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The 9 Project Management Skills Every Project Manager Needs

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What are project management skills? 

Project management skills are the qualities and attributes of a project manager that allow them to lead successful projects from conception to completion. This involves, among other things, planning projects, risk and opportunity assessments, budget creation, communication with interested parties, and resolution of issues. 

Project management skills are broadly classified into two types:  

1. Soft Skills:

These are personality traits and attributes that enable one to get along with others amicably. This characteristic in project managers helps them interact effectively and peacefully with other people. These skills cannot be learned or taught through formal education or training but can be improved with practice. 

2. Hard Skills:

These are also called technical skills. Project managers can learn these skills via training or education in technological know-how. Hard skills are important in project management since they allow managers to plan, schedule and manage projects efficiently.  

Going forward, we’ll elaborate more on these two skills. But before we do that, let’s understand the importance of these skills in project management. 

The Importance of Project Management Skills 

Project management skills are important to run every part of a business more effectively and efficiently.  

Did you know? 

By 2023, due to the growing economy and retirement rates, there’ll be a growing global need for over 25 million new project professionals to fill jobs requiring project management-oriented skills, according to The Project Management Institute (PMI). 

This means that the demand for skilled project managers is going to grow more rapidly than ever, making it important for them to adapt to this change. 

Project management skills are also important to managers for the following reasons: 

  • Risk management can be optimized with project management skills. Project managers can strategize better and proactively prepare for uncertain situations or manage risks with these skills. By honing their skills, project managers can think of different outcomes and secure support for the right plan of action. 
  • Organize, track, schedule, and plan the progress of project goals. Such skills also help with staying under budget and being on time while meeting the expectations of stakeholders. 
  • Project managers are often flooded with several projects while taking care of other job responsibilities. Project management skills can help them prioritize their tasks and work on them in an orderly manner. 
  • Project managers with the right skills ensure efficient resource management, an important part of handling projects. They are tasked with making difficult decisions like maintaining the budget and time every day. Their project management skills can help them to pay attention to their resources and to manage them properly. 

Project managers must remember that they are also leaders who must maintain a positive work culture. It’s upon project managers to maintain team bonding and meet goals while ensuring that their top talent sticks around rather than sending them running out the door.  

So, if you haven’t already started, it’s time to focus on honing your project management skills and fearlessly leading your team. There are many skills you’ll need to bring this about. Continue reading to find out what these main skills are. 

What Are The 9 Important Skills For Project Managers? 

project management skills 2
The 9 Project Management Skills Every Project Manager Needs 1

1: Having an Emotional Quotient (EQ):  

This is one of the main skills that project managers must master above everything else. Unfortunately, good communication is one of the skills that most managers lack, which affects the morale of a team and, ultimately, the overall productivity.  

Communication is the key to effective client management, which is dependent on strong and open dialogue. If leaders communicate properly, everyone’s clear about their roles and responsibilities. This enables teams to achieve their objectives in a better way. 

Fact Check: 71% of workers who said they were more efficient and productive felt good connections with their colleagues. 

Soft Skills: Project managers must take an intentional approach to ensure inclusion, praise, recognition, meaningful interaction, and two-way feedback. 

2: Strong Leadership Role 

Being a leader does not mean ordering people around and making them work. It’s also more than leading a project to completion. It means working with a team and guiding them with a sense of shared responsibility throughout the process.  

Leadership is another important skill in project management. It’s all about managing people and tasks in a practical fashion with an open mind.  

Tip: As a successful leader, always remember to lead your team by example. Before starting a project, always remember to get all the insights and projects aligned so there’s no confusion when it starts. Finally, don’t forget always to encourage, motivate, and follow up with your team.  

3: Adaptability/ Flexibility 

Projects can be unpredictable, and a good project manager will always have a backup plan to fend against the odds. Also, no two projects are alike, which means the same approach is not going to work each time. Flexibility is a skill that project managers must master to ensure that projects come to fruition as scheduled.  

Tip: Learn to stay mindful and aware of your actions. This will keep you grounded and also guide you in understanding when you need to shift gears. Being adaptable emotionally and cognitively might not ensure that your decisions are right. However, it will help you work out varied outcomes and scenarios before the main work starts. 

4: Conflict Resolution:  

Wondering what’s the reason for a stalled workflow? Conflict.  

Like risks, conflicts are inevitable when working on projects. This can crop up due to reasons like disagreements among stakeholders, budget overruns, or missed deadlines. When this happens, as a responsible and skilled project manager, your job is to address the problem and resolve it before matters get worse. 

Tip: Take a step forward and address both sides of the conflict to get a clearer picture. Most importantly, remember to listen, especially when there are groups that feel that they’ve been wronged. Approach the situation with patience and lead with empathy. This can greatly help in resolving even the most frustrating situations with better results.  

5: Ability to Choose the Right Project Management Methodology 

While this is more of a strategic aspect than a skill, nevertheless, it can be considered as a skill since zeroing in on the right methods requires an ability to foresee future requirements and assess past performance as well as current needs with a keen eye. 

Not every project management methodology matches every project, and it’s important to know which one, be it Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, or anything else, would suit the project’s complex or simple requirements. 

Tip: Learn various project management methodologies, such as Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and more. Understand their principles, processes, advantages, and limitations. Explore case studies or real-world examples to see how each methodology has been applied in different projects. 

6: Project Scoping 

What is the project timeline? How much work can be achieved within this timeline? Is the budget enough for the project? In addition to answering all these questions, project scoping skills can also prevent scope creep, a situation where project deliverables exceed the original scope of work. 

Quick Fact: Scope creep is reported in almost 50% of projects, while only 57% are completed within budget, and 51% are still on schedule. 

Tip: Start project scoping early on in a project to improve your skills. The project scope must act as a point of reference for you and your stakeholders. This makes it easier for you to know when to refuse new requests on a project.  

7: Troubleshooting Skills 

Problem-solving is a strategic process and exceptional skill in project management, which enables managers to solve any existing or impending issues efficiently. 

It’s not possible to achieve this skill overnight. It’s all about knowledge gained over years of experience every day. A good problem-solving structure will make it easier to identify what’s lacking, the need for improvement, or an update. 

Tip: You must make the most appropriate methods available to you as a project manager, taking into account your expertise and the available resources. Define the problem at hand, understand that it’s happening, and then try solving it using your creativity and analytical skills. 

8: Time Management 

Managing time is a skill that project managers must stress, to have a disciplined workflow. Using the correct time management strategies encourages the organization of tasks and keeps your mind clear about the work that you need to do on priority. Also, this skill reduces the chances of procrastination, which happens when the timeline of tasks is unclear. 

Tip: Improve team management skills as a project manager by prioritizing tasks according to importance. Ensure that everything’s done systematically and nothing is left out with excellent time management skills. You can also use time-tracking software to get better results.  

9: Task Management 

Task Management is a hard or technical skill that project managers must practice. Task management keeps you updated about a project’s real-time progress while effectively managing your team’s time and yours. 

Tip: Take advantage of the many task management software available for use. Such software can provide you with a comprehensive view of the tasks and empower your team’s overall productivity. 

Project Management Skills- The Future of New Possibilities 

You might already know and even excel in some of the project management skills listed above while struggling with others. But it’s not something to worry about. If you already own these traits as a part of your personality, they can always be improved with a little training and learning. Furthermore, there are many tools to help you with the technical aspect.  

“By 2027, it’s anticipated that 88 million people worldwide will work in project management, with a projected $20 trillion in project-related economic activity.” 

Harvard Business Review 

Project management is a profession that’s making strides. Mastering the skills, especially the ones listed above, is a worthwhile endeavor. Applying these skills in your everyday work will give you the power to guide teams through a range of obstacles.  

Everybody in an organization, irrespective of a formal project management title, is responsible for organizing and leading a project at some point. So, whenever the need arises, you can trust these project management skills to get the job done and progress with the times. 


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