Effective project management requires a mix of hard and soft skills. But sometimes the market dictates its own rules and introduces new challenges to the profession.
A PMI and Anderson Economic Group whitepaper on "Building High-Performance Project Talent" shows that over the past few years 83% of employers had minor to significant difficulties finding skilled project managers which led to the following:
A decline in quality (31 percent)
An inability to innovate effectively (29 percent)
The cancelation or delay of strategic initiatives (27 percent)
Given that reality, it’s clear that project managers will need to revisit their skills and adjust their resumes accordingly.
Project managers should be ready to lead both co-located and distributed teams, as remote work gained momentum after the coronavirus crisis and it seems that this way of working is here to stay.
Mastering project-management methods such as Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and even Waterfall is clearly paramount, but soft skills are also key for any project manager.
Today we’ll talk about the skills that every project manager needs to stay relevant.
1. Leadership skills
As a PM, you will be directing teams through complex projects so the ability to lead is essential. Setting clear expectations, motivating team members, and managing outcomes will be all part of your role together with inspiring your team’s efforts to meet goals and navigating conflicting personalities or situations.
Project managers who listen and learn, lead with authority and confidence. You must inspire and motivate your team, providing a compelling vision of success and leading them to its fruition.
2. Communication Skills
Clear and effective communication is the foundation of any team or project. Getting a good understanding of everyone’s expertise is essential to manage your team and push them towards the expected outcomes.
Project managers who keep stakeholders, and team members alike well-informed, keep projects on track. Clear and concise communication conducted at the proper time and through the right means can help you resolve conflicts and gain support to get your goals.
3. Team Building
Building a cohesive team that’s focused on meeting project objectives is vital. But this is not always easy, since teams often become conflicted, resulting in a project being compromised. This requires a people-oriented leader who has conflict resolution abilities, focus and patience to re-direct members back into a high functioning team.
4 Risk Management
Things will go wrong from time to time, no one is immune to surprises, but part of your job is to be prepared. Risk management will help you avoid anything that poses a threat to your project’s timeline, quality, or project budget.
When bad things happen you may need to reprioritize tasks or make changes, so creating a culture of accountability among your team can help with risk mitigation.
5. Time Management
Even the best teams require help to meet deadlines from time to time. Maximizing your team’s efficiency is important to manage costs and keep the project within budget.
6. Cost Control
According to the Project Management Institute, the scope of the project manager’s job is expanding. Project managers have to be more financially savvy, and in addition to completing projects on time and on budget, they are expected to ‘look at projects as ventures’ and monitor how they contribute to the long-term financial success of the business.
Effectively executing projects has become more complicated, and this will only continue in the future. Project Management is a complex position filled with daily challenges. The role is diverse and you will find that many of the skills sets needed will be self-directed or self-attained, so it is easy to upskill where necessary.
Successful projects managers possess a little about a lot in order to accomplish such varied goals as balancing budgets, meeting deadlines, leading teams and satisfying clients.
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