The Skill Set of a Project Manager (Part 1)

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In the previous article, we focused on emphasizing the importance of the role of Project Managers, and what their main functions are, but what makes a good project manager? Directing/leading a project is something more than just running a set of activities. Instead, it requires having different specific skills such as technician or project specialist that may be needed.

When it is time to manage/direct a project, the manager should:

  • Plan the work/activities that must be done in order to reach the objectives of the project and accomplish the expectations of the client.
  • Organize all of the elements (resources) that interact throughout the life of a project. This activity will require the project manager to provide a certain level of authority within the organization.
  • Manage the people, whether they are clients, users, project team members, etc… and definitely stakeholders. Projects are done by people and the objectives are not always shared or understood in a correct way.
  • Direct and Lead. Leading is something more than just commanding or giving orders. A good leader forms a part of the team that he/she is leading, and he/she is not an “external agent” who merely establishes goals to achieve and a task to execute. The leader is involved with the team itself.
  • Control/Monitor the project that is developing under the established plan and, if not, define the necessary corrective measures.

To develop these activities don’t stop having a good base of technical knowledge, because, as we have seen, a good mason makes a good foreman. To manage a project we need a set of skills that can be classified into three groups:

  • Technical skills. Every project manager must have solid technical knowledge: knowledge of procedures, methods, processes, tools and techniques that will allow us to tackle any project with greater assurance.
  • Human Capacity. Skills that enable people to work with (communication, negotiation, cooperative work, …). Our ability to coordinate and control projects significantly improved by a series of interpersonal skills and leadership with the project team.
  • Conceptual and Design Capabilities. Ability to understand the environment, analyze and adapt. A project by definition is always changing, so we must be able to adapt to the changes that arise during the project.

Carlos González Jardón (@cgjardon) is Consultant and Trainer in Project Management with more than 18 years of experience in the IT sector. He holds a computer engineering degree from the Universidad de Vigo, an Executive Master’s from ICAI/ICADE and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. He is currently consultant in Project Management at Tecnocom.

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