The Skills Needed to Be a Project Manager

teamwork image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com

Project managers (PMs) need several strong skills to be successful. PMs work in various industries – health care, construction, and engineering – to name a few. PMs hold the ultimate responsibility for assuring project completion is timely and on budget. A PM leads the project by creating project plans, managing resources on the team, managing tasks, setting priorities and communicating with clients, vendors, stakeholders, management and the project team.

Organizational Skills

PMs must have strong organizational skills to create a project plan, manage a project schedule, and know what each resource is responsible for and the status, at any given time. The project plan is a tool to organize the project time line, list tasks and assigned resources. The PM may choose to organize reoccurring meetings with team members to discuss status and barriers to the project. The PM’s schedule is busy; she constantly juggles emails, phone calls and meetings alongside maintenance of the project plan. PMs should convey balance. Without strong organization skills, projects will appear chaotic.

Communications Skills

Without a solid line of communication from the PM to the team, clients, vendors and stakeholders, the project will fail. PMs must be adept to pulling their team together to communicate with one another. As the primary point of contact on the project, the PM must provide status updates to all involved. He must be able to communicate the project needs to the team, updates to the stakeholders and expectations to the client. This communication is usually done through meetings and reports.

Leadership Skills

As a leader, PMs guide their team, make decisions, work well under pressure and need limited supervision. Project success is dependent on completion of tasks by those other than the PM. Therefore, the PM must make sure that project team members are completing their tasks timely, correctly and within budget. Her success is hinged on asking others to complete their jobs. The PM must have leadership skills to manage her team members and guide the prioritization of the project’s tasks.

Ability to Troubleshoot and Resolve Issues

The ability to troubleshoot and resolve conflict is an intangible skill that often comes with years of experience. A seasoned PM can spot conflict early and work towards a resolution before it becomes an escalated issue or puts the project at risk. PMs use solid judgment to make decisions to avoid issues. Whether the issue is interpersonal between team members, budgetary, delays in meeting targets or beyond their control, they must assess each issue carefully to troubleshoot the source. Adept PMs think through solutions before escalating issues to stakeholders, management and clients.

References

About the Author

Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.

Photo Credits