Essential project management skills you need for your startup to succeed
26 November 2018
Project management is not as easy to handle as some people may believe. Methodologies change from one year to another, the increasing demand of project managers and the lack of professionals to cover this demand became worrying for entrepreneurs. Project management skills are various, but they should not be mistaken for regular leadership or management ones. Project managers need to cultivate specific sets of skills and values to conduct their tasks the proper way.
In theory, project management can seem easy, but technical training is not enough to deal with the situation on the field. For instance, at TMS, we strive to improve our services as we learn from each and every project we take on. Project management professionals must know what to do in unexpected circumstances that are also influenced by the specifics of the company they work in. Also, project managers have to work with teams composed of individuals in different roles. They are supposed to possess the skills of a leader, a manager, a negotiator and many other, so how is it possible to master them all?
A project manager resume is going to leave some people breathless, taking into account the myriad of skills listed there. Project management theory is not enough to perform well, as mentioned before. Project managers must take advantage of the appropriate tools and methods to reach their goals. Without skills, that won’t be possible. Combining theoretical knowledge, experience and talent is the key to great results.
Table of contents
- What skills a project manager should master?
- Analyzing your own project management skills
What skills a project manager should master?
A list of project management skills examples that make a good project manager should help you understand this topic better. Project management skills can be compressed into seven different ones that usually dictate whether a manager is effective in a company or not. Here is a list of core competencies examples that your resume should contain:
It’s obvious that leading projects involve leadership skills. To be a good project manager, you must be able to manage large teams, explain each team member the vision of the project, motivate members to keep going when they lack it, answering any question promptly, coaching and inspiring the team members constantly.
Yet project managers should do all these from a specific perspective – a strategic and operational one. Communicating efficiently, finding resolutions for all conflicts, assessing and setting goals, evaluating how effective team members are, but also checking out the financial and practical resources of the team are also roles of the project manager.
Moreover, leaders hold all responsibility for the final outcome or for any issue that may appear in the process. Failure or success depends entirely on the capability of the project manager to keep the team motivated and efficient.
In short, project managers must know how to lead besides managing. Providing insight, vision, and direction to the team members while motivating them constantly are requirements to meet success in the end.
Communicating ideas persuasively is the key to making yourself heard in the team, while also understanding what people have to say. To establish a good relationship with people that project managers interact with, they must be emphatic and able to give or exchange information fast and convincing. This means that, as a project manager, you must communicate your ideas to the clients as well, which is paramount for obtaining success.
Good communication is one of the project management skills that will get you solid relationships with your team and clients. The more solid these relationships are, the greater the chances to finish the project successfully. Without communicating often, project managers and team members can easily deviate from the initial direction of the project, which will lead to the failure of it.
Team management skills
A strategic perspective alone is not sufficient for project managers. Involving an operational point of view is a must to manage the team properly. Effective team managers always administer and coordinate the members of their teams by investing time and resources in promoting teamwork, delegating the right tasks for everyone based on their level of performance, clear up any conflicts, dictate the goals and evaluating the results periodically.
Leadership is all about team management, as leaders have to inspire the rest of the people they work with in order to receive the expected answer. Without good team management, the project will be disorganized and most likely unsuccessful.
The problem-solving framework that a project manager should apply is complex. First of all, project managers must have a general view on problem-solving and apply the basic approaches to completing their daily tasks. First of all, project managers have to be proactive at all times, to find potential problems before they actually appear and think about solutions for them.
Then, project managers should define the problems that appear along the way and provide a clear set of objectives that are set to solve the problems in the shortest time possible. Analyzing the problem in the smallest detail and identifying the roots of it will help to clear the path to success. These are project management skills that all managers should possess.
Constant awareness of problems and solutions help business managers deal with them in an efficacious manner on the spot. In order to avoid meeting any complications in getting rid of that problem, project managers should think about the necessary steps to implement the solutions they came up with.
Negotiation skills can be considered a part of the communication skills mentioned above, but special attention must be provided to them. Project managers that carry out to get the best offers for the use of resources, finances, and schedules are much appreciated by all parties involved in the projects. This is why negotiation should be perceived as a separate, more important skill to keep in mind as a project manager.
Time management skills
Good project managers can be found easily, but exceptional ones are rare. The skills that make a project manager exceptional are the time management ones. Project managers need to know what their priorities are, and they have to learn how to politely refuse tasks when they don’t have time for a new one. They also need to be prepared for urgent tasks that can appear very unexpectedly during a project.
Setting aside some tasks and prioritizing others to keep the project on the right track is all about time management. Project managers need to know how to make the difference between tasks that are urgent and tasks that are important for the project while dividing them appropriately between the team members.
Delegating responsibilities involves knowing the particularities of each team member. Assessing how much a person can do and reading the signs that tell whether they are energized enough to deal with an urgent task or not are the superpowers of an exceptional project manager.
Depending on the management style adopted by the project manager, the organizational structure is going to differ. Being fully aware of the project and the business hierarchy will determine how the outcome will look like. Project managers hold all responsibility for organizational awareness, even though team members are given a percent of autonomy in managing their tasks in the project.
Each organization might be structured differently, so project managers need to get informed about that structure and respect it at all times. Not respecting the chain of command in an organization can lead to failure when delivering the project. Senior executives ultimately dictate this hierarchy, and project managers bear responsibility for their teams and themselves.
Analyzing your own project management skills
A project management career can be full of ups and downs. Businesses look for project managers all the time, so the demand should encourage people who are passionate about this job to give their best to get hired, especially considering the head-turning salary. Yet this job is not for everyone and you have to check whether you have the project management skills you need or not.
If you have the basic skills to become a project manager, you can build the rest of them over the course of time. Take into account that you will be part of a lifelong learning journey to become an exceptional project manager that can handle almost any situation.
If you enjoyed reading this article on project management skills, you should check out this one about project management framework.
We also wrote about a few related subjects like gap analysis, Kanban app, what is a war room, project management books, project management principles, project management goals, project management metrics, IT project manager and project management methodologies.