Project management courses are in high demand these days, as more and more job seekers realize the value of this type of add-on to their CVs. But what exactly does a project manager do, and what skills are required to excel in a career like this? Let’s break it down.
What does a project manager do?
In a nutshell, a project manager is put in place to oversee and drive a given project to ensure that its objectives are successfully achieved within a particular timeframe and subject to a given budget. They are required to put practical knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to use to plan, develop, monitor, control, and smoothly execute a project.
Some are employed full-time within a given organization, while others are freelance, and join a different team on a case-by-case basis.
Now, let’s take a look at the top skills for project management that will help you to get ahead in this exciting field.
What are the skills required for a project manager?
When you study project management online or at a brick-and-mortar institution, you will realize that there are certain important soft skills and hard skills that project managers need in the course of their careers. These include the following:
1. Clear communication
Project managers stand in a very important space between the client and/or internal C-suite, and the team members who are required to make the magic happen at grassroots. As such, they have to be able to communicate clearly with people above and below them in order to build rapport and effectively share information on visions, goals, ideas, and issues.
2. Effortless leadership
While leadership is an innate quality that some people are born with, it’s also something you can learn and develop. It all boils down to being able to oversee and coordinate a team in a way that encourages them to bring their A-game. This requires quite a bit of finesse and the ability to correct your trajectory if a given team member requires a different approach.
3. Exceptional organizational capabilities
A disorganized project is seldom a successful one. This is why project managers have to be very good at organization, and be able to multitask in order to prioritize tasks, and break down complex aspects of a project into easily-manageable to-do lists with supporting documentation that eases access for everyone involved.
4. Seamless negotiation
Suppliers, clients, and other project stakeholders will all at some point come to the table with negotiation, whether it’s about price, timing, or both. Similarly, team members may have certain demands as well. Project managers have to tread the fine line between making the budget work, and being fair towards everyone involved.
5. Adept team management
Leadership differs from team management in the sense that it comes down to the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of everyday tasks. A good project manager should be able to tell when a team member requires more support or tools to get their job done, and should, for instance, be ready to team up certain individuals who have skills that complement one another.
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6. Precise time management
Deadlines are a project manager’s bread and butter. The more complex a given project is, the closer attention the PM will have to pay to ensure that the various tasks are completed in the right order and at the correct pace.
7. Skillful problem-solving
Problems will always crop up. The project manager needs to look at the issue, weigh the pros and cons and identify the best possible solution. It’s also important to realize that you won’t always be able to please everyone in instances like these.
8. Accurate budget management
Controlling the budget throughout the course of a given project is one of the most important aspects of a project manager’s role. This is where experience comes in. The longer you work in the field, the easier it will be to determine which costs are overrun, and where cuts can be made without compromising the outcome of the project.
9. Tremendous motivational abilities
Project managers also have to be cheerleaders. There will be moments when things are bound to get tough, and this is when someone who knows how to motivate their team will get the job done far more efficiently.
10. Terrific tech-adaptability
Technology is developing at a rapid pace, and a project manager needs to keep up to date with industry tools and best practices. As such, tech skills and adaptability are key.
Project management is a dynamic field that offers many inspiring career opportunities for innovative individuals from all walks of life. Their skill sets are varied and include abilities and aptitudes such as communication, leadership, organization, negotiation, team- and time-management, problem-solving, budget management, motivation, and tech adaptability.
Consider taking a project management short course online to upskill and lean into this ever-evolving field that feeds into a variety of industries!