8 Invaluable Project Management Skills for 2022

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The term “project” is about as vague as it gets. It could refer to the construction of a 40-story skyscraper. It could be to organize the entry to the science fair for a child of 12 years. Or it could refer to coordinating your charity’s fundraising.

Regardless of the type of task in question, there are basic principles of project management that will help you execute any type of project.

A savvy project manager has countless skills, but we’ve identified the following eight skills as absolutely essential for someone hoping to manage a successful project.

Here are the main skills that every project manager should possess:

  1. Leadership
  2. Budget/cost management
  3. Scheduling/planning
  4. Quality control
  5. Communication
  6. Risk management
  7. Customer management/negotiation
  8. Mentoring/training

How to showcase your project management skills

The most important thing about being a good project manager is being willing to take the time to master all the skills.

If you want to showcase your project management skills, enhance them by learning all the skills listed above, as they complement and enhance each other.

For example, a good leader will know how to plan a project so as not to overload the workers, and someone who understands quality control will be better able to communicate to the team what needs to be done.

8 best project management skills to use

We chose them as the best skills in project management because they represent basic abilities applicable to any type of project, large or small. Having these eight skills will maximize a project manager’s likelihood of successfully achieving project goals.

1. Steering

First and foremost in the skill set of a project manager is to be a leader. Good project management plans involve all aspects of the project lifecycle, and accountability rests with the owner of that project.

Therefore, a project manager must exude an understanding of what needs to be done, have subject matter expertise and knowledge, possess the ability to inspire others to action, and be able to organize others in a way that maximizes their efficiency and effectiveness.

Tips for leading:

  • Lead by example. Set goals and responsibilities for yourself and other employees, and make sure you achieve them.
  • Communicate. Make sure your entire team has the tools they need to communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and you.
  • Focus on goals. A good project manager assigns goals to each of his charges, allowing them to achieve these goals in any way possible. This leads to more efficient results than trying to micromanage workers.

2. Budget/cost management

Revenue is very important no matter what type of operation you run, whether it’s a 40-story skyscraper or a fundraiser.

From the outset, a project manager must accurately estimate project costs and then be able to effectively manage those costs throughout the project to avoid backbreaking overruns.

Tips for budgeting and cost management:

  • Prepare a good estimate. Don’t just guess; get the whole team together and write down projected costs down to the last penny.
  • Record costs. You can’t just hope for the best after you’ve established the estimate. Use project management software to track project costs along the way.
  • Make adjustments. If costs start to spiral out of control, you need to make a few adjustments to get things back on track, such as calling in overtime or removing an unnecessary item from the project.

3. Programming/planning

In some ways, this is the most difficult management skill. It’s hard to stay on track with even the most carefully thought out project management plans, so you need to approach this task with foresight and attention to detail.

Leverage your past experience with similar projects: where did things go wrong? What unexpected delays might occur?

Planning and planning tips:

  • Talk to all key stakeholders. When planning a project, it’s tempting to rely on your own judgment, but ask everyone involved what to expect during the project. They probably know some obstacles that you haven’t even thought of.
  • Create milestones. Milestones give your workers concrete goals to aim for and they can tell you how far the project is progressing.
  • Use a work breakdown structure (WBS). A WBS breaks the project down into smaller components, making it easier to distribute responsibilities.

4. Quality control

You can stay on budget and on schedule, but if the finished product isn’t satisfactory, you’ll always have an unhappy customer.

A good project manager should constantly monitor the project to ensure that the quality is high enough to achieve the goal you want.

Quality Control Tips:

  • Do random checks. If a project is too big for you to monitor every aspect of it, do random checks. Also ask other supervisors to perform their own audits and report to you.
  • Note the standards. Your project must have certain quality standards that every worker must meet. Make sure these are written down so you can refer to them.

5. Communications

A project fails when the team doesn’t communicate effectively, and if that happens, it’s all up to the project manager.

A good project manager should have communication channels in place before a project begins.

Tips for communicating:

  • Choose a communication channel. Determine what type of communication method works best for everyone involved, such as a mobile app.
  • Organize meetings. Too many meetings that last too long can waste everyone’s time, but a regular, focused meeting to hear everyone’s feedback can be productive.

6. Risk management

In any project, there is always a risk that things will go wrong. Maybe your workers hit a gas line while building a structure, or maybe a fundraising event goes against a rule no one knew existed.

In any case, a project manager must be prepared for problems via project risk management.

Tips for risk management:

  • Identify the risks. Write down a list of potential risks that could interfere with your project. Ask other members of your team to list a few as well.
  • Develop mitigation plans. For each risk you identify, work with the team to find a solution. Put them all in one document that you can refer to later.

7. Client management/negotiation

This is where the soft skills of project management come in handy. The project manager is the first point of contact for the client, so you need people skills. Customers want to be kept informed and they expect you to take the lead.

You may also need to negotiate with the client on things like adding new items to the project or even changing the price of the project itself.

Tips for managing clients and negotiating:

  • Communicate. Customers don’t like to be left in the dark, so err on the side of communication.
  • Set clear standards in advance. There’s nothing worse than when you deliver the project and the client expected something else, so agree on specific deliverables before the project even begins.

8. Mentoring/Training

To get the most out of your team, they need training. As a project manager, it is your responsibility to provide mentorship and training to your subordinates to maximize their effectiveness.

It also improves retention if workers feel like they are growing in your organization.

Tips for Mentoring and Training:

  • Set up a mentorship program. Organize your workforce so that unskilled workers work directly under more skilled workers and thus absorb knowledge.
  • Set up a training program. Contact a local university or community college to inquire about setting up a training program for your workers.

A good project manager is willing to learn

Chances are you’ve read the above and realized that there are a few areas where you fail to manage a project. But it is okay. These are skills that anyone can acquire if they are willing to learn.

Make it a goal to develop your weaker skills if you think this is an area you want to build your career in.

One way to do this is to experiment with the best project management software and create schedules and budgets. Try different mobile communication tools to see which works best for you. PM software can help managers stay organized and use the skills they have with maximum efficiency.

These project management tools typically offer features such as scheduling, document management, and accounting functions. It doesn’t matter how good you are as a project manager – if you rely on pen and paper, things are bound to go wrong.

Our three highest rated project management software solutions are:

However, there are plenty of other software solutions that might work better for your organization, so try out various options before making a decision.

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