Project management is a complicated job that requires you to develop many different, but interconnected, skills. When you know which project management skills are the most important, you will be able to set yourself above the rest and become a more successful project manager. We’ve compiled a list of 9 core project management skills that we think are some of the most essential to your projects’ success.
9 Essential Project Management Skills
Leadership is among the top project management skills that project managers need to develop to be successful. In order to successfully deliver a project, project managers need to be able to lead their teams successfully. Not only do you need to be able to manage a team, but also motivate, inspire, and set a vision to lead your team to achieve the project’s goals. Whether you’re a natural-born leader or not, luckily, leadership skills are something that can be developed by all project managers in order to succeed!
Communication is another of the top project management skills that you need in order to succeed. It really goes hand-in-hand with leadership and many other essential project management skills. To lead a project to success, you need to be able to effectively communicate goals and delegate tasks to your team, as well as communicate project progress and updates to stakeholders. Every project is more likely to succeed when you are able to effectively communicate with everyone involved.
To meet project goals, you need to be able to create a project schedule and break down the project into tasks and milestones. Being able to set realistic schedules is an essential project management skill that you need to keep your project on track. When you know how to effectively create a project schedule, you will be able to manage resources more efficiently and deliver projects on time. There are many project management tools available that can help you with scheduling, one of the best being an online Gantt chart, which allows you to schedule tasks against a timeline, set milestones, and create dependencies.
Good negotiation skills are another asset to add to your repertoire of project management skills. As the project manager, you will need to negotiate with stakeholders regarding requests, vendors regarding prices, and team members regarding conflicts. When you have strong negotiation skills, you will be able to resolve issues that arise during the course of a project and successfully lead it to completion so that all parties are happy with the work and the results.
5. Critical Thinking
Another project management skill that is indispensable is critical thinking. You’ll constantly need to be able to think about the project critically, analyze the pros and cons of solutions to problems that arise, and be objective as you evaluate the progress of the project. You have to be able to detach from your emotions or personal opinions as much as possible, and think about the project purely in terms of what are the best decisions to make in order to achieve success.
6. Risk Management
Every project comes with certain risks. What distinguishes an average project manager from a highly-successful project manager is how well they can manage these risks. Before you even begin a project, you need to identify potential risks, assess them, and determine how to control those risks. When you have processes in place to manage risks as they manifest during the project, your project is more likely to succeed.
7. Task Management
This project management skill may seem obvious, but it can’t be left out. Task management is one of the most essential project management skills that every successful project manager needs to have. You need to be able to create task lists, delegate tasks, and help your team manage the tasks to drive a project to its successful completion.
8. Cost Management
Keeping a project within the assigned budget is another project management skill that you need to succeed. When budgets are tight, this skill is even more important. You need to be able to manage what you are spending on the project to keep stakeholders happy and ensure you have enough budget to cover all the resources you need to complete the project. To be a successful project manager, you have to set a realistic budget during your project’s planning stage, and then stick to and control that budget during the execution phase.
9. Quality Management
Quality management means being able to deliver a project that meets the requirements it needs to serve its purpose. Every project has a predetermined function and a minimum level of quality that it needs in order to fulfill that function. Things like managing the budget, tasks, and schedule are all pointless if you cannot deliver a project that meets the quality standards requested by stakeholders. This is why quality management is another project management skill that you cannot overlook.