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Project management skills are essential in successfully taking on a project from start to finish. If you are a beginner at project management, you must know the key project management skills that make every project successful. After all, without knowing what they are, you can sabotage the team’s productivity—regardless of your role.

The definition of project management skills

Project management skills refer to the necessary abilities that make it possible to accomplish the project. This set of skills includes the ability to organize, multitask, analyze, and make decisions in a wise and efficient manner. The person who must first embody these key project management skills is the project manager.

The project managers hold responsibility for project management planning and implementation. Their primary role is to initiate, design, plan, execute, oversee, and complete the said projects. In order to meet success, they motivate team members to do their respective roles, manage the expectation of stakeholders, and update everyone about the project status.

While project managers are accountable for the project’s overall management, it is just as essential for the team members to know the necessary skills. When all members understand the critical project management skills, the project is more likely to be successful.

The key project management skills

Here are the key project management skills deemed necessary to be effective in project management, especially when you are the project manager.

1. Communication

Strong communication skills are a must for every project manager. They often communicate with both members and stakeholders to relay important information like the vision, goals, plan, and issues. They will typically find themselves presenting pre scheduled reports about the project status.

As someone who manages several departments, communication is key to being in sync with one another. Liaising across different departments will be easier when there’s effective communication. After all, one small miscommunication can ruin the project flow. 

2. Leadership

Project managers act as the head of the project; thus, they are responsible for overseeing and coordinating members and their tasks. They are also inclined to provide motivational support to their members. Effective managers have the right leadership style. They don’t just act as the biggest motivator, but they also bind everyone together in both good and bad times. 

3. Organization

Stellar organization skills are crucial when dealing with project management. This is to ensure that all processes are working towards goal attainment. Organization skills pertain to the ability to perform multitasking, task prioritization, task assessment, and documentation without losing composure. 

It is an asset that allows everyone to accomplish everything with efficiency. Any project manager who happens to have poor organizational skills will have a hard time handling multiple projects simultaneously. That’s why if you need help in brushing up on your organizational skills, here’s a well-recommended online course to take with you. 

4. Prioritization

This skill pertains to the ability to do just the right thing at the exact right time. This requires you to have good time management skills that’ll go hand in hand with managing and prioritizing tasks. As the manager, you need to be the director of when and how things should be tackled.

In addition, you will need consideration over other people’s time. You don’t have full control over their time, so you are inclined to assess how urgent things are to not cause any delay or negative impact on others’ productivity.

5. Research skills

Project managers need exceptional investigation skills to be effective. This is a major requirement since you present actual plans and concepts to the team. It requires you to do thorough research before driving the whole team to specific strategies. It’s like your methodology that proves how effective things are and how likely your team will meet success through it. After all, you need a justification to convince everyone specific strategies are going to work. 

6. Negotiation skills

For every project, there are several parties involved. These include clients, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders. As the project manager, you will be doing lots of coordination regarding proposals, presentations, and procurement that require challenging negotiation skills. You need a wise mind to work your way around these various parties to gain mutual benefits.

project-manager-planning-with-team

7. Risk management

Risks are inevitable for every project. This is why risk management is a key project management skill that every project manager should have. This minimizes the possibility of getting off-track with tasks, failing you to achieve your goals. A part of risk management includes the creation and implementation of a risk mitigation strategy. This shall be used to ensure everything is under control and all potential risks are being managed. 

8. Critical thinking skills

Lots of times, project managers need to make decisions that have a direct impact on everyone’s tasks. This requires you to have the objective mind to form a judgment based on thorough analysis and evaluation of issues at hand. You can’t just make decisions based on fluff and unjustified reasoning. You need to be critical to arrive at the right decision that will best work for the team. 

9. Coaching skills

One of the project manager’s roles is to help involved parties, especially the members, understand any complexity. There will be times that you’ll need to teach others to break down any confusing concepts. This is to clear out anything that will lead to the misalignment of tasks. Remember that you are not there just to relay information, but you are also responsible for ensuring everyone understands the said piece of information shared. 

Aside from educating, this also means knowing how to give positive feedback, motivational support, lending ears, and room for improvement. 

10. Proficiency in project management tools

The secret to being efficient with monitoring all ongoing tasks and projects is project management tools. A project manager can only do so much. Luckily, the gift of technology paved the way for the birth of convenient PM tools. These tools make it easy to monitor projects, review progress, see potential risks, notify everyone involved, and more. The use of such tools proves to be beneficial in project management, as confirmed by the Project Success Survey in 2018. 

Project managers are required to specialize in various PM tools that will be used for the team’s administrative workload. Some popular picks include Teamwork, smartsheet, ravetree, Wrike, and more.  

11. Conflict management

It is almost impossible to complete a project without experiencing any conflict along the way. That is because conflicts are inevitable. However, as the project manager, you are responsible for keeping everything together as these problems arise. Conflict management skills allow you to provide resolutions to avoid compromised workflows, project discrepancies, and other setbacks. 

12. Cost control

Cost management is a necessary skill that will make your job as a project manager more effective. Budget control is a significant part of your project management plan and implementation. Thus, you need a proper understanding of making things possible with the given budget. You need to know how to get past financial constraints without affecting the performance of the project.

These twelve skills make up the key project management skills you need to know in completing every project. Given your proven project management knowledge, you are more likely to succeed when you use these skills as you handle upcoming projects.

Need a more comprehensive reference on how you can ace project management? Here are two of Skill Success’s top project management courses:

Online project management courses through Skill Success offer something for everyone to help you master your profession.

Ready to learn the key project management skills? Click here to get started.

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