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.

    1. Leadership
    2. Communication
    3. Scheduling Capability
    4. Risk Management
    5. Negotiating
    1. Contract Management
    2. Team Management
    3. Cost Management
    4. Critical Thinking
    5. Task Management

    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.

    10 Most Important Project Management Skills to Have

    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:

    1. Leadership

    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.

    2. Communication

    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.

    3. Scheduling Capability

    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.

    4. Risk Management

    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.

    5. Negotiating

    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.

    6. Contract Management

    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.

    7. Team Management

    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.

    8. Cost Management

    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.

    9. Critical Thinking

    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.

    10. Task Management

    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.

    One more thing… sense of humor

    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.

    Project Management Trends

    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.

    1. Business Agile.  As more and more organizations adopt the Agile development framework, many have been reaping its benefits to project management. The methodology has proved to be effective in boosting communication, making teams more receptive to change and improving returns on investment. What’s even more appealing is that the use of the framework is known to start from small to mid-size businesses. It caters specifically to younger workers as they have a more flexible work mindset. Another reason for the framework’s popularity is the proliferation of tools that help in its implementation. These tools include artificial intelligence, which automates project management decisions such as in the case of task assignments
    2. Focus on Project Strategy.  As businesses are constantly affected by competition, lack of resources and time and budgetary difficulties, project managers must focus more on reaching corporate goals. This can be done by shifting away from industry-specific information as a way to reach objectives by identifying organizational strengths and weaknesses.
    3. Leveraging Staff Strength by Shifting Away from Hierarchies.  Even as executives commonly influence corporate culture, employee-level concerns can impact corporate culture one way or another. Employee recognition is a sure-fire way of improving the work environment. Managers should seek ways by which to boost employee strengths, which can positively impact the organization.
    4. Accountability and Social Responsibility.  Contrary to popular belief, profitability is not the most crucial thing for a business. There are also aspects of social responsibility and accountability that come with projects. Companies are now under pressure to consider social and environmental factors when executing projects. Besides, doing so can significantly boost the corporate image as both people and businesses prefer to deal with transparent organizations.
    5. Remote Project Management Tools, Labor, and Security.  The need for remote project management tools and labor stemmed from the rise of the mobile workforce. The popularity of such tools has been steadily increasing. With this development comes the need for security policies and processes as ways of safekeeping client data in view of the use of mobile devices. However, the above-mentioned makeup but the tip of the iceberg as project managers have so many more responsibilities.

    Examples of Project Management Software

    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.

    1. monday.com

    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.

    monday.com

    Try out monday.com with their free trial

    2. Wrike

    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.

    Wrike

    Try out Wrike with their free trial

    3. ConnectWise Manage

    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.

    ConnectWise Manage

    Try out ConnectWise Manage with their free trial

    4. Zoho Projects

    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.

    Zoho Projects

    Try out Zoho Projects with their free trial

    5. Smartsheet

    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.

    Smartsheet

    Try out Smartsheet with their free trial

    More Articles for Project Managers to Read

    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.

    By Nestor Gilbert

    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.

    What is the most important skill of project manager?
    7 Essential Project Management Skills
    • Effective Communication. From project kick-offs to stakeholder meetings, project managers are constantly communicating.
    • Negotiation.
    • Scheduling and Time Management.
    • Leadership.
    • Technical Expertise.
    • Risk Management.
    • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.
    more
    What is the difference between project management and project control?
    1- Project Control is a subset of Project Management with the primary focus of managing the project's cost and schedule. 2- Project Manager is directing the work of the project team while the Project Controller advises the team and the Project Manager of possible cost & schedule issues/ recovery plans. more
    Is project controls part of project management?
    Project controls vs. However, project controls aren't as broad in their purpose as project management. While project management focuses on keeping the entire project on track, including people, processes, and deliverables, project controls focus specifically on quality control in order to save time and money. more
    What is a project plan in project management?
    The project plan describes the cost, scope, and schedule for the project. It lays out exactly what activities and tasks will be required, as well as the resources needed, from personnel to equipment to financing, and where they can be acquired. more
    What is project Description in project management?
    A project description is a high-level overview of why you're doing a project. The document explains a project's objectives and its essential qualities. Think of it as the elevator pitch that focuses on what and why without delving into how. more
    Why project risk management has high impact in project success?
    Unmanaged risks can easily prevent a project from achieving objectives or even cause it to fail to succeed. Risk management is important during project initiation, planning, and execution; well-managed risks significantly increase the likelihood of project success. more
    What are the different forms of project organization How can a project manager control the human aspect of the project?
    Three Types of Project Management Structures
    • Functional Organizational Structure.
    • Matrix Organizational Structure – This can be further broken down into – Balanced matrix, Strong Matrix, and Weak Matrix.
    • Projectized Organization Structure.
    more
    Is project controller same as project manager?
    1- Project Control is a subset of Project Management with the primary focus of managing the project's cost and schedule. 2- Project Manager is directing the work of the project team while the Project Controller advises the team and the Project Manager of possible cost & schedule issues/ recovery plans. more
    Which of the following stages of project financing identify the project *?
    1) Pre-Financing Stage This involves: Identification of the Project Plan. more
    What is the difference between project manager and project owner?
    Project owners have ownership over the project in the sense that they are accountable for the project's success or failure. Project managers, on the other hand, work on streamlining the daily operations of the project. more
    What is the difference between a Project Controller and a project manager?
    1- Project Control is a subset of Project Management with the primary focus of managing the project's cost and schedule. 2- Project Manager is directing the work of the project team while the Project Controller advises the team and the Project Manager of possible cost & schedule issues/ recovery plans. more

    Source: financesonline.com

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