Top 10 Project Manager Skills You Must Master to be a Pro

Read it in 8 Mins

Last updated on
12th Jul, 2022
Published
20th May, 2022
Views
3,751
Top 10 Project Manager Skills You Must Master to be a Pro

Project management is a challenging task. But that’s what makes it so interesting. It is like being the CEO of a particular project. The project manager owns the project. He or she is completely responsible for its successful execution. The project manager takes care of every facet of the project including the project's inception, initial analysis, planning, resource allocation, execution, control, and closure. And every facet of this job has its own challenges.  

A project manager must be able to do a lot of different things at the same time and work well under stress. A project manager's skills include having strong leadership skills, impeccable communication, knowledge about motivation theories, and great problem-solving skills. Such fundamental skills will help any individual to be a good project manager and be capable of managing any kind of project.

Who is a Project Manager? 

Project managers are like the captains of ships. They are in charge of planning projects, putting together a project team, and overseeing project activities, timelines, and budgets. They have to be very skillful to successfully execute the projects every single time. And project management skills, for this very reason, are highly valued in any industry. Project management skills have a direct impact on your and your team's ability to complete the project at hand. These skills ensure that everyone in the team works in collaboration towards a singular shared goal and achieves it smoothly.  

Project planning, managing resources, owning the execution through the team, and making sure the project is done on time and on a budget are some of the basic responsibilities of a project manager. And they need to accomplish it with the allocated resources and meet the leadership’s expectations. Sometimes, this can be a tall task. A great PM candidate will not only have strong technical project management skills but will also need to have a solid understanding of business, and be good at planning and business management. To create a strong career in this field, you must also have the ability to lead, inspire, and collaborate with stakeholders and members of the team. It is imperative that as a beginner you go through a good project management training course to gain fundamental skills.  Let's look at all the skills required for success in this field in detail.

Skills Required to be a Project Manager

The top skills required to be a great project manager are:  

Leadership skills

Leadership for a  Project Manager is an extremely important skill. This one skill can greatly influence the success rate of the projects. Being a leader means being able to exert influence over a team or a group of people. And then direct the team’s energy towards the desired outcome, i.e., the complete success of the project. It is not just about giving orders and expecting people to follow them, but rather inspiring and guiding people to achieve something great. Keeping everyone in the team motivated is an important task for a project manager.  

There can be different leadership styles. Different leaders have different styles. Good leaders are the ones who can adapt their style to fit the needs of the project and the situation. A leader will find ways to remove the constraints not just for himself or herself but also for the team members.  

Project Management Methodologies 

Project management methodologies are essentially frameworks to make project management efficient. Basically, these are like best practices that have evolved after a lot of research in this field. Different project management methodologies are:

  • Agile methodology
  • Waterfall methodology
  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Lean methodology
  • Adapt project framework
  • Scrumban
  • PRINCE2

Different methodologies are popular in different industries. The choice of project management methodology also depends on the project requirements and resources that are available. You will want to find out which methodology is popular in your industry or the industry you are targeting. Getting good at one or a few of the methodologies will help you be a better project manager.

Communication 

A PM spends an incredible amount of time in communication with various stakeholders, including team members, seniors, and at times, clients. A project manager is required to manage the expectations of all the stakeholders and be able to set the right expectations for the project teams. Stakeholder management in projects can sometimes become very daunting. For this reason, communication becomes a very important tool. This is a skill all project managers must master to be effective in their work. Poor communication skills can result in inefficiencies, confusion, overbudgeting, and missed deadlines.  

Effective communication includes being able to create the right relationship with teammates, being able to inspire them towards the project vision, managing interpersonal conflicts, coordinating and creating harmony in the team. The most important part of communication is the ability to understand the situation and challenges being faced by your coworkers. Effective listening comes in very handy in improving the overall communication.  

Problem Solving

No project, irrespective of its size, can be free of problems and challenges. A project manager's primary job is to tackle these problems, find effective solutions, and ways to overcome them. Problem-solving skills are an art as well as a science. It helps to be highly structured in your approach, be able to gather the right data, and have the ability to find relevant insights from the data and analyse the situation. Such critical thinking skills can be honed by acquiring the right frameworks, being structured, having an eye for details, and by practice. Problem solving is one of the most sought after project manager’s qualities.  

Data Analysis

Data analysis is a highly sought-after skill in project management. It allows you to monitor and assess the quality of execution constantly. It helps in measuring the effectiveness of your projects and making any necessary adjustments or improvements. This skill will teach you how to better collect data and how to effectively analyse it. This may also involve learning some tools for making better decisions by backing them up with data analytics.  

The most important data analysis skills required for a project manager are:  

  • MS Excel: There is a reason why MS Excel is amongst the most popular tools for project managers. It not only helps in basic management functions but can also help the PM in analyzing the data quickly. Some advanced MS Excel skills like macros, VBA lookups, pivot tables, etc. can make work a lot easier.
  • Strong Mathematical and Statistical Skills: Strong fundamentals of mathematics including an understanding of complex formulas and concepts like linear algebra, calculus, and probability, help in better understanding the data. Statistical skills include regression analysis, correlation, factor analysis, etc., which can help in understanding large sets of data.  
  • Data Visualisation: Many times, creating a visualization of complex data can highlight significant insights. Data visualization also makes it easier to communicate the results of the analysis.  
  • Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is about asking the right questions and thinking through first principles. It can lead to creative solutions to complex problems one faces while managing a project.  

Planning 

Planning is a basic project management skill. A successful project requires the skills to plan and prioritize project activities, tasks, and workflows. Every project is constrained by finite resources, time deadlines, and budget limits. Managing the whole project that meets its deadlines and is successfully executed within its given resources requires great project planning. This includes solid time management skills, the ability to prioritize, and allocating the right resources to each piece of work. For this to happen, a project manager must understand the abilities of each of his project team members and what each of them brings to the table. This will enable the right resource allocation and project execution forecasting.

Risk Management 

Managing risk is a project management ability that allows a project leader to minimize the inherent risks that can cause project execution failure. Not all risks can be eliminated, but a good project manager will take a calculated risks and build processes to minimize the chance of failure. For effectively managing risk, it is also important that relevant risks are communicated to the project teams and individuals.

Budgeting 

One of a project manager's most important roles is budgeting and financial control. Across the life cycle of the project, it requires creating the right cost estimations, analyzing the financial feasibility, budgeting the expenses, managing resources, and spending. This skill also involves a lot of negotiation skills.

Technology Tools

Knowing the right technology tools can make one highly efficient. Today, there are a number of tools to ease your workload as a project manager. Different organizations may use different tools for planning, collaboration, documentation, and analysis. Most of the basics of these are MS Office applications. These include Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Access. One should know how to deploy Gantt Charts, Work Breakdown Structures (WBS), and track team activities. Some popular project management tools include Jira, Asana, Zoho Projects, Microsoft Projects, Basecamp, etc.

How to Improve Project Management Skills 

Project management skills are essential for any successful project. Without proper management, a project can easily go off track and fail to deliver the intended results. If you want to improve your own project management skills, there are several things you can do. One is to take advantage of online training programs or in-person workshops that focus on developing these important skills. Browse through Knowledgehut project management training courses to find some of the best courses in the project management field.  Many of these programs are designed specifically for professionals who want to improve their ability to manage projects. In addition, you can refresh your understanding of project management principles and methods by reading articles and books on the topic. There is a great amount of content available online on this subject.  And finally, you can practice using some of those skills through hands-on exercises and simulations.

Conclusion

No matter what approach you take to improve your project management skills, the important thing is to get started. By taking action and learning new techniques, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more successful project manager.

Do you have what it takes to be a project manager? If so, then consider pursuing a career in this exciting and challenging field.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. What is the role of a Project Manager?  

A Project Manager’s role is to manage the complete project and take it to successful execution. Project managers are responsible for initial planning, resource allocation, budget, and time management. They are responsible for the execution of the project as per the scope.

2. What are the top three project managerial skills one must have?  

The top three project management skills are leadership, planning, and problem-solving.

3. What do you mean by leadership skills?  

Leadership skill is essentially a skill that enables you to lead, inspire, and motivate people to work towards a shared project vision. A good leader will steer the team members to smoothly and successfully execute the project.

4. What are the major responsibilities of a Project Manager?  

A project manager is in charge of making sure everything is planned out, figuring out what the project's goals are, figuring out how to allocate resources, planning tasks and time, and coordinating with the rest of the team to make sure the project runs smoothly.

Profile

Aditi Jain

Blog Author

Aditi is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at KnowledgeHut. She is an avid writer with a masters in English literature and specializes in long-form articles and crisp marketing copies. She loves playing the guitar and covers soothing songs. Scrolling Instagram is also part of her mindfulness!