Although project managers aren’t or may not be involved in the hands-on tasks, they are responsible for overseeing everything, from ensuring everyone is on the right track to making sure the business is making progress. The manager is responsible whenever there are delays, issues, and problems with a project, which is why he/she is the person to go to if you need something done about it, as well as know what progress is being made. That said, project managers need to be not only skilful but also able to plan, secure, as well as execute a project expertly.
These individuals play a huge role whenever there’s a new construction project when launching new products, and development of new products as well. Project managers come in handy in virtually every known industry. A shampoo or hair care company will need a project manager to launch their new product, while an architecture company will need the same person to handle/oversee the development of a new building project.
Skills Needed To Be a Project Manager
The work of a project manager is to streamline processes, manage scores of people/employees, as well as ensure production is on time. This demands extensive skillsets from organisational to communication skills to ensure everything goes as planned and nothing/no one is left out. Outlined below are some of the top skills required for one to be a successful project manager.
- Communication: About 80% of a project manager’s time is spent talking to staff, porting problems or progress to clients, and negotiating with vendors (if any). This, therefore, means one needs to have both written and verbal communication skills to be able to deliver in this field. It is normal to see a project manager giving a presentation to scores of people using presentation software as well. One needs to not only have these communication skills but also be comfortable speaking in front of many people.
- Leadership: Being a leader means you have to be visionary and also be able to encourage, motivate, as well as define a roadmap for all to follow. This is without mentioning the need to coordinate and oversee tasks in the organisation. A good project leader should have a CMI level 7 MBA top up and be able to analyse data/information fast enough and make critical decisions that no one else would. He/she has the final say on what needs to be done and is responsible too.
- Management: One needs to be good around people to be able to manage them too. This includes holding employees accountable for their actions, delegating work, setting goals, encouraging collaboration, and evaluating performance first hand.
- Negotiation: A project manager has to negotiate with clients/customers on work-related issues at some point. Strong negotiation skills are needed to be able to get along with clients while ensuring everyone is satisfied with the final agreement. Negotiation skills, however, improve over time through experience.
- Organisation: One needs to be highly organised to be able to juggle between the different roles he/she has to play. Forgetful and sloppy project managers rarely last long in a job. It would, therefore, be important that a project manager has an organisational system he/she can use to keep track of everything. This can be a paper planner or an electronic note-taker.
- Problem Solving: Almost anyone in an organisation will come to you, the project manager, for solutions should they hit a wall. For this reason, a project manager should be able to anticipate potential problems and have a backup plan for the same. This may require brainstorming with other project managers or specialists to get answers for the same. The ability to deal with unexpected problems agilely is what defines a manager from the rest.
- Budgeting: Almost every project runs on a fixed budget. It is the sole responsibility of the project manager to create a budget for the funds allocated. While this requires experience, following closely to the budgetary allocations, and making the necessary adjustments is what makes a project successful.