Most companies will need to meet various business goals and objectives at any one time. The most common approach is to group related activities into distinct or related projects. It is crucial that these projects are planned and managed successfully, the value of project management should never be underestimated.
Whether you are preparing an event, building a website or constructing a building, project management is a critical function that every business will come across at some point. If projects are managed successfully, an enterprise can derive several benefits that can be financial, operational or provide a competitive advantage. Projects can face long delays, exceed their budgets or do not deliver the required results can be catastrophic to businesses. The relationship between the management of projects and the management of people highlight some of the key skills used by successful project managers, some of the essential skills to add to your project management CV are as followed:
Effective communication is paramount for any project manager. Afterall, you are the projects leader. You must be able to communicate persuasively about your project as a practical business venture, collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders, write concise and accurate progress reports. Most importantly, you need to ensure you communicate with the project staff and stakeholders using the most appropriate method and level of detail needed. As the leader of a project, you need to be able to encourage everyone involved to share both your commitment and confidence about the project's success.
2. Team Management
Although great project managers will never avoid their tasks, they must still be comfortable delegating work to others when necessary. Project managers perform a wide range of activities but they simply cannot do everything themselves. The ability to organise project work and assign all the various aspects of it to the most appropriate employees is crucial. Effectively delegating can help ensure that each task is performed by the most appropriate person at the most appropriate time.
Organisational skills are an essential requirement for project management. As a project manager you are you need to organise and coordinate activities to ensure everyone involved understands what is expected of them. There is a various range of project management software available to help assist project managers to organise, schedule, and plan tasks in a clear and logical way.
3. Risk Assessment
All projects are unique and subject to risks resulting in project management to be a very unpredictable career. Not even the best project manager is equipped with an accurate insight into the future, although by making sure you have all the information required to make realistic predictions about the outcome of projects is vital. Things will unavoidably go wrong, but by spotting these problems as soon as possible, and having a clear understanding of how they will affect the project’s progress and its overall outcome can be invaluable in your work as a project manager.
4. Understand Needs of Others
Project managers need to be available to perform in various roles and different projects, such as IT or even any emergency situation. If you limit your understanding of an area when you are needed you will not be able to assist or even able to optimally facilitate discussions and guide the project. It is important for project managers to keep learning and expanding their skills, this is available through being able to learn project management online, workshops or listening to podcasts etc. Approaching projects from the perspective of a leader, as opposed to a manager, will ensure you gain respect and boost staff morale. Understanding the needs of others is an effective way of avoiding conflict management, although conflicts are inevitable. A project manager needs to be open minded and understand the disagreement between the affected parties, set up meetings to discuss each party’s viewpoints and ensure both parties can negotiate and agree to a solution which moves the project forward.
5. Ability to Empathise
As a project manager you need to make your voice heard but you also need to be able to listen respectfully. This demonstrates to others that you respect your team’s opinions and it will increase their commitment and enthusiasm to the project. It is important to give praise where it is due, otherwise your team may become discouraged and detached from their work. It is important to recognise your workers when they do something right as this motivates and pushes the team further.
Project managers should not overlook of the importance of interpersonal skills and strong leadership when trying to deliver projects on time and on budget. In particular, being able to convey clearly to others what is happening and why, as well as exercising control over the project’s progress, is fundamental if you strive to be a great project manager.
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas. Helen also works with a select group of organisations consulting in People Management & Development, Education and Change.
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