From initiation to planning to execution to closing, project management is one job that comes with a series of challenging jobs.
A project manager (PM) handles every aspect of a project, including planning, assembling the team, and managing tasks, time, and costs.
This rapidly evolving career path has changed through the years. Handling projects today is no longer the same as how it was done years before. And that means that you also need to grow as a project manager to maintain your position in this highly competitive career industry.
Besides having project management courses as a foundation, you also need the right skills to perform the role well. Here, we’ve listed the top six skills you need as a project manager in this modern era.
1. Communication Skills
Arguably a key soft skill for all professionals, communication is particularly crucial in project management. This is because the job entails maintaining a fully functioning unit of people to accomplish a specific goal, not to mention keeping others outside the team abreast of developments on the project.
From project proposals and stakeholder meetings to accomplishment reports, you should be able to clearly express what needs to be done, how you’ve progressed so far, and all other details about the project. Failing to do so would lead to mishaps like missed deadlines and inefficiency in the team’s workflow.
Of course, communication skills aren’t just about writing a letter or giving a speech. It also entails:
- Attentive listening.
- Giving and accepting feedback.
- Establishing meaningful team relationships.
- Centralizing communication.
2. Leadership and Team Management Skills
As a project manager, you must also have the necessary leadership skills to keep the project progressing promptly, and your team, efficient and productive. As a leader, you must be able to:
- Delegate tasks to the right people.
- Establish processes and ensure compliance every step of the way.
Of course, remember that being an excellent leader cannot be quantified by a single trait. It’s a collection of characteristics combined with the talent to get people moving, maintain healthy work relationships, steer the project through any rocky patch, and, most importantly, ignite inspiration across your team.
3. Project Planning and Cost Management Skills
All successful projects start with a plan. Without project planning skills, a project manager won’t be able to:
- Organize and prioritize tasks.
- Ensure efficient use of time and resources.
- Know the direction the project is headed.
- Monitor the project’s progress.
Essentially, a plan serves as the outline of the project. Without it, you’re basically working aimlessly and potentially setting up yourself and your team for failure.
Project planning skills also come with a certain level of decision-making. Specific details of the project aside, this covers costs and expenditures. After all, every project has a monetary constraint.
If you plan properly, you can ensure that there won’t be budget shortages that lead to unnecessary delays through cost management. You may even have enough to cover unexpected expenses that may come with project risks.
4. Risk Management Skills
Risk mitigation and contingency plans are two crucial aspects of project management that should never be taken for granted.
As a project manager, you must lead the team in identifying potential risks that the project might face and develop a plan to overcome them. This is called risk management.
Productive project managers can also keep a cool head even when faced with risks – a trait that usually comes with proper training and experience in risk mitigation.
Although risks are inherently uncertain events, having the foresight to be ready for them, instead of assuming (or hoping) that they wouldn’t occur, makes you an excellent project manager.
5. Scheduling and Time Management Skills
A great PM must also be equipped with scheduling and time management skills to ensure efficiency within the team. These help you beat deadlines and maintain a healthy working environment for your team members.
The good news is that plenty of time management tools are now available to improve workflow. Most of these have scheduling, task management, and time tracking capabilities to aid you and your team:
- Prioritize tasks efficiently.
- Get or send reminders for tasks due for completion at a set time or date.
- Track the progress of the project.
Some even have project visualization features that make it easier to present developments on the project to investors, supervisors, and stakeholders.
6. Technical Expertise
An effective project manager must also have all the technical expertise needed to accomplish the job. If not all, you at least need to have the ones necessary for the specific project you’re managing.
Technical expertise covers both methodologies and tools for the job. In project management, some of the methods you need to know include:
- The Waterfall Model
- Agile Sprints
As for the tools, there are dozens available out there that can help with specific aspects of various kinds of projects. For example, scheduling can be accomplished through different types of software, including:
- Microsoft Project and Jira – best for project scheduling in the IT setting.
- Primavera – typically used for government and construction industries.
Become an Excellent Project Manager
Project management is a combination of education, skill, and grit. Get all the skills you need to further your career at REI.
Sign up for our professional Microsoft Project and Primavera training in Abu Dhabi today. Talk to us about your plans to upskill and let us help you become an A-list project manager.