New project: sounds scary, right? Who are the team members? What resources do we need? When is the due date? Do we have a PM software? ...and so many other questions to ask and the project hasn’t even started.
If you are a project manager, or want to be one, just make sure you dominate these 10 skills, and the rest will come along!
Skills of a Project Manager
- Problem solving
- Bird’s eye view
1. BEING A PROJECT MANAGER IS BEING A LEADER
Project Management is all about teamwork: people coming together to offer their expertise so the final goal can be achieved. Your role as a project manager? Inspire and motivate every team member so they own the project and bring all they have to achieve the best possible outcome.
2. YOU NEED TO BE GOOD AT MANAGEMENT (DUH!)
It seems obvious, but many project managers lose themselves into execution and forget their main responsibility: management. Manage time, people, money, among others. Project management is all about allocating the resources in the best possible way so the final outcome is achieved in a timely manner and within the budget. This outcome can only be achieved if we have a clear strategy, a good implementation plan, continuous monitoring and control.
3. WORK ON YOUR COMMUNICATION
Being able to communicate with people at all levels is crucial if you want your project to succeed. As you know, projects involve a lot of tasks, people and resources. Maintaining a good communication (both speaking and listening) is essential to keep the team synchronized and informed on what is expected from them at each stage of the project’s process.
4. YOU HAVE TO COLLABORATE WITH YOUR TEAMMATES
Collaboration, which comes at hand with communication, means you are available to help any team member involved in the project. Even if each task has a specific responsible, as the project manager, you need to make people feel like you have their back, and that you will be able to collaborate at any moment in sake of the project’s development.
5. START MAKING GOOD (AND FAST) DECISIONS
Planning is great, its fundamental in any Project Management process, but the truth is even if we spent days and weeks planning, at the moment of the execution a lot of things can happen that we didn’t expect. A good project manager is intelligent enough to make difficult decisions at a very fast pace, avoiding deviating a lot from the initial plan, and taking care of the resources used.
6. EMBRACE PROBLEMS AND LOOK FOR PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS
A good project manager is great at handling problems. He’s aware they’ll come up at any stage of the project’s process and is OK with taking charge of difficult situations. But more important than that, he’s very practical when looking for solutions. He knows the project has a timeline and some resources available so he efficiently decides how to face difficult situations in an effective way.
7. HAVE A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE PROJECT
As a project manager you’re in charge of the project’s success. And being in charge means taking the reins of the project and being aware of what’s happening with each team member on each task at every moment. The project manager is the one who monitors and controls the project so that the timeline and budget are respected; this can only be accomplished if you’re aware of what’s going on in the overall process. A Project Management Software will help you centralize the work:
8. BE ORGANIZED (IN YOUR MIND AND IN THE PROJECT)
We said it before: people, resources, tasks, budget, there’s a million things on a project manager’s head. If he’s not organized the chances of not accomplishing the final goal are huge. A project manager needs to be organized in his head so he’s aware of everything that’s going on, but also in his work, so that every team member can easily find any information, document, task, etc. that they need to do their job.
9. YOU NEED TO BECOME AN EXPERT ON THE PROJECT’S SUBJECT
Being a project manager is owning the project. People in the team are going to look for you when they have questions or problems and they expect a quick answer so that the project’s timeline is not affected. The more you know about the project’s subject, the faster you can react to any issue that comes up. If you start a project and you’re not an expert on the subject, start by studying and learning as much as you can from it.
10. STAY CALM, AND LEARN HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE URGENT FROM IMPORTANT
Clock’s ticking and every minute of work is important for the project! Wait, remember things don’t always go as planned and problems come up. A good project manager knows how to keep calm in stressful situations and differentiate urgent from important. Is all about prioritizing and organizing the ideas so that the project and the team members suffer as little as possible when a problem shows up.
So there you have it! 10 characteristics of a successful, effective project manager. Work to master them and you’ll make sure every project you lead turns into an awesome outcome.