The Project Management Skills You Need

ProjectManager.com

In this video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, breaks down the top management and leadership skills you need to have to be a great project manager.

In Review: Top 13 Project Management Skills All Project Managers Need

Whether new to project management or looking to do a skills refresh, Jennifer advised us about the top skills used most frequently by project managers.

There are two types of skills: behavioral and technical. The behavioral skills Jennifer notes are:

  • Change Management – Both the formal change management process, and the art of being able to navigate change effectively with your team
  • Process Management – The ability to manage processes effectively.
  • Problem Solving – Breaking down issues to the essence of the problem and finding a way to solve it.
  • Communication – And communicating with different levels of leadership, whether it’s at the team level, the stakeholders, the change control board, or the executive level.
  • Organizing and Planning – Able to organize things into different components to manage them effectively.
  • Reading Systems – Meaning, understanding when things are operating smoothly, or when systemic change is needed.
  • Team Building – Being able to get teams working together
  • Commitment – Staying committed through the project, during the good times and the bad.
  • Diplomacy –  Being able to navigate politics artfully in order to get things done.

For technical skills, Jennifer broke down three distinctions:

  • Tools – Having a software tool that you can use to manage your projects effectively, and that your team can use too.
  • Techniques – Practical applications on how to do, well, anything on the project and any of the behavioral skills, too.
  • Methodologies – Knowing when a method (Agile, Waterfall, etc) is the right approach for your team and how to implement it across an organization.

For most, these skills are often used in concert with each other, not as stand-alone processes. It is definitely part art, part science.

Pro-Tip: Never stop learning. Watch Jennifer’s guide to keeping up your project management skills.

We hope you found this useful! Thanks for watching.

Transcription

Hello, I’m Jennifer Bridges, director at ProjectManager.com. Welcome to our whiteboard session today on the skills that you need as a project manager, no matter if you are new to project management and trying to understand what skills are required going into the profession, or, if you’ve been in the profession for a long time and are really frustrated, wondering why certain things aren’t working, and trying to learn the new skills that you need. Hopefully, this whiteboard session will help to clarify the skills.

There are so many different terms thrown out in the industry. If you go to Google or look up the word ‘skill’, it means “the ability to do something well”. It’s like expertise. If you think about project management, there truly is the art and the science, using the right brain and the left brain. Some skills are working with people, and some of the things that are more on the art end, and then there’s the craft, or the science. There are a lot of different skills that one has to know. Let’s break it down into behavioral and technical skills. If you look at the behavioral side, these are some of the skills that are required to influence behaviors, like leadership skills, knowing how to influence others, and how to get them to follow you on the team.

“Change Management”, not just the change management process, but the art of being able to manage change effectively within an organization. Again, getting others to buy into initiatives within an organization where it’s creating massive change. Usually, where change occurs, fear occurs, so it’s a matter of navigating those waters.

“Process Management”, really understanding and having the ability to manage processes effectively. Not only is it the project management discipline, but understanding and having a clear way of managing processes for your project.

“Problem Solving”, being able to take a problem and break it down into the segments to understand what the real issue is, and solve that, and take decisive actions to get things done.

Also, there’s the “Communication”, communicating with different levels, whether it’s at the team level, the stakeholders, the change control board, or the executive level. Literally, with project managers, you have to communicate up, down, and all around. It’s written, verbal, and all different forms of communication.

“Organizing and Planning”, being able to look at a project and be enabled to organize things into different components, and plan them correctly and effectively, so that you can manage the project.

“Reading Systems”, being able to look around and see what’s being done, and hear what’s being said, and see how those line up, and also being able to read when things aren’t going well or sounding right, being able to tune into the system.

“Team Building”, when projects are longer or shorter, sometimes intense, or when projects are failing, specifically, when emotions are high and sensitivities are high, being able to get teams working together. Also important, being able to understand each other, bridging the gap between maybe some of the skills, maybe some of the cultures, doing those things that are needed to get the team to work together towards a common goal.

“Commitment”, commitment to task, staying committed throughout the project. You may have seen those times, or may have experienced them yourself, when things aren’t going well, so you want to eject the project or maybe get out of there as quickly as you can. It’s really, staying committed through the project, during the tough times and the good times.

“Diplomacy”, knowing whether you’re talking to an executive or team level, knowing how to be diplomatic in order to get things resolved. Diplomacy doesn’t mean selling out or conflict avoidance, it’s understanding the diplomacy needed to be able to navigate the politics or the levels that you’re dealing with in order to get things done.

Those are some of the behavioral skills, and then, there’s the technical skills. There’s also a knowing about tools, and having a software tool that you can use to manage your projects effectively, and others can get in and access the software, too, like at ProjectManager.com. Then, there are the techniques, whether it’s having a methodology, knowing how to build a Gantt chart, or being able to map things out, and decision-making processes. Also, having a clear methodology that you can use, communicate to the team, and use for the project. A methodology helps not only to get the project done, but to help others in communicating.

By using these skills, again, it goes back to the art and science. It’s a difficult role, as a project manager, but these are the skills that you need to handle some of the issues that arise, whether there are people issues, process issues, or technology issues. These are the things that we found to be helpful skills for a project manager, for those projects that do well.

Looking for project management software that will support all of your skills? ProjectManager.com helps you plan, manage, communicate and report on every aspect of your projects, from start to finish. Give us a try.

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