Essential Skills in Project Management
Successful Project Management requires a series of soft skills that are basically not taught at any management school and can only be acquired at the school of life over time. Most of the skills that define a good project manager are learned throughout one's career while getting your knees and arms bruised.
Great project managers are essentially great delegators. However, some people, due to their high levels of competency and perfectionism, finds its excruciatingly painful to completely delegate work to other team members. While anyone can hand something off at any time, delegation requires a certain level of fineness and intent at all levels.
Successful delegators are also masters of describing the desired outcome. They successfully communicate expectations, provide a possible path and give team members the accountability and accolades for results.
A good delegator also keeps a meticulous track of the development of the task until its completion while giving the team members the required space to act independently. Keeping track of the delegated task can be easily done through Gantt Charts and modern project management software, which provides minute details of its development.
A project is a choreographed dance of negotiations from beginning to end. Expert project managers are in a constant process of negotiation; mediating dates, schedules, budgets, resources, project scopes and communication requirements.
While there are numerous approaches to successful negotiations made through various methods, it also helps to keep the other stakeholders of a project constantly updated of its development and the daily problems and issues related to the project to improve transparency and understanding.
Using an array of communication methods ranging from office-based emails, memos, colourful kanban boards to project management platforms to create a continuous flow of information can make future negotiations simple and conflict-free.
- Selecting the right team
Project managers greatly depend on the Responsibility Assignment Matrix also known as the RACI matrix of each team member to select the right team member or the group to carry out the required task. Yet, finding the required information to 'get the right people into the bus' is not as easy as it might sound. Employer evaluation is the property of human resource department and the situation can be further tricky when more than one team is involved.
However, some project management software also double as a human resource management tool and keep a record of each team member's past performance for management's reference. The management and team leaders can easily access the records of past performance and contribution of each user to decide the most important and well performing members of a team.
- Managing up
Managing your boos by maintaining a constant line of communication with him or her too is an important skill of a project manager. Using a combination of email, memos and project management tools to streamline the flow of communication through every layer and rank is important to keep the hierarchies posted and updated.