To bring any complex project towards success requires a team of dedicated professionals. And in order for all work to occur consistently and without interruption, the project teams need a strong leader. This where a project manager comes.
The most important task for the project manager is to organize the work from a to z so that everyone is ultimately satisfied with the result. Not only the PM’s own professional reputation and salary hinges on his competence, but also the reputation and income of the company and each separate team member.
To excel in the project management area regardless of the field you operate, a PM requires a combination of the following skills:
In order to lead a professional team from start to finish, the project manager must understand what is at stake. This person should also be able to answer the basic questions related to the project field, know the main processes, constantly delve into the technical details of work on a particular project.
Otherwise a project manager will feel insecure when communicating with both the client and the team because he/she will not have enough expertise on the project. Without a sufficient technical background, a project manager will not be able to correctly assess the timing, scope of work, the accuracy of decisions made, their consequences.
The client would not be able to trust the project manager as he fears the risks that are associated with technical issues and are beyond the competence of a project manager. The team will not perceive the project manager as a technical decision maker and will be critical of his/her guidance.
2. Communication skills
One of the most essential attributes of this position is ongoing communication with people at all levels. Customers, upper management, stakeholders, your team – you need to find a specific approach to each of them to create to a win/win solution for everyone. Ensure that each project member is on the same page as they should clearly understand their responsibilities, the project goals and the expected outcome.
Project manager should be able to:
- effectively communicate, see eye to eye with everyone;
- speak and write accurately, be able to clearly formulate your visions and articulate ideas in a consistent way;
- listen to both the team and the customer needs, provides constructive feedback;
- not to be afraid to report negative information in a timely manner, and not to postpone offering a solution until the very last moment;
- use the right project management software to effectively collaborate with teammates and keep everyone informed.
3. Strategic thinking
The project managers are considered good when they can foresee emergencies and know how to deal with any issues before they actually occur. And even if they do not predict some of the situations, they can still get a grip, calm down, come up with a resolution, and then prepare both the team and the customer for such a case by offering their way out.
This is what strategic thinking is for. Strategic thinking is the ability to see the big picture and plan actions in such a way that the set goals and deliverables are easily achieved. At the same time, good project managers always have their finger on the pulse of all project events and stay alert.
4. Teamwork skills
Do you know what often prevents you from becoming an effective project manager? It is that gnawing feeling to be good to everyone — each team member and the clients. The project managers should not try to please everyone, they should be leaders, objective and fair to all the project participants. They should strike a balance between developing positive relationships with the teammates and bringing the project to a successful outcome. The PM’s primary goal is to bring the team together to effectively implement the project.
The team, in this case, includes not only developers, designers, marketers, engineers, etc., but also the customer. Customer involvement in the project development process significantly increases the project’s chances of successful completion.
5. Ability to cope with stressful situations
A good project manager is not afraid of stressful situations, and even if there are fears or doubts, the PM understands that everything can be solved: by talking, preventing, or thinking over an alternative. It is imperative that the project managers remain grounded at all times and do not act on their emotions.
If there is an issue in the project management, our ideal project managers will not detach from the client and the team even under difficult conditions. First, a PM comes up with the right solution, and then — he/she identifies the root cause of this issue and who should be held accountable for this.
Perfect PM: Myth or reality?
Now you should definitely know the answer to this question. The ideal project manager has the following set of traits:
- tech-savvy and well-informed in what the team is doing;
- possesses communication skills that help to effectively collaborate with all participants in the process of project implementation. No matter how reserved the developers are, and how tricky some of customer’s remarks are — the ideal PM can communicate confidently and effectively with all types of personalities;
- has the ability to think strategically, plan efficiently and remains critical of decisions made within the project;
- knows how to organize teamwork, ensures the involvement and awareness of all team members;
- not afraid of problems, able to think realistically in stressful situations and find optimal solutions.
As you can see, the job to be a perfect project management is challenging, but it is surely achievable. And we have no doubt that the ideal project manager exists, and everyone can cultivate themselves into a successful project manager by incorporating these five skills in their life.