Project managers play a critical role in the success of any project. Statistics show that on average only about 34 percent of the projects succeed in achieving project deliverables. Lack of proper project management skills is the main reason that projects fail to deliver the results.
Here we have compiled a list of 7 project management skills that are important for any manager to successfully complete the projects and satisfy both the stakeholders and the company management.
7 project management skill tips
- Learn the art of active listening
- Know how to use technological tools
- Improve your ability to manage risks
- Request feedback early and often
- Know how to prioritize tasks
- Keep things organized
- Know how to capture and share lessons
1. Learn the art of active listening
Active listening is an important skill for a project manager. It is important for a project manager to listen to the needs and concerns of the stakeholders, the management, and the team. Without active listening, it’s difficult to know about the exact requirements and problems related to the project.
Successful project managers know about the importance of active listening. When a person is speaking, they tune out of the world and focus on the person that is addressing to them. This allows them to get to the gist of the message and avoid confusions relating to the project.
Active listening requires combining the verbal message of the speaker with the body language. If a person is speaking to you, it’s important that you block all the background noise and other environmental distractions and focus on the speaker’s message. Avoid formulating a response when a person is speaking and ask questions to clarify the statements. The efforts undertaken to improve your active listening skills will be more than worth it in the end as it can lead to greater project success and lessen the chances of projects ending in a failure.
2. Know how to use technological tools
Today, you can find a number of project management apps like e.g.: Redbooth, that can help in managing the team, resources, and other aspects of the projects. You can set reminders, break tasks into small activities, and view the progress of the team.
Using cloud-based project management apps is recommended as it can greatly simplify the task of managing the projects. Cloud is just a fancy word for the internet. The cloud project management apps provide greater flexibility in managing tasks, assigning resources, and communicating with the clients, vendors, and the internal team. You can access the cloud software anytime, anywhere thereby offering greater convenience and control over desktop-based software.
3. Improve your ability to manage risks
Risks refer to unknown factors that can adversely affect the project. One of the Murphy’s Law is that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. A project manager should have the ability to foresee unforeseen events – or things that can go wrong – and take proactive steps to avoid or reduce the impact of the risks.
Consider carrying out a detailed risk analysis and calculate the probabilities of the impact using the ‘what if’ scenario. Once all the risks related to the project are identified, it’s important to come up with an effective risk management strategy.
4. Request feedback early and often
The project manager should get feedback from the clients during the execution phase of a project. The criticism and advice received from the client will prove invaluable in completing the project successfully. Try implementing a project management application that allows the client to view the project status and give suggestions.
Communicating using e-mail might not be enough. Today customers want real-time status updates and detailed information on different tasks. Depending on the need of the client, you need to establish an active communication to engage with your customer. Use integrations like Dropbox shared folder to share files and updates. Watch out for other tools that can help with collaboration.
5. Know how to prioritize tasks
Prioritizing tasks is one of the most effective skills for a project manager. Consider reading Stephen R Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The management guru had categorized activities into four quadrants:
- Quadrant 1 – Urgent and Important
- Quadrant 2 – Not Urgent but Important
- Quadrant 3 – Urgent but not Important
- Quadrant 4 – Not Urgent and not Important
A project manager, or anyone for that matter, should try to focus on Quadrant 2 activities. These include things that are urgent but will yield tangible benefits in the long run. These are the things that most people tend to push-off until it’s too late to take any actions. This could be about acting on the feedback of the client, taking steps to minimize the risks, proactively managing conflict between the project team, and others.
Focusing on activities that are not urgent but important will ensure that important issues relating to the project are addressed in an appropriate time resulting in successful completion of the project.
6. Keep things organized
The importance of keeping things organized cannot be emphasized enough for the project manager. Organization is the first rule of the cosmos. All the planets revolve around the sun that revolves around the galaxy that revolves in a fixed path. Without organization, everything in the Universe would be in a pell-mell and we wouldn’t even exist.
Keeping everything organized is essential for a project manager. The person leading the project should store everything related to the project including documents, meeting notes, client conversations, and management reports. The tasks of organizing the files and reports can be made easy by using a project management tools such as Redbooth, and Evernote to keep things properly organized and filed.
7. Know how to capture and share lessons
The project manager should carry out a post-project completion analysis to capture lessons from the finished project. Consider conducting a workshop to inform the team about what went right, what went wrong, and how things could have been handled by the individual team members.
Sharing lessons learned from the project will help improve the skills of the team members to better tackle the projects. This will result in improved productivity of the project team that will ultimately make things easier for the project manager.
The above seven project management skills can help in achieving stunning results relating to any type of project. Remember to keep these guidelines in mind when you tackle the next project as it will lead you to a surefire path to project success.
This article was provided by the Redbooth Team, experts in project management, and based in Redwood, California. Sign up at Redbooth for complete project management solution for small businesses, agencies, and remote staff.