Effective project managers wear many hats!
They have to manage the team, be leaders and ensure the success of the project.
Project management is not an easy task but having effective project management skills will help you to plan a project from conception to implementation.
Planning is the heart of project management and taking time to plan out projects will save resources, schedule, and budget.
You should have technical skills that will help you map out timelines, project risks, execute phases of the project life cycle, troubleshoot problems and challenges and deliver the end product.
This sounds like a pretty good job, doesn’t it?
With many skills essential for a project manager, which ones should you focus on developing first?
Management and leadership complement each other. Project managers should have leadership talent and management know-how.
Studies show that positive leadership contributes to 76% of a project’s success. Strategizing, communication and team building are essential skills for leadership. Be a better leader and you’ll be a better project manager.
To learn leadership skills, you have to practice and not just read from books. Identify the areas that define good leadership.
Good project managers should have good effective communications skills at all levels. They should understand cross-cultural behaviors. Effective communication is the root of good leadership.
To improve communication skills, you should understand what to communicate, who to communicate with, where to send the message, when to send the message and how to send a message.
3. Influencing Others
Project management involves people management and managing people means managing their emotions, building trust, and persuading them to perform some tasks.
Effective project managers should make the team feel like one team and that they are working together on the project.
To develop these skills, use your authority, reciprocity, clear communication, social proof, be committed, and hard influence to persuade others.
4. Conflict Management
Studies show that managers spend 15% of their time-solving conflicts hence conflict management is an essential skill for project managers.
Conflicts are inevitable and there might be conflicts between team members, stakeholders, or even between you and the team. Conflict may arise because of schedule changes, communication.
To develop this skill, understand ways of solving conflict for example confronting without offending, and compromising.
5. Task Management and Scheduling
Project scheduling involves breaking down a project into its constituents and allocating resources. Factor in resources available and utilize them.
Task management is listing the tasks involved in accomplishing project activities.
To learn this, use a project management tool because they have templates that will help you schedule.
6. Risk Management
Risks range from the departure of a key team member to delayed delivery. Risk management is foreseeing and panning for such risks.
To learn this skill identifying risks through expert analysis or digging through project reports to spot gaps and potential conflicts, categorize the risks, analyze risks based on occurrence and impact then plan responses to each risk, from high priority to low priority risks.
7. Coaching Team Members
Coaching team members and getting the best out of them is a vital project management skill. The more inexperienced the team, the more coaching will be needed. To learn this skill, communicate clearly for them to understand their requirements, document requirements to help team members, and work with team members to understand weaknesses and strengths.
Strong leaders are strong project managers; it is essential to have effective communication as it is the bedrock of project management. Having effective project management skills will help you manage risks and costs. Coaching team members to get the best out of them will make you an effective project manager.
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