What are the most important skills of a project manager?
The most important skills of a project manager include leadership, communication, time management, negotiating, team management, and critical thinking. Furthermore, he/she must also be able to keep up with the project management trends and use the tools they have to their fullest.
Project management is a tedious job accompanied by numerous tasks that project managers need to do right, including project initiation, planning and execution, and control and closure. What makes it even more challenging is when such are delegated to teams who are given a set of goals, a timeline, and a specific budget. To make matters a bit more complicated, project managers need to see to it that everything goes smoothly to ensure a project’s success.
This article points out the skills needed to accomplish the works stated above. These include technical, business, and management capabilities, along with a few soft skills. This fairly short read also mentions some of the tools that are helpful for project managers, as pointed out in this guide to project management software . This way, you can better equip yourself to meet the demands of the project management industry.
Modern project management roles and skills are predicated on volumes of data. Among other things, they have to understand the value of data assets in a world where data could mean anything, from business financial data, customer data, and processes data. Projects move along data inputs, and bad data can cost these projects from the get-go.
In fact, it’s estimated that bad data quality can cost companies around $9.7 million to $14.2 million per year . It underscores the modern roles of project managers amid a sea of data.
On another front, project managers have become crucial assets to organizations and are gaining more focus for skills development. Indeed, 68% of organizations cultivate employees’ leadership skills while 65% develop their personnel’s technical skills. With continual training, project leaders can contribute more to the success of companies.
Leadership and technical know-how are not the only skills a project manager needs to be effective, though. We’ll answer the question, “What are the most important skills of a project manager?” to help you improve your project management capabilities and, in effect, achieve your 6-figure income goal . We will also detail some examples of project management software that are currently available in the market.
Project managers require a variety of skills to be able to effectively do their jobs and ultimately benefit both their respective organizations and project stakeholders. These capabilities can be gleaned from experience and take years to master. However, they offer great benefits that could significantly contribute to managers’ career development. The following are some of the best project management skills that project managers should possess:
The issue of project leadership has always been and always will be a focal point among businesses. This is why it is undoubtedly at the top of a project manager’s most important skills. This skill enables project managers to come up with corporate visions and lead teams effectively. Boosting this skill will greatly improve the project managers’ career advancement.
Communication goes hand-in-hand with leadership skills. To be an effective leader, one has to be able to make clear what project teams must do. However, communication is not limited to the project team, it also applies to all stakeholders, including vendors, contractors, and customers. Such can be done through the use of technologies such as reporting tools, chat or file sharing. Such tools facilitate person-to-person and group communication alike.
Another one of the project manager’s most important skills is the ability to create project schedules cannot be undermined. However, it has been established that many project managers are lacking in this skill, an area where improvements are greatly needed.
The proliferation of unique projects has resulted in project managers becoming more adept at risk management. Unlike common projects, which are often outsourced or assigned to less seasoned project managers, these unique undertakings entail more complicated efforts that only mature project managers are capable of handling. Having this skill is a sign of having control over your project. Besides, it’s an effective way of assuring project sponsors that their investments are in good hands.
Project managers who have excellent negotiating skills are likely to resolve conflicts that may arise among project stakeholders. This could lead to the formulation of ideal scenarios that could prove to be amicable to all concerned.
The ability to manage contracts is very useful in maintaining relationships with suppliers. As every project involves material supply, such skill really comes in handy for project managers. Managing purchases is basically the cream of contract management. As such functions have previously been handled by finance departments, relegating it to project managers makes the process much simpler.
Needless to say, most members of project teams need guidance from project managers and the most effective way to do this is by coaching. Having this skill will enable you to make up for employee shortcomings such as inadequate project experience and therefore, need coaching. And besides, coaching has been proven to help students to significantly boost their performance.
An essential project management skill, cost management is of critical importance to most businesses. Failure to comply with this need could hurt organizations that run on tight budgets. Project managers who are knowledgeable in this area can deliver projects not only on time but within the budget as well.
It is a fact that critical thinking is the basis of all sound decisions and corporate decisions are no exception to this rule. Project managers who consider the pros and cons of potential answers to specific problems, practice critical thinking. This skill separates those who are adept at managing issues from those who are not. The development of critical thinking skills require practice and tools that can help you logically structure arguments before coming up with a decision.
An effective project manager should also be adept at task management. This skill involves the ability to come up with task lists and delegate them while keeping absolute control over the project. To be able to harness this skill, one must learn the process of making lists. Strategies for ensuring that one is constantly on top of such a list should also be developed. This is known to ensure that project completion time is always on time.
Although this may sound absurd, this skill is definitely no laughing matter as far as project management is concerned. In fact, a good sense of humor is one of the most important skills that a project manager could possess. Aside from allowing one to see a problem from an alternative point of view, it is effective in relieving both managers’ and teams’ stress. Relieving stress allows key people to focus on generating ideas as opposed to working in a tension-filled environment.
As project management reaches new heights, project managers should be abreast of new developments in the field. Having the right skillset and tools does not necessarily denote success, one should likewise be on the lookout for changes in the area of project management. The following highlights the current project management trends that managers should be aware of.
There are a lot of project management systems to choose from out there. These more popular ones are well known to fulfill the purpose of project management software. So to help you get an idea of what you should be looking for in this type of technology, we have listed a few examples of project management solutions below and provided the details of their features, functionalities, and pricing.
A leading collaboration and communication application designed for project management teams, monday.com syncs all data in a single location and facilitates decision-making for team members and agents alike. It streamlines contributions, boosting teams and departments’ performance. Progress data is assembled and displayed logically and can be understood by all users. The platform likewise ensures that users get to have the needed incentives to help with tasks and assignments, even those not related to their roles. The interface is neat, well-organized and designed for collaboration. Its simplicity eliminates the need for formal user training, letting you use the app upon installation. However, the vendor thought it prudent to compile training materials for those who want them. What’s even better about monday.com is its scheduling feature, which can be used for both task and project management, helping you get rid of paperwork. monday.com is available in a variety of pricing plans starting at $49/month.
You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs.
Try out monday.com with their free trial
Online project management software Wrike is designed to speed up projects both in co-located and distributed teams. It is highly flexible, allowing for team collaboration from a single location. Using the software, you can prioritize, schedule, discuss and monitor both work and project progress in real-time, all it takes is but a few clicks. The solution sports a myriad of business collaboration and information management features that are bound to boost your business. Wrike’s easy-to-use navigation feature makes project management easy for both managers and teams. It likewise has top-of-the-line security measures that make sure that only project-relevant individuals have access to vital information. Its mobile applications let you track project progress from your mobile at any given time and place. The software’s three-pane layout enables you to view important data, allowing for a clear view of project operations. It also allows you to work on subtasks or move across different projects. Wrike is sold at a variety of pricing plans starting at $9.80/user per month. If you require only basic functionalities, a free version is available.
You may further inspect the features that this product has to offer if you take advantage of their free trial plan.
Try out Wrike with their free trial
This project management solution is designed to provide a core platform for crucial business processes. ConnectWise Manage not only serves as a single source of truth for businesses, but it also helps streamline business operations, allowing you to maximize your resources. Among the business processes that ConnectWise Manage supports are sales and procurement. Billing your clients is also faster and more efficient with the help of automation systems that streamline the billing process from gathering all necessary details to generating invoices.
ConnectWise Manage also provides error-proof ticketing with service dashboards for a faster and more efficient way of tracking and resolving customer issues. In terms of reporting, this cloud-based solution is equipped with robust reporting options to help you make strategic data-driven business decisions.
Try out ConnectWise Manage with their free trial
Aiming to provide its users with the ultimate project management experience, Zoho Projects is equipped with tools that help project leaders achieve their goals. With features that are both highly customizable and fully-automated, the entire project management process, from initial to closing, is handled more efficiently and effectively. For instance, its milestone mapping tool makes project planning and collaboration between team members smoother and less complicated. Every progress in tasks is also being tracked in real-time so that you can easily gauge your teams’ productivity and take actions to ensure you are operating within your timetable. Zoho Projects offer a free plan for up to five users and four paid packages starting from $150/year. There’s a 10-day trial for each paid plan.
The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost.
Try out Zoho Projects with their free trial
Smartsheet is an industry-leading collaboration tool that caters to your needs for project management, crowdsourcing, and team task management to name a few. It’s a versatile software that is ideal for businesses in the construction, education, retail, technology, manufacturing, and other industries. With its wide range of functionalities, Smartsheet isn’t for project managers alone but is also useful for your personnel in other departments including HR, sales, marketing, and IT. The system also provides transparency into your team’s actions through their activity logs, shared views, detailed history, etc. This improves the accountability of your staff. There are three pricing packages offered by Smartsheet – Individual, Business, and Enterprise. The first two plans are available for $14/user/month and $25/user/month respectively. The Enterprise plan is available by quote.
The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features.
Try out Smartsheet with their free trial
So, there you have it — the most important skills that project managers need to possess to step up their game. If you’re a project manager, you can try to improve on some of these skills as they will work to your advantage. These capabilities will not only benefit your organization but your management career as well.
If you’re interested in learning more about this trade, go check this article discussing the purpose of project management . It also provides some helpful pointers like how to choose the best project management software and how to efficiently roll out a project management system.
Moreover, if you want to learn the figures surrounding this industry, take a look at our project management statistics . This shows the reasons for project failure, how much is spent by companies for each project, the key developments in project management software, and a lot more. With this information at your fingertips, you can stay abreast of what’s new in the industry and remain one step ahead at all times.
Nestor Gilbert is a senior B2B and SaaS analyst and a core contributor at FinancesOnline for over 5 years. With his experience in software development and extensive knowledge of SaaS management, he writes mostly about emerging B2B technologies and their impact on the current business landscape. However, he also provides in-depth reviews on a wide range of software solutions to help businesses find suitable options for them. Through his work, he aims to help companies develop a more tech-forward approach to their operations and overcome their SaaS-related challenges.