The Skill Set of a Project Manager (Part 2)

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In the first part of this article, we talked about the three skill areas a good project manager has to develop. Ultimately, managing a project is an art based in the application of a series of scientific knowledge. The art consists in applying our knowledge, experience and skills in an adequate manner at the right moment, and even though there is no guarantee to the success of the project, it allows us to reduce the risk of failure.

Thus we must maximize/develop some key skills: 

  • Communication. Clear and effective communication is fundamental for all project managers. Not only is it important to communicate what (the level of detail used and the perspective), but also how (which mediums we are going to use) and when (choose the time when such communication will be made). Additionally, make sure the person on the receiving end has received and understood what you wanted to communicate, whereby the feedback becomes a base element as a means to avoid misunderstanding and incomprehension.
  • Negotiation. With any project there may be mixed and even conflicting expectations, which becomes relevant in negotiation skills as a way of aligning the expectations of the participants with the objectives of the project.
  • Solutions to problems. A project manager must be proactive, anticipating possible problems that may affect the success of the project (risks) and develop plans to minimize or avoid their impact. However, ultimately, if the problem has not been avoided, it must have the capacity to manage such situations efficiently. A project manager should be decisive, able to take responsibility and engage others in the project.
  • Delegation. Although overall responsibility for the day to day project rests on the shoulders of the project manager, that does not mean you have to do all the work. The ability to organize the work of the project and then assign various aspects of it to the parties concerned is crucial. Effective delegation helps ensure that each task is carried out by the right person at the right time.
  • Influence on the organization. Decision-making power within the scope of the project, which means you have to have some level of influence and authority within the organization.
  • Ability to Analyze. Throughout a project we will be faced with large amounts of data and complex questions. Therefore, we need strong analytical skills in order to make sense of the information and find solutions.

All of this makes the job of project manager longer and binds us, binds the companies, to take them seriously. It becomes necessary to flee the concept of “Accidental Project Manager” and both professionals and the organizations need to put the focus on this activity. We live in a workplace that is increasingly projecting the role of the project manager as particularly important.  

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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