Project Management Skills for Everyone in Business

For successful planning of a project, procuring the necessary resources and executing on a project it is vital that project managers possess the requisite skills as they monitor and direct projects. Any hiccups that may arise during project execution and implementation are handled by the project manager, who also acts as the liaison person with the client. Project managers supervise and oversee the tasks being conducted and are not expected to be involved in hands-on work.

The role project managers play in the launch of new construction sites, company products and programs is very important. The role is universal and essential across all industries. A construction company will require a project manager to schedule and allocate resources such as materials and labour whereas a shampoo company will require a product manager to oversee the launch of a new product.

Skills Required

Project managers focus on optimising processes, allocating human capital to various activities and ensuring that project timelines and milestones are achieved. This requires good communication skills, coordination and organising prowess and effective decision making to succeed.

Here are some of the necessary skills, gathered from corporate training websites,  required for success:

Communication:

Most of the time will be spent communicating with staff on how certain tasks will be handled, reporting progress, tackling problems that arise and negotiating with suppliers. Communicating verbally and in writing is important for delivery. At times project managers are required to present thus they need to be conversant with preparing presentations and using presentation software as well as be comfortable with speaking to large groups of people.

Leadership:

A good leader motivates their team and influences their behaviour so that they coordinate their tasks and processes in the desired manner to achieve specific goals or objectives.

Analysis:

Analytical thinking requires looking at data and then coming up with a good decision, and is a key ability any project manager must have. The quality and timing of their decisions when called upon will determine the success of a project.

Management:

For quick and quality work managing people properly is a must. The manager is responsible for allocating tasks to team members, delegating, initiating and enhancing cooperation, evaluating performance and holding individuals in the team accountable.

Negotiation:

Discussing with clients on the nature and scope of work as well as agreeing on a schedule is the work of the project manager. They have to bargain for manpower and resources. Negotiating in a way that is not aggressive to get what is required for project success is continuously learnt through experience.

Organising:

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Synchronising physical, human and financial resources requires carefulness and diligence. Project managers need to be organised in their personal and professional life. An organisational system based on good habits, processes and documentation will ensure that important details are not forgotten. Project managers must always use a note taking system such as an application or diary to record all important details.

Problem Solving:

Often, problems that require quick thinking and creative solutions arise. The project manager must have the skill to predict these issues in advance as well as brainstorm on the solutions. Backup plans and contingency options can help deter a costly delay and keep the project on schedule. If anticipated, most risks can be reduced or entirely eliminated. However, not all risks can be predicted with certainty due to the dynamic nature of project environments. The project manager must deal properly with minor issues that arise to prevent those from becoming huge setbacks.

Budgeting:

All projects operate within specified financial constraints. The project manager is responsible for creating the budget and ensuring that it is adhered to. The budget requires experience as it involves priorities and making uncertain projections. With time and experience handling projects managers become knowledgeable about costing, prioritising primary activities and achieving savings on project activities.