The digital business ecosystem has been flourishing for a long time now, with more companies switching to remote work, freelance collaborations, and hiring digital nomads. These factors alone have had their impact on how companies assign different managerial roles. What kind of skills are considered essential for the performance and success for a good project manager?
Project managers are a brilliant example of a position that has become coveted for all modern-day companies, and a lucrative career opportunity for those cut out for the role. Luckily, you don’t need any spectacular talents to fit right in afterall, Project management is management. What you need is a skill set with unique capabilities that will help you maximize the success of your projects. Developing those skills in this modern world is a must, especially if you intend to work in this role for your own business or a potential employer. We’ll cover a few of the most vital skills you should build and improve over time to let you thrive in the role of a project manager.
Having a firm grasp of how much time any given task in a project requires might seem simple, but it’s actually a mixture of art and science. It means you know people and specific jobs well enough to understand that, for example, coding a page in WordPress takes a specific amount of time depending on the chosen theme and the person doing the work, among other things. Essentially, time management truly needs to be a strong suit for your job to be relevant and successful.
Knowing how your team members work and how your projects advance will let you assign appropriate amounts of work to your teams without overwhelming anyone or imposing insane deadlines. Knowing your own tempo is another quality project managers can benefit from, as you’ll prevent burnout and unmet expectations, too.
Project managers often arise from completely different fields, from IT, marketing, all the way to general management. However, with the increasing need for fully qualified project managers, there are more learning and certification opportunities for future and current project managers. This is not meant to just add value to your resume, but it should prepare you for the competitive world of PM and help you become a viable, fully equipped candidate for the job.
Certifications such as the PMP, which stands for Project Management Professional, are designed to provide professional qualifications and education to those who aim to work in this field. That alone grants you credibility and authority and prepares you for the ever-changing environment of project management, familiarizes you with arising trends, and prepares you for the role. As a PM, you always need to be ready to adapt and update your current knowledge with the latest in your field.
Once a project is over, a good PM will not let it go to waste, so to speak. You might be perfectly satisfied with the outcome, or you’d make some changes – but the post-delivery stage of any project should be used as a learning opportunity for you to find gaps in your approach and learn from any project management failures that may have occurred.
This critical stance will help you become a better project manager over time, but it will also allow you to give better guidelines to your teams, help clients get what they want, and establish smarter goals. This analytical mindset is vital for any PM who genuinely wants to succeed.
Although most of the listed skills help you with the leadership role you’re about to assume, you should still do your best to hone that specific ability on its own. What that means in practical terms is that you need to encourage employee independence, provide direction, but not orders, and establish a clear hierarchy in your team.
Every project with a different client will require a different level of involvement on your part. Moreover, consider introducing mentorship in your teams so that everyone can advance and learn from one another. This means you shouldn’t put yourself in a position of superiority, but rather in one of guidance and support. Setting clear expectations and helping people manage them with practical advice is another crucial segment of leading your team through every project that comes along.
More often than you’d expect, the job of project management boils down to managing people, not work. Navigating the often confusing and sensitive interpersonal relationships in a workplace takes a unique approach in communication that each project manager should embrace and master. For example, your listening skills need to be spotless: you should be able to read into more than words, but body language, tone of voice, and similar subtle cues.
Conflict resolution is another communication ability a PM needs in the modern-day work environment. Creative conversations are a minefield for issues, but the better you are at listening and problem-solving, the easier it will become for you to keep your teams in good working relationships.
Obviously, there are other valuable skills applicable in project management, many of which depend on the industry you choose and the specific employer you wish to work with. However, for your PM career to take off in any direction whatsoever, you’ll need to work on and evolve the listed skills no matter the business you choose to grow through your skills. Take your time to develop these capabilities and you’ll have a far better chance at elevating your PM career to the next level.