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Key Project Management Skills

Eric McConnell
July 13, 2010

The key project management skills and qualities of a project manager considerably determine how the project will be performed and whether the success will be achieved. When the project manager is efficient, this means he or she has a set of the key project management skills, so the project is performed on schedule and the project team is led properly. There are several basic project management competencies and qualities that are necessary for project managers and team leaders to plan, do and check their projects and project activities. Let’s review each of the key project management qualities.

  1. Leadership.
  2. What is leadership? – It is one of the key project manager skills to create a vision of the project and inspire the team to achieve project goals. It involves implementing group values consistent with high moral and ethical standards, as well as motivating team members. The project manager should learn and constantly develop this one of the key project management skills to move the team toward achieving the goals, establish efficient teamwork, maintain valid principles and ideals, and follow project management basics.

    Leadership also refers to a group-based process of getting things done through people. This project manager competency is the foundation for efficient teamwork and group-based task management. When a team leader has a highly-developed leadership skill, he or she can organize the team by giving a vision of the tasks and motivating team members to make changes. Actually, change is the core of the key project management skill – a project will move forward only if appropriate changes have been made.

  1. Good communication.
  2. Communication is one of the key project management skills to provide valuable information on the project status in a timely and effective manner. This project manager competency engages a team leader to select the best communication channels to efficiently and timely represent information to the target audience and interpret responses received from others. High level of self-management of the leader and his interpersonal skills will considerably contribute to establishing complete channels of communication and developing one of the most important project manager qualities.

    Communication also refers to a process of listening, expressing and managing information. The project manager spends about 50% of his working time on communicating with others, so efficiency of the project considerably depends on how well or bad this person can listen to team members, express his orders and opinion, and manage information flows between team members. Being one of the key project management skills, good communication determines a highly-productive work environment in which information is distributed and shared without delays and misrepresentation. (To learn more, read the Project Management Guidelines)

  1. Conflict resolution.
  2. Although conflicts between people are unavoidable in any work environment, team leaders and project managers should strive at developing the conflict resolution skill to mitigate the number of conflicts and maintain team collaboration. Conflict resolution is one of the key project management skills that allow a project manager to resolve any project conflicts so that members of the project team will feel themselves like a part of the process and want to remain involved in the project.

    Conflict resolution often becomes one of the most critical and demanding project management competencies because for many managers it is a real challenge to learn resolving conflicts between people. The project manager competency requires the project manager to be able to attentively listen to both sides involved in a conflict, then state the basic problem of the conflict, and generate the right resolution. However, the main problem here is that while generating the resolution, the project manager should consider current priorities of the project as well as interests of both sides involved in the conflict – and only then find the balanced decision and create the right resolution.

  1. Team building.
  2. Being one of the key project management skills, team building involves working on managing the “people factor”. It is a project manager’s ability to select, acquire, develop and manage a team. This one of the basic project management competencies allows transforming a group of people into a productive team which is able to do project tasks, do teamwork and meet shared goals.

    A successful team leader which has developed the team building skill knows how to develop and share strategic visioning, motivate the team toward achieving the strategic goals, and provide ingoing training and education. That person will efficiently share duties and tasks, delegate authorities, assist team members in understanding their roles and responsibilities and establishing collaboration and teamwork.