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Improving Project Management Skills

MyMG Team
October 31, 2012

Top 5 Considerations

improve pm skillsHow can I expand my project management knowledge? What options do I have? Project managers, who’re eager to learn more, look for answers to these questions. For those people PM is the focal point of their career. If you are one of those people and want to improve your project management skills, you need to be ready to devote much of your energy to the improvement process. Here are top 6 considerations to help you develop your skills and abilities.


Know and Foster the Skills of a Successful Project Leader

Do you know what skills make a project leader really successful? One of the surveys undertaken by PMI to explore and review leadership styles of project managers has revealed that there are seven traits of a successful project leader, as follows below:

  • Ability to identify, define and solve problems
  • Being oriented to results managed under right goals
  • Enthusiasm and energy
  • Ability to establish and maintain stakeholder communications
  • Self-confidence
  • Ability to reveal and resolve conflicts
  • Perspective

Learn as Much as You Can

Self-education is one of the greatest opportunities to develop and improve project management skills. There are hundreds of books, magazines, guides, manuals, tutorials, dictionaries, and other literature about general PM and specific subsets. Of course you can’t read them all but what you really can is to look for and sort out material that could help you solve your current issues and improve your skills in management.

Tip! Dig deep into the Web to explore PM best practices, read e-books, communicate with other project managers, discuss issues on dedicated forums, download templates, etc. Also use “off-line tools” (paper books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) to educate yourself and develop your skills.

Gain Real-World Experience

Nobody can be successful without months and years of actual practice. As many projects you participate in as greater and practical knowledge you gain and thus as greater chances for success you earn. Of course, there is always a likelihood that you can do things right away without any preparation and practicing, but that’s just likelihood and even if you win now next time you may fail… Experience and real practice is the basic requirement for improving project management skills.

Prior Experience for Improving Current Skills

This rule works because when managing your projects you have to deal with a portion of unpredictability caused by people and changes. Much of what you have learned and remembered in previous projects will be helpful in predicting events in current and new projects. Your prior experience will be the key to your success in future.

Tip! Communicate with experienced managers and qualified project management mentors who could give you valued advice and guide you through best practices. Also review and analyze lessons learned from your past projects.

Improve Project management Responsibility

Your responsibility covers a range of projects in which you need to participate from day to day. Probably, those projects are typical for you so they do not let you gain new experience or knowledge. However, change is the driver of success that helps you develop and improve your project management skills.

By changing your PM responsibility you gain an opportunity to learn something new. Managing larger projects or multiple small parallel projects will stretch your limits and strengthen your skills in management.

Tip! Try to participate in complex projects; if you’re not sure you can cope with the new challenge, consider asking your mentor (a person who’s greater experience in managing complicated projects) to explain best practices and guide you through the processes.

Join Professional and Educational Institutions in Management

PM is a dynamically growing discipline, and today more and more individuals and companies look for opportunities of learning this discipline deeper. One of the opportunities refers to professional institutions that provide certified training and special education. Those who are interested in project management might consider coursework from Saint Joseph University Online.

Join PMI to improve project management skillsOne of the leading associations is the Project management Institute (PMI), which has divisions all over the world. PMI provides various training courses and programs that can help you improve your project management skills. Besides, you can network with other project managers, mentors, and professionals.

Tip! Consider exploiting the PMI training opportunities to get a degree, for example PMP certification. Also you can look for certified training providers in your area. By joining professional organizations you get more chances for better understanding PM processes and techniques.

Think like a Winner

Thinking like a winner means having a clearly stated goal and being passionate about it regardless of any circumstances. This statement is also about the ability to never give up. So, to improve project management skills, first you need to think about what you want to achieve (your goal is to develop your PM skills) and whether you are ready to spend much of your time and effort on achieving the goal.

Tip! You have to lose something (your time, effort) in order to win what you desire (your goal). But you should strive to lose less while earn more. That’s the golden rule, and if you follow it you can pave the way for improving skills in project management.

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