurt organizations who run on tight budgets. Project managers who are knowledgeable in this area have the ability to deliver projects not only on time but on budget as well.

9. Critical Thinking

It is a fact that critical thinking is the basis of all sound decisions and corporate decision is no exception to this rule. Project managers who consider the pros and cons of potential answers to specific problems, practice critical thinking. This skill separates those who are adept at managing issues from those who are not. Development of critical thinking skills require practice and tools that can help you logically structure arguments prior to coming up with a decision.

10. Task Management

An effective project manager should also be adept at task management. This skill involves the ability to come up with task lists and  delegate them while keeping absolute control over the project. To be able to harness this skill, one must learn the process of making lists. Strategies for ensuring that one is constantly on top of such list should also be developed. This is known to ensure that project completion time is always on time.

One more thing… sense of humor

Although this may sound absurd, this skill is definitely no laughing matter as far as project management is concerned. In fact, a good sense of humor is one of the most important skills that a project manager could possess. Aside from allowing one to see a problem from an alternative point of view, it is effective in relieving both managers and teams’ stress. Relieving stress allows key people to focus on generating ideas as opposed to working in a tension-filled environment.

Project Management Trends

As project management reaches new heights, project managers should be abreast of new developments in the field. Having the right skill set and tools does not necessarily denote success, one should likewise be on the lookout for changes in the area of project management. The following highlights current project management trends that managers should be aware of.

  1. Business Agile. As more and more organizations adopt the Agile development framework, many have been reaping its benefits to project management. The methodology has proved to be effective in boosting communication, making teams more receptive to change and improving returns on investment. What’s even more appealing is that the use of the framework is known to start from small to mid-size businesses.It caters specifically to younger workers as they have a more flexible work mindset. Another reason for the framework’s popularity is the proliferation of tools that help in its implementation. These tools include artificial intelligence, which automates project management decisions such as in the case of task assignments
  2. Focus on Project Strategy. As businesses are constantly affected by competition, lack of resources and time and budgetary difficulties, project managers must focus more on reaching corporate goals. This can be done by shifting away from industry-specific information as a way to reach objectives by identifying organization strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Leveraging Staff Strength by Shifting Away from Hierarchies. Even as executives commonly influence corporate culture, employee-level concerns can impact corporate culture one way or another. Employee recognition is a sure fire way of improving the work environment. Managers should seek ways by which to boost employee strengths, which can positively impact the organization.
  4. Accountability and Social Responsibility. Contrary to popular belief, profitability is not the most crucial thing to a business. There are also the aspects of social responsibility and accountability that come with projects. Companies are now under pressure to consider social and environmental factors when executing projects. Besides, doing so can significantly boost corporate image as both people and business prefer to deal with transparent organizations.
  5. Remote Project Management Tools, Labor and Security. The need for remote project management tools and labor stemmed from the rise of the mobile workforce. The popularity of such tools has been steadily increasing. With this development comes the need for security policies and processes as ways of safekeeping client data in view of the use of mobile devices.However, the above-mentioned makeup but the tip of the iceberg as project managers have so much more responsibilities.

Examples of Project Management Software

There are a lot of project management to choose from out there. These more popular tools are well known to fulfill the purpose of project management software. The following are examples of project management software. Their features, functionalities and pricing will be discussed.

  1. WrikeOnline project management software Wrike is designed to speed up projects both in co-located and distributed teams. It his highly-flexible, allowing for team collaboration from a single location. Using the software, you can prioritize, schedule, discuss and monitor both work and project progress in real time, all it takes is but a few clicks. The solution sports a myriad of business collaboration and information management features that are bound to boost your business.Wrike’s easy-to-use navigation feature makes project management easy for both managers and teams. It likewise has top-of-the-line security measures that make sure that only project-relevant individuals have access to vital information. Its mobile applications let you track project progress from your mobile at any given time and place. The software’s three-pane layout enables you to view important data, allowing for a clear view of project operations. It also allows you to work on subtasks or move across different projects. Wrike is sold at a variety of pricing plans starting at $9.80/user per month. If you require only basic functionalities, a free version is available.
  2. AsanaOne of the most popular software of its kind in the market today, project management tool Asana allows for better communication and collaboration among project team members. It lets users create projects and tasks within projects with ease while being able to monitor them from browsers and devices. The app eliminates the need for email and third-party systems for communication. You can easily share notes, upload multi-format attachments and organize tasks using the solution.Asana streamlines workflows and ensures timely delivery of communications and tasks. It automatically sends notifications to users, inviting them to check, follow, like or comment an update. More advanced features include task relating, following and prioritizing completion and change management. Customer support is excellent, with highly-skilled technical teams on standby to address your concerns. Asana can be purchased at different pricing models starting at $9.99/member per month.
  3. Monday.comA leading collaboration and communication application designed for project management teams, Monday syncs all data in a single location and facilitates decision-making for team members and agents alike. It streamlines contributions, boosting teams and departments’ performance. Progress data is assembled and displayed logically and can be understood by all users. The platform likewise ensures that users get to have the needed incentives to help with tasks and assignments, even those not related to their roles.The interface is neat, well-organized and designed for collaboration. Its simplicity eliminates the need for formal user training, letting you use the app upon installation. However, the vendor thought it prudent to compile training materials for those who want them. What’s even better about Monday is its scheduling feature, which can be used for both task and project management, helping you get rid of paperwork. Monday is available in a variety of pricing plans starting at $25/month. For those who want to evaluate the software first, a free trial is available.
  4. TimeHero. This task management platform simplifies delegation of responsibilities by automatically scheduling tasks based on calendar events. When tweaks are made to your calendar, TimeHero automatically shuffles project timelines accordingly. This means all employees can focus on working on the project itself than wasting time on administrative tasks. Additionally, this solution provides great transparency on the progress of ongoing projects, thus enabling you to quickly realign deadlines and prevent employee burrnout. For the management side, it comes equipped with a forecasting tool that helps you quickly spot which projects are at risk of meeting the deadline. This allows you to act appropriately to eliminate or lessen overdue tasks.

So there you have it, the most important project manager skills need to possess to boost their game. You can work on some of this skills as can they work to your advantage. Possessing these capabilities will not only benefit your organization but your management career as well.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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1 Comments »
Callum Palmer says:

There are a lot of skills that are required of a good project manager and the article does a great job of breaking down some of the more common ones. However, I particularly love that communication made it onto the list of things to look for. After all, the manager isn't going to be able to do their job very well if they can't effectively relay their instructions to the people working under them.

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