Being a project manager requires a unique skill set. Not only do you need to be able to see the big picture and delegate tasks effectively, but you also need to be an expert in time management, risk management, and even conflict resolution. In other words, being a successful project manager requires a combination of both hard and soft skills. However, the rewards can be great if you are up for the challenge. As the person in charge of a project, you will have the opportunity to lead a team to success, learn new skills, and build your reputation within your organization.
However, the project manager’s skill set is constantly changing to meet the demands of an ever-evolving industry. What was once important may not be as significant five years from now. With that in mind, here is a list of the top 25 project manager skills that will hold the same importance for many upcoming years. Since these skills will be key to success in the field, you can even take online course for Project Management and make sure you hone them as much as possible!
Who is Project Manager?
A project manager oversees all aspects of a project from start to finish. This includes developing the project plan, assigning tasks to team members, and tracking progress against milestones. A project manager must communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including the project sponsor, customers, and other executive team members. Also, a project manager must be able to identify and resolve any issues that may arise during the project.
Project managers are typically responsible for an organization's specific area or function. For example, a construction company may have a project manager who oversees all construction projects. Alternatively, a software development company may have a project manager who oversees all software development projects. In either case, the project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
What are Project Management Skills?
Project management is leading a team to complete a task within a given timeline. This is why a successful project manager must have a combination of various technical and soft skills, as well as certain personality traits. Here are some top skills for project managers that ensure their success in every field.
Project managers can learn hard skills through training and education, such as scheduling, budgeting, and risk management.
Soft skills for a project manager are harder to quantify, but they are just as important for success in project management. These include communication, conflict resolution, and leadership skills.
Finally, project managers must work well under pressure, handle multiple tasks simultaneously, and make decisions quickly. We have discussed all the top project manager skills in detail below.
Project Manager Technical Skills
Below are some important technical skills needed in a project manager:
1. Planning and Forecasting
Any successful project manager worth their value will tell you that planning and forecasting is one of the good project management skills they should possess. After all, how can you hope to successfully complete a project if you don't have a clear roadmap to follow?
The ability to plan and forecast effectively requires a deep understanding of the project's goals, as well as a keen eye for detail. Furthermore, it is also important to take into account potential risks and setbacks and have contingency plans in place in case things don't go according to plan.
2. Tracking and Monitoring
Tracking and monitoring are among the effective project management skills needed for the progress of any project. This involves keeping close tabs on milestones, deliverables, and deadlines and ensuring everyone is on track. It is also crucial to clearly understand the risks and issues associated with your project, so that you can take quick and effective action if anything goes wrong. To succeed in this role, you need to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt quickly to changes.
3. Knowledge of Project Management Methodologies
This is by far one of the most important skills for project managers. As a project manager, it is crucial that you have a strong understanding of different project management methodologies that include principles, techniques, and procedures. This knowledge will allow you to plan and execute projects more and troubleshoot any problems that may arise.
By understanding these different approaches, you will be better equipped to select the right methodology for each project. Furthermore, a strong understanding of project management methodologies will allow you to communicate more effectively with your team and other stakeholders. When everyone is on the same page, keeping the project on track and avoiding any potential setbacks will be easier.
4. Meeting Facilitation
Apart from the most important skills for project managers mentioned above, another key component of being an effective project manager is being able to facilitate meetings. This involves more than just booking a room and sending out an agenda; good facilitation ensures that meetings are productive, focused, and well-organized. Meeting facilitation has several important facets, including time management, conflict resolution, and active listening. By mastering these skills, project managers can ensure that their team can make the most of every meeting.
5. Subject Matter Expertise
Having a deep understanding of the subject matter of the project is among the essential project management skills. This allows them to effectively communicate with team members and stakeholders and make informed decisions about the project. For whatever work the manager is assigned, he should be experienced in it. He should be able to provide the knowledge and expertise in the business area, subject, or technical area for a project he is assigned.
6. Proficient with Project Management Software
In today's business world, a project manager should be proficient with different project management software. This software is designed to help companies and individuals track projects, tasks, and schedules. By being proficient with this software, a project manager can save the company time and money. In addition, a project manager proficient with project management software can communicate better with team members and clients.
7. Team Management
The role of a project manager is to oversee the development and execution of a project, ensuring that it is on track and meeting deadlines. An important part of this process is team management. A project manager needs to communicate effectively with and motivate team members and keep them organized and on task. To do this, a project manager should be proficient with team management software such as ClickUp. They should also be familiar with project management methodologies such as Agile or Scrum.
8. Project Planning
Perhaps, one of the most important skills for a project manager as everything relies on Project planning. A project manager should be proficient in project planning to succeed. Project planning requires the ability to create and maintain a project schedule, as well as identify and track project milestones. Furthermore, project planning also requires the ability to allocate resources and track project progress. These project manager skills are essential to ensure that a project is completed on time and within budget.
9. Project Scheduling
Project scheduling is one of the most important project manager core skills that decides the overall time of a project. By understanding how to create and monitor a project schedule, a project manager can keep a project on track and ensure it is completed on time. Additionally, project scheduling can help a project manager to identify potential problems and risks associated with a project and to develop contingency plans to deal with them. As a result, project managers skilled in project scheduling can save their organizations time and money by ensuring that projects are completed efficiently and effectively.
10. Project Budgeting
If you go and enroll yourself in PMP training to enhance your skill, this is the first important thing you will learn. Project budgeting is the process of creating a budget for a project and ensuring that the project stays within that budget. It is a critical skill for project managers, as it allows them to effectively manage the finances of their project and ensure that it does not go over budget.
Without this skill, project managers would be unable to effectively manage their project's finances, leading to the project going over budget and ultimately unsuccessful. Therefore, project managers must have a strong understanding of project budgeting to succeed.
11. Risk Management
One of the most important project manager skills is identifying and managing risks. Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and managing potential risks that could impact the success of a project. By understanding and managing risks effectively, you can help to ensure that your project runs smoothly and achieves its objectives.
You can use several different risk management techniques, so choosing the right approach for your project is important. But whatever technique you use, effective risk management can be a valuable tool for ensuring the success of your project.
12. Cost Management
Cost management is considered among the best skills for a project manager as it keeps your project's budget within the limit. This includes knowing how to establish project budgets, track project expenses, and manage project costs effectively. This knowledge will help you ensure that your project stays on track and within budget.
Additionally, being able to manage project costs effectively will also help you to deliver value to your clients or sponsors. Therefore, learning about cost management is a key area to focus on if you want to enhance your project management skills.
13. Task Management
As a project manager, it is important to have a strong understanding of task management. This includes creating and tracking tasks, assigning tasks to team members, and monitoring progress. These project management skills are essential for keeping work on track and ensuring deadlines are met. Being able to manage tasks effectively can help to improve team morale and productivity. As such, it is clear that task management is an essential skill for any project manager.
Project Manager Soft Skills
Apart from hard skills, there are some important soft skills for a project manager, including:
1. Leadership Skills
An effective project manager should have leadership skills. The project manager is responsible for leading the project team and ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
Leadership skills are essential to motivate and inspire the project team to achieve the project objectives. Leadership skills are also required to effectively communicate the project vision and objectives to all stakeholders and resolve any conflicts that may arise during the project.
2. Communication Skills
Outstanding communication ability is among the most important project management skills to acquire. The project manager needs to consult with project stakeholders regularly to get their input and feedback on the project's progress.
So, the project manager should be able to deliver project updates to project sponsors and project team members clearly and concisely. A project manager must have excellent communication skills to manage a project effectively.
3. Negotiation Skills
Negotiation techniques are one of the critical project manager skills. They need to be able to negotiate contracts, scope, timelines, and resources with project sponsors, stakeholders, and team members. They also need to be able to resolve conflicts that arise during the project.
Good negotiation skills can help project managers get the resources they need to complete the project on time and within budget. They can also help project managers build strong relationships with project sponsors, stakeholders, and team members.
4. Organization Skills
A project manager's soft skill needs the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously while keeping an eye on the big picture. Project managers must be able to prioritize and delegate tasks and stay calm under pressure. They also need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills to build consensus among team members. Finally, project managers should be adept at problem-solving and crisis management.
5. Interpersonal Skills
Among the other top project manager skills, interpersonal skills are highly valued. Interpersonal skills are the project manager's ability to communicate and interact with project stakeholders both verbally and nonverbally.
Effective project managers possess strong, active listening skills and can develop positive relationships and trust. They are also able to handle conflict resolution and give constructive feedback.
Good interpersonal skills are crucial for project managers because they can understand stakeholder needs and effectively manage expectations. Strong interpersonal skills help project managers gain buy-in from project sponsors and team members, which is essential for project success.
6. Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving is a key project manager skill. There will always be unforeseen problems that arise during a project, and it is the project manager's job to find solutions to these problems. This requires creative and analytical thinking and communicating effectively with project team members and stakeholders.
Project managers must be able to quickly identify the root cause of a problem and develop a plan of action to address it. They must also communicate the problem and propose solutions effectively to all relevant parties. With strong problem-solving skills, a project manager can keep a project on track despite challenges.
Personality Traits of a Project Manager
From keeping calm under heavy pressure to staying organized, below are other most important skills of project manager (must have personality traits):
A project manager should be open to adaptability to be successful. This means accepting changes that need to be made to ensure the successful outcome of a project. The project manager may adjust the project plan based on budget, time, and resources. They also may have to pivot based on user needs or technology changes.
It also means being willing to adjust personal preferences or methods better to meet the needs of the project or team. Being open to adaptability is an essential skill for project managers, as it allows them to be flexible and responsive to changes, ensuring that the project remains on track.
2. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to see the whole picture, identify where problems exist, and come up with creative solutions. It's a must-have skill for project managers, who need to be able to analyze data, spot trends, and make decisions that will move the project forward. The ability to think critically can mean the difference between a project that succeeds and one that fails.
Project managers who think critically can better identify risks and opportunities, solve problems, and make sound decisions. They are also better equipped to manage change and adapt to unexpected challenges. In short, critical thinking is a must-have skill for project managers.
3. A Sense of Humor
A project manager should have a sense of humor. This important skill allows project managers to see the funny side of things, which can help them to stay calm in stressful situations. Laughter is also a great way to relieve tension and build team morale.
When project managers can laugh at themselves and the situation, it shows they are confident and in control. This can help to instill confidence in team members, making them more likely to cooperate and work together effectively.
A sense of humor also helps project managers to build relationships with clients and stakeholders. These relationships are essential for successful project management. A project manager who can make people laugh is more likely to build trust and earn respect.
A project manager has to deal with many people - clients, stakeholders, and team members - and often has to ask for things or resolve conflicts. If a project manager does not have patience, it won't be easy to manage these relationships effectively and efficiently.
In addition, project managers must often deal with unexpected problems or delays. They will likely become frustrated and make poor decisions if they are not patient. So, patience is an important project manager skill because it allows them to manage relationships and deal with unexpected problems effectively.
How to Develop Project Management Skills?
So, there are some golden rules and strategies that you must apply to develop project management skills. The crucial tips include:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice can improve any skill, and project management is no different. If you want to develop your project management skills, you can do a few things. First, seek out opportunities to lead projects. This will allow you to practice your skills and learn from your mistakes.
Second, read up on project management techniques and principles. There are many excellent books and articles on the subject, and these can provide valuable insights into best practices.
Finally, stay up to date with the latest project management software and tools. These can help you work more efficiently and track progress on your projects. Following and practicing these tips can hone your key project management skills and become a more effective leader.
2. Attend Industry Events and Workshops
Another way to develop project management skills is to attend industry events and workshops. These events provide an opportunity to learn from experts in the field and network with other professionals. Attendees can also take advantage of the many available resources at these events, such as books, software, and templates.
Furthermore, most events offer continuing education credits, which can be used towards maintaining certification or for future job applications. By taking advantage of all these events, attendees can develop the skills they need to be successful project managers.
3. Taking a Course
Yes, taking a course is important to develop the skills needed for project management. Project management is the process of initiating, planning, executing, and controlling a project. It involves several steps, including creating a project plan, assigning tasks to team members, monitoring progress, and dealing with any issues.
While it is possible to learn the basics of project management on your own, taking a course can allow you to develop more sophisticated skills. In addition, a course can allow you to network with other professionals and learn from their experiences.
4. Earn a Degree or Certificate in Project Management
Every company requires some best skills for project managers, so earning a degree or certification is a good idea. And since project management is a growing field, there are many different ways to get started.
One option is to earn a degree or certificate in project management. This will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in this field. Alternatively, you can get certified in specific project management approaches through PRINCE2 course and PMP certification. These certifications (explained in detail below) will show that you have the skills and experience to lead successful projects.
- PMP Certification: It includes predictive, agile and hybrid approaches to help you develop project management skills.
- PRINCE2 Certifications: It offers a systematic approach to delivering a project with clear templates, precise processes, and steps
- Agile Certifications: If you work in an Agile environment, you can get certified in Agile methods. This will show your employer that you have the skills to work effectively in this fast-paced environment.
5. Familiarizing yourself with a Project Management Tool
A project management tool helps you plan, budget, track your projects, and streamline your upcoming work and tasks. There are many different types of project management tools available such as Zoho, and the best one for you will depend on the type of project you're working on.
And if you are new to project management, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few different options before choosing one. Once you have selected a tool, take time to learn how to use it effectively. Developing strong project management skills will help you complete your projects on time and within budget.
6. Work Experience
One of the best ways to develop key project management skills is to focus on work experience. This can be done in several ways, such as internships, volunteering, and even part-time jobs. By working on real-world projects, you will gain first-hand experience with the challenges and complexities of managing a project.
You will also have the opportunity to learn from more experienced project managers and get feedback on your performance. This hands-on approach is often the best way to develop the skills you need to be successful in project management.
To stay ahead in the field of project management, it is important to be aware of the project management skills list explained here, as employers will most seek these skills. By focusing on developing these skills, you can ensure that you are well-equipped to take on any project manager role that may come your way. Best of all, you can go for KnowledgeHut Project Management online courses to get a hold of these skills and polish your profile even more.
These skills will continue to be important, but new technologies and methods may emerge that require different skills. Thus, stay up-to-date on the latest project management trends and techniques to ensure you are prepared for whatever comes next.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What does a project manager do daily?
A project manager ensures that a project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard. They develop a project plan outlining the work to be done and the resources required. They then track progress and make necessary adjustments to ensure the project stays on track. Thus, acquiring at least some best project management skills is recommended to get everything on track.
2. What are the best project management tools?
There are many great tools for project management, including ClickUp, Workzone, ProofHub, Wrike, Asana, Trello, MeisterTask, and Monday.com. If you are working on a software development project, you might use a tool like Jira, which is designed specifically for tracking software development projects. If you are working on a construction project, you might use a tool like Procore, which is designed specifically for construction project management.
3. What are the top project management techniques?
The best project management techniques for project managers include:
- Work breakdown structure (WBS)
- Critical Path Method (CPM)
4. What’s the first thing a project manager should do on a project?
The first thing a project manager should do on a project is to establish clear objectives. Once the objectives are established, the project manager can develop a plan to achieve them. The plan should detail the steps that need to be taken, the resources that will be required, and the timeline for completion.
5. What are the qualifications of a project manager?
The project manager skills required by top companies include a strong understanding of all aspects of business management, such as finance, human resources, marketing and operations. So, companies look for the necessary qualifications in the candidates. Most project managers have a degree in management, and many have a master's degree. So, you can go for these degrees as well.
6. How do I become a project manager with no experience?
You can sign up with a mentor. This will allow you to learn from someone with more experience. You can also get certified to show potential employers the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful project manager. Many organizations also offer training programs specifically for project managers to learn about the ins and outs of the job.