Top 3 Project Management Skills Every Manager Needs

Being a good manager takes more than just having technical chops. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, explains the top three essential skills all managers need to truly make an impact. 

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these are the three project management skills all project managers must have

In Review – Top 3 Project Management Skills Every Manager Needs:

There are managers, and there are project managers. Often times, general managers aren’t trained in project management, and conversely some project managers lack the broader business management skills critical for their success. In fact, PMI updated their certification requirements in 2016 to reflect a broader business and leadership skill set required of PMs to effectively communicate with stakeholders, align their projects to core business strategy, and inspire teams with leadership skills.

It’s not only having the technical skills and experience that makes a strong project manager, and it’s not just soft skills, such as leadership, and business management that inform leadership capabilities of business managers. A combination of skills will make you the right person to lead a project to success. No matter your skill level, all project managers need to continuously sharpen your skills in these three areas:

  • Strategic & Business Management
  • Leadership
  • Technical Project Management

Broadening your skill set beyond just your technical expertise will make you a well-rounded leader, and one that can relate to the other business stakeholders in your project.

But Jennifer also noted that there are core skills that can benefit every manager. They are:

1. Scope Management

Controlling the scope and scale of your team’s projects is a vital leadership skill. You can’t assume your teams will be actively prioritizing requests from other business leaders or stakeholders, if you don’t actively set up a process to manage your projects.

2. Time, Budget & Cost Estimation

Estimating is a skill that affects multiple areas of a business. You need to ensure that up and down your operation, you are getting accurate estimates from your team. They need to be trained in this area, but it starts at the top.

3. Schedule Management

A schedule is only effective when it is actively managed. A non-managed schedule is an endless effort with no end date. There are many ways to manage a project schedule, and of course individual team members are generally capable of their own time management. But when it comes to enduring the success of your efforts as any type of leader, it’s important that you can drill down and ensure that fundamental schedules are on track.

Take it further: Read up on what other essential skills for project leaders you need, such as motivating your team by engaging and listening to them. Or getting better at communications. The real takeaway is that you can’t be complacent. The best leaders always work at improving yourself.

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Today we’re talking about the top three project management skills every manager needs, but before we talk about that, let’s talk about project managers and project management.

Today project managers need an expanded skill set beyond technical project management skills. It’s so important that PMI, the Project Management Institute, has incorporated three skill areas into the requirements for project management professionals, specifically, strategic and business management.

It’s important that project managers have an understanding of business and have a greater business acumen to improve their language of business. They also need leadership skills to be able to navigate conflict and lead teams more effectively.

So this…it doesn’t matter if it’s a senior project manager, an experienced project manager, or an incoming project manager. These three skills help project managers deal with their business stakeholders more effectively.

Likewise, we believe business managers need to have a subset of project management skills to help them with their project managers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a senior manager, a general manager, or even an incoming manager. In some cases, the managers may be the project managers.

Here are the three skills that we find helpful. Number one, scope management. Scope management is dealing with the scope of the project – what’s being produced as a result of the project. A manager needs to have awareness of that and things that they may do that could jeopardize or add to the scope of the project.

Also, with time. Time has to do with the time and the schedule of the project. If they do things to reassign people in their group who may be working on a project, maybe they have them on a special project, that may impact the time of the project if they’re pulled away.

Also, the budget. If they do things that add to the budget or take from the budget, that could also impact the project. And, the cost estimates are so important, and the project manager relies on the people working on the project. Sometimes the managers are required to or contribute to the estimates of that project.

Also, the schedule. The schedule is the time it takes or when that project is going to be completed. Again, if they do things that impact the schedule, it just helps for them to have the skills to know how a project’s schedule is put together.

If you’re a manager and need an online project management tool, then sign up for our software now at

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