5 Project Management Skills You Need To Have

The Proof Of Fire

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Project Management Skills|5 Project Management Skills You Need To HaveSometimes the only way to test something is through what’s known as a “trial by fire”. Now, that may not mean there’s actually a fire; it’s a turn of phrase that indicates extreme testing. A car designed to be safe if an accident causes a roll needs to be rolled. Crash test dummies exist owing to the need for a “trial by fire”, as it were, pertaining to associated safety features.

As a Project Manager or PM, your trial by fire is probably going to be whatever projects you’re working to complete. Each new project will be its own trial by fire, and that which is being put on metaphorical trial are your skills as a PM. Some projects are essentially impossible, while some PMs can’t even handle “softball” assignments.

Regardless of inherent management acumen, like exercise, PM skills can be improved. Part of that improvement involves following known best practices. Here are five skills that any PM should already be proficient in; and if you’re not, at minimum find ways of enhancing your abilities as regards the following.

1. Prioritization

Task priority is quite important. Product testing isn’t as high a priority as prototype development. If you don’t have something to test, how can you test it? So you need to know which steps are most important for which situation.
Determining such steps may well involve specifying a general outline for your project from beginning to end, and organizing efforts based on associated priority.

2. Effective Delegation Of Tasks

Tasks need to be delegated based not only on priority but based on the skill of employees to whom tasks are delegated. That means you need to know your team intimately enough to determine who will do a good job, and who can’t be trusted with certain responsibilities. Everyone has skills, and you want to delegate accordingly.

3. Self-Examination: External Testing Options Help

One of the most important things is to know your own efficacy as a PM. Some of your tasks will involve hands-on participation in a given project, while others will require you to be a more remote player in the production overall. Especially if you’re in a more remote role, a PMP practice exam can be very helpful in advance, as well as between varying projects.

4. Flexibility: Unexpected Circumstances Develop Regularly

You’ve got to be willing to “roll with the changes”, as that old REO Speedwagon song goes. Sometimes someone quits mid-project, sometimes management changes operational focus throughout a given company, sometimes budgets dry up, sometimes bad PR impacts project viability. Flexibility is absolutely paramount to managing such uncontrollable variables.

5. Perseverance: Some Projects Are Much Harder Than Others

You’ve got to be able to see things through. Your first project, if you’ve got a managerial staff of any quality, is going to be something you can handle. As you successfully handle varying products, you’ll be trusted with more complex work.

Certain projects may take years to complete, and that requires perseverance. A “bigger picture” perspective helps both initiate and foster necessary perseverance.

Optimizing Your Effectiveness As A Project Manager

Perseverance, flexibility, honest self-examination that incorporates external means of determination, task delegation, and prioritization all represent fundamental aspects of project management. If you’re in the position of PM for your company, you need to be sure your abilities incorporate such skills.

Certainly, these aspects of effective project management are stated in broad terms. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not fundamentally essential. Whatever your project is, as a manager you’re operating as a leader of sorts, and that means being able to juggle complex projects with skill over the long run.

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