Keeping the projects on time and budget is essential not only for their efficient completion but also for earning credibility and more business for the organization. With competition becoming more intense in the business world, companies today need highly skilled project managers to meet the goals and exceed expectations. Statistics suggest that only 57% of projects are completed within budget (without any additional funding) and only 51% successfully maintain the original schedule. Project management is also one of the hottest skills in the business world today and although the number of jobs is growing exponentially, a huge number of candidates lack the crucial skills which is creating a talent gap. Regardless of the type of project, there are certain core skills needed for project management to ensure successful completion and delivery. And, when the budget is limited and timeline is short, the task becomes even more challenging.
Be it any industry, the demand for project managers with impressive skillset is only going to increase in 2020. If you’re looking forward to take up a similar role or just want to upgrade your skills to survive the fierce competition, focus on these 8 crucial project management skills for 2020.
Every project manager needs to be a good leader. It’s imperative to have a good understanding of the project objectives, what the team needs and what steps should taken. Having an expertise on the subject, mastering skills to keep the team inspired and motivated, and organizing tasks and people are also critical for maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of the team. Project management requires keeping an eye on every aspect of the project and leading the team accordingly. Also, take up responsibilities and fulfill them efficiently to create examples for your team.
This is often considered one of the most challenging tasks. To plan things carefully and stay on track, you need a vision and attention to detail. Keep in mind your past experiences and utilize the learnings from them. Being a project manager, you also need to have a good plan in place to manage unexpected delays and other issues. Breaking down the project into smaller components, creating short term goals to track progress, and regularly communicating with key stakeholders can prove to be helpful.
- Cost Management
It doesn’t matter what kind of project you are handling, revenue is important. Right from the beginning, estimate the project expenses and create a plan to manage them throughout the project so that overruns can be avoided. In addition to informing your team about the estimate and tracking the costs using project management software, making adjustments from time to time to keep things on track is also essential.
Lack of communication can cause major breakdowns in any project. As a manager it’s your responsibility to ensure that the team members are communicating effectively within themselves as well as with you. Figure out what channel of communication is most suitable for your team and project, and establish it before the project begins. Regular meetings are important in every project but make sure they aren’t unnecessary and a waste of time. Keep the meetings focused and productive.
- Quality Control
Keeping the projects on time and budget wouldn’t be of any use if the quality of work is compromised. Happy clients and customers should be the end goal for any project. Project managers must continuously monitor the work to ensure high quality. Conducting random inspections, assigning supervisors to check and report you on quality aspects, and writing down the standards for the team to follow are important considerations for quality control.
- Risk Management
When you are working on a project, there are always risks of things going wrong. Project managers need to assess and stay prepared for managing different types of risks associated with the project. You can identify and make a list of potential risks, in collaboration with your team. For each identified risk, keep a mitigation plan in place. Also, encourage your team to come up with solutions in case things go wrong. Documenting your risk management strategies can help you and your team to be more effective.
To get the most out of your team, you need to mentor and train them regularly as a manager. Giving your team members the opportunity to learn and sharpen their skills can help in maximizing their effectiveness. Also, when the employees get to grow their skills and knowledge in the organization, it leads to better retention and more satisfaction among them. Organizing formal trainings and developing mentorship programs can work wonders.
- Client Management
Managing and negotiating with clients is another essential project management skill. Project managers are the first point of contact for the clients and for handling them you need good people skills. Convincing the client for changes in the project if required and making amendments in the budget are often required and you must have the skills. A good project manager knows how to communicate clearly with clients, set standards beforehand, and discus the deliverables even before the project starts.
No project management software will be good enough for your team if you don’t have these basic skills as a manager. These project management competencies are not only important for successfully completing the projects but can also help you in making an impact and advancing your career as a project manager.