Do you work in project management?
Then you know that creating lists that your team works through along a Gantt chart is far from over. It’s not just about spotting bugs, learning agile methods or showing off with a new PMP certification.
On the contrary, successful project managers need many different skills. Exactly which one always depends a little on the respective industry. Here we tell you which skills you need to rise to the Olympus of well-paid PMs and how you can even gain a foothold in the profession.
Regardless of whether you currently want to increase your efficiency with a course, polish your résumé or get the first job in project management or, on the contrary, are faced with the task of finding a qualified PM for your company: With these skills, you will reach your goal.
No doubt: the ability to criticize (both when receiving constructive criticism and when giving feedback), communicative interaction with stakeholders, and careful emails are basic requirements for success (and satisfaction!) Project managers. Most projects fail due to poor communication.
This can be avoided with a certain degree of caution because it is actually about communication, not charm. Of course, a certain charisma helps spur on your team or bring your processes closer to your stakeholders, but what is most important is that everyone involved receives all the information that is important to them. In project management, “communication” can be broken down into clearly formulating goals, carefully recording and addressing expectations, and quickly passing quantifiable results.
So: clear, careful and timely communication – you can do that.
Of course, it’s not a problem if your desk looks like work and you don’t clear away dirty dishes right away. But if you forget where you put basic information for the current project, things look very different.
Good project managers can keep things in order. Since projects are so closely tied to the calendar, it is, of course, tempting to dispose of all documents when they are finished. But if you ask experienced colleagues, hardly anyone does it: What worked for one project can perhaps be reused for another. There’s no good reason to reinvent the wheel every time.
In general: In project management, there are many reports, deadlines, tasks, meetings, risk assessments and quality problems every day. Without organizational talent, as a project manager, you quickly lose track of daily task management.
For a good reason, many project managers rely on project management software to control their to-do lists. (The most popular solutions include Microsoft Project Online, Jira from Atlassian, Podio, Wrike and Basecamp .) With these programs, you can keep an eye on all projects simultaneously, create reports, communicate with teams and customers, manage tickets, create Gantt charts, and even bill by the hour.
Negotiating skills are required at the beginning of a new project and in the further course. If you believe the Association for Project Management, “classic negotiations are usually conducted with suppliers, for example when it comes to contractual conditions. Informal negotiations are used to resolve conflicts or to acquire resources internally.” In other words: anyone who works with people and has a certain degree of decision-making authority must be able to negotiate.
Good negotiation is based on four pillars:
- Respect Your Counterpart. Heated discussions or too quickly dismissing other opinions only creates a bad mood. When communicating with your team, do so factually, attentively, and in a friendly manner.
- Don’t Try To “Win”. Negotiation is about everyone finding their interests again afterwards, not about victory or defeat.
- Promote openness. It isn’t easy to negotiate about something if you do not know all the variables. It is easier if you lay down “rules” or perhaps rather goals: “In this meeting we want to find a solution for the next deployment”, for example, or “We’re not talking about Monday’s quality problem here today”.
- Don’t be afraid to involve third parties. Whether it is a problem with a team member or with a customer: bring someone from the HR department, the head of IT or another third party to the table as an intermediary. That can work wonders.
I have written a lot about “servant leadership”, but some things cannot be said often enough.
Which is more important: the company or the team? The team would not exist without a company, but no company would be viable without its team. Accordingly, it would help if you weighed both of them approximately equally in your decisions. Occasionally, the team takes precedence over short-term company decisions, but sometimes it is the other way around. Too many project managers believe they are only committed to sales. What they are not aware of: This turnover is based on the long-term support of everyone involved.
To promote your team and your company equally. When a team member makes a mistake, first see what you can do to help him or she succeed. If the error is inherent in the system, it is up to you to protect yourself in front of your people and to speak for them. Take responsibility for the development of your team, and your life in project management will be infinitely easier.
Even if you don’t work in IT, you can no longer avoid a certain technical understanding in your job if you’re managing technical teams that need skyrockets.
“A really good project manager, a really good project manager needs sufficient technical knowledge to be able to take on some of the project tasks.” Assigning project tasks yourself and then completing them successfully on time creates the respect necessary for leading a project team. “
If you know exactly what you need from your team and how they can achieve it (also technically), you are automatically good at your job. Just as you learned Scrum as a Scrum Master, you have to learn what you are managing as a project manager.
Also Read: 8 Tips For Using Scrum Effectively