These days the demand for skilled project managers has been higher than ever before as companies are trying really hard to stay relevant in the highly competitive market. In fact the Project Management Institute (PMI) has projected that by the end of 2027, the count of project management job roles is likely to surge by 33% leading to creation of 22 million jobs for skilled project managers.
However, due to very high demand, there has been a huge deficit in the demand and availability of skilled project management professionals. Project managers having the necessary skills an organization requires are in great demand, especially the ones having technical and leadership competencies along with business knowledge.
In this article, we will focus on the top 7 skills required for project managers that are important to have a successful career in project management.
Top 7 Essential Skills for Project Managers
Now, let’s have a look at the top 7 skills that all the project managers will need to build a successful career in project management.
1. Effective Communication
While working in a group of people, it is pretty common to experience miscommunication among the team members. For accomplishing a project smoothly, it is highly essential for project managers to communicate their thoughts effectively. Since project managers devote 90% of their time in communicating their thoughts and ideas in some or the other way, it is essential for them to have excellent communication skills. Any sort of poor communication is often the key reason behind missed deadlines and work inefficiency. In fact one of the studies reports that nearly 28% of the employees fail to deliver projects on time due to poor communication.
So in order to avoid such incidents, it becomes highly important for project managers to learn to communicate effectively. This involves learning how to approach people, understanding the perspective of teammates and clearly sharing an overview of the project goals one wants to attain. The best communicators always take time to understand the perspective of other people and do the same before sharing their thoughts.
Collaboration is one of the most important skills that a project manager needs to have. With the help of effective collaboration, project managers can get their tasks easily and efficiently, and also before the deadline sometimes. By coordinating and collaborating well with cross functional teams, project managers often get new insights into the project that may not get from the members from their team. Due to involvement of more skilled professionals in a project, it automatically gets creative and accomplished effectively.
For effective collaboration, project managers need to have more and more conversations with teammates and practice active communication. This is because when they listen keenly to their team members and reply accordingly, it creates a positive impact on the team members and helps them to relate more to the team and work collaboratively.
Starting from managing resources to managing a team conflict, leading a project involves negotiation on a day to day basis. If not handled properly, discussions about project budget, resources, and timelines can get adversely affected. Here comes the role of an effective negotiator, a skilled project manager who comes up with solutions and prevents any damage to work relationships between team members. A skilled project manager is the one who is a skillful negotiator and is capable of taking care of the parties involved and working towards a common goal.
Based on the given situation, project managers can opt for a suitable approach for handling it. They can mitigate the issue either by compromising or through collaboration.
4. Critical Thinking
Although critical thinking is an essential skill for all professionals, it is an essential skill for project managers. Skilled project managers are always proactive in their action and refrain from reacting immediately to a situation. They take some time to analyze the situation and take appropriate steps for mitigating different issues posing hindrance in a project. For taking the best of the decisions in a difficult situation, efficient project managers stay objective, closely analyze the facts and evaluate a situation unbiasedly and try delivering the project within budget and on time.
5. Time Management and Scheduling
Time management and scheduling are obviously important aspects of project management. For efficiently delivering projects, it is highly essential for project managers to be able to switch between different tasks and be able to foresee the upcoming bottlenecks in a project. Nowadays, a majority of the projects fail to get completed on time due to poor planning which includes ever changing priorities of the organization, insufficient availability of resources and unclear project objectives. The stepping stone towards effective project management is developing a well defined project plan. At the basic level, project plan includes project scope and business requirements and aligning the resources and activities that finally lead to saving of time and money.
6. Project Roadmapping
A project roadmap is an advanced overview of the deliverables and timeline of a project. Project roadmaps make it easy to handle complex projects associated with different stakeholders and also help the entire team get on the same page before the start of a project. Skilled project managers are efficient at developing a project roadmap. They do this by considering the goals of a project and requirements of the stakeholders and prepare a roadmap for planning the project effectively. Some of the commonly used tools used for developing a project roadmap are Asana, ProductPlan, Prodpad and Craft.io.
7. Technical Expertise
In addition to soft skills, it is highly important for project managers to have detailed technological expertise. Project managers with clear project objectives are able to communicate the same to the team members and have an in-depth understanding of the project bottlenecks. Furthermore, having a sound knowledge of project management software can help project managers to deliver their tasks efficiently as these tools are really helpful in planning, organizing and communicating with team members along with managing budget, time and resources. Some of the highly useful tools for project managers are Microsoft Teams, Google Docs, Sharepoint, Microsoft Project and Jira.
In this competitive market, it is important for prospective project managers to strive hard to acquire the seven essential skills mentioned in this article. It not only helps them to stay relevant in the job market but will also help them create an extraordinary career trajectory for themselves.