Although Project Managers are found in lots of different industry sectors, and work on many different types of projects, there are common skills that are needed. Some of these overlap with the skills needed for traditional day-to-day management, while some, like planning, involve tools and techniques that are specific to Project Management.
Leadership is important because the Project Manager is responsible for delivering the end result of the project. Some projects, like IT software development projects, benefit from a ‘servant leadership’ role, where the Project Manager helps facilitate an environment for the clever technical resources to be as effective as possible. Other projects like construction or large IT projects benefit from a more authoritative Project Management leadership style.
Communication is a key skill because it is central to much of what the Project Manager does – whether it be conveying progress reports to difficult customers, extracting technical information from team members, or liaising with suppliers. All types of communication are important – non-verbal, like emails, documents, and verbal like phone calls, presentations, etc
Negotiation skills. As a Project Manager you are often called upon and required to negotiate to get the right resources for their project, or to get the best terms or prices with suppliers.
Planning is a critical skill for Project Managers. There are lots of tools and techniques available to help a Project Manager put together a comprehensive plan on how a project will succeed.
General management skills are also key to a Project Manager, particularly those related to Risk Management, Time Management and People Management. The last one, people, is particularly important for an effective Project Manager.
Problem Solving is crucial and used frequently by a Project Manager especially in the early stages of a project to help identify possible solutions or approaches that could be adopted. During the actual execution of the project, a Project Manager is also often called upon to use problem-solving skills to help with issues or risks.
Finally, a Project Manager needs to be effective at self-organisation; in other words, he or she needs to have good personal time management and other organisational skills.
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