The Project Management Institute (PMI), established in 1969 in the US, published A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. The guide discusses common project management practices that are applied to almost all projects of any nature. While the guide is full of notable tips and guidelines for better project management, it focuses on and discusses some of the most important knowledge areas that every project manager should excel at. These skills or knowledge areas are highly critical to the success of a project. Let us take a look at these important skills that all project managers need to embrace in their professional personalities.
Project Management: Important Skills that Every Project Manager Should Acquire
Here are the primary skills that a good project manager should always aim to acquire in order to help make projects successful:
- Planning and analytical skills
A good project manager’s first goal is to uncover the project’s scope, define boundaries for resources, results, feasibility, requirements etc. and produce a project charter that highlights the project’s goals and scope. This is followed by the project planning phase, which is the most challenging phase for a manager as it is here that the manager defines how he is going to execute his strategy to ensure successful delivery. From estimating and scheduling tasks with confidence among resources, predicting cost, implementing risk management techniques to using monitoring tools to make sure that he is in full command, everything needs to be taken care of. The project manager should apply the best practices to plan and run the project and execute it within the timeline to ensure stakeholder satisfaction. The output from this phase is fed to the design phase where the actual architecture of the project is developed, so any inconsistency in this phase can put the whole project in trouble.
A project manager not only deals with the team members but also with the client and is answerable to the company. A project cannot be successful unless there is clear and effective communication between all the involved parties. And a project manager has to do that efficiently. You should plan the communication in advance after determining things like, who needs what information, who will deliver the information, how often should the communication happen and in what form.
- Problem solving
Being able to solve problems is another skill that a project manager needs to master. However, in a professional framework, problem solving techniques should be result oriented and systematic. While a problem may arise due to technical factors, perception, communication and interpersonal relationships, the approach should be to identify the root cause and develop multiple possible solutions in all cases.
Project managers should be agile towards others perceptions and be able to communicate their point of view effectively at the same time. They should be able to influence and drive the team to complete the project in a given time and in accordance with the set specifications. In a nutshell, the team members under a project manager should be happy and driven at all times.
Cost planning is one of the pivotal parts of the project plan. The project manager is responsible for reconciling invoices, quote for the task taken, purchasing resources and managing time sheets. In order to do that effectively, using specified project tools also becomes important for project managers.
- Time management
A good project manager should not only manage their time well, but also help the team members manage their time. In order to do that, one should determine the important and less important parts of a project, divide the given time in accordance with that and then stick to that time plan throughout the course of the project.
If you are new at project management, do not be overwhelmed. There are numerous experienced project professionals out there ready to mentor a junior project manager and project management tools and frameworks are available that can make things simpler for you.
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