5 Essential Project Management Skills

Javi Fondevila

If you have ever managed a project before, you will know how strange it is for you to say something or provide a direction, only for somebody to chirp back with something along the lines of “You’re the boss!”

See, when you are managing a project, people will look to you as the leader and will rarely question your direction, instruction, or strategy. Even if somebody disagrees with you, more often than not that person will feel compelled to go through with what you are saying.

When this happens, it is easy for you to make severe losses across the board—time, money, you name it.

Good management skills, therefore, are key.

5 Essential Skills for Project Management

As somebody managing a project, you are completely in charge of running a team of people who are made up of different individuals carrying out different roles. Somehow, you are meant to lead these people and successfully pilot a project through to completion.

How do you do it, though? How do you master the myriad of skills and qualities needed to be a successful project manager? Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some skills you can draw inspiration from.

1. Communication skills are priceless

It should go without saying that good communication skills are central to success. After all, most of your time as a project manager will be spent communicating with people. If you can effectively convey your ideas, goals, vision, and issues throughout the process efficiently, you will find yourself in a far better position than somebody who can’t do this.

A good place to start with your communication skills is to become a better orator— practice speaking and getting your thoughts across.

2. Good management is helped by good leadership

Good management requires leadership skills. If you can successfully lead a team, you can deliver on your promises and reach an end-goal. More often than not, it is leadership that is lacking in a project management—it is something that gets lost amongst technical skills and a lack of it can derail a project entirely.

Lots of resources are available out there that can help you develop as a leader.

3. Negotiation skills help you get what you want

In project management, a big part of communication is negotiating. Negotiation forms part of everything, from negotiating how you are going to utilize resources, set schedules, and draw up budgets. Knowing how to negotiate well so that you get what you want whilst still satisfying all parties involved is a key skill.

Negotiation skills come with time, however, the best way to develop them is to never give up in pursuit of your goals unless you 100 percent must.

4. Risk management

This is another skill that is often overlooked. When you are leading a project, though, there is a big risk factor and you need to be able to control and manage it. If you are able to predict issues and create solutions for them before they happen, you increase your chances of success.

Sure, not all risks will manifest into problems but there’s always the chance that they could, and by being ready for them there’s a lower chance of you suffering as a result.

5. Personal organizational skills

It really pays to be organized. If you aren’t then how can you properly run a project? Project management requires a lot of organization and structuring to run efficiently and successfully. If your personal life and personal projects are a mess that isn’t going anywhere, how is a professional project going to go? You get the idea.

It’s not hard to get organized but it is still something many people struggle with. We recommend reading a good book such as Getting Things Done by David Allen to help you get yourself under control.

Project Management Made Easy

With the right set of skills behind you, you will find the overall task of managing a project, no matter what that project is, more of a breeze. It is never going to be “easy” per se, but you can seriously simplify things by having some simple skills to back you up.

Lots of people manage projects, but only a few are successful. Those that are successful have many things in common, including the above skills.

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