In this article are the technical skills needed for project management in whatever official settings you find yourselves. Project management skills are the traits and characteristics that help you take winning projects all the way from idea to completion. That includes planning projects, assessing risks and opportunities, creating budgets, communicating with stakeholders, troubleshooting problems, and more.
Technical skills is a term to describe all of the industry and role-specific knowledge and qualifications you need.
Of course, the skills required to get projects across the finish line are particularly useful for people who want to start or grow their careers as project managers.
But these qualities have way broader appeal than that. Everybody — regardless of whether they have a formal project management title or not — is responsible for organizing and leading a project at some point. And when they do, they’ll lean on their project management skills to get the job done.
Technical Skills Needed for Project Management
In order keep things a little more organized, we have delineated some number of technical skills needed for project management in your place of work, or chosen field of knowledge in life:
Planning and Forecasting
It goes without saying, but proper project management requires skilled planning. This can be challenging, especially since many project managers need to make educated guesses about timelines and required resources.
That’s where forecasting comes into play. Project managers need to use any information they have to make predictions and estimates that are rooted in information, rather than only hunches or gut feelings.
Every project has risks. Perhaps a resource won’t be available when you need it, or delayed approval from a client will set your timeline back a few days.
Project managers are responsible for not only navigating around risks but anticipating them so that they can try their best to avoid them altogether (or, at the very least, adequately prepare for them).
Subject Matter Expertise
Project managers work in a variety of industries, from construction to IT to marketing and everything in between. While it’s not an absolute necessity, it’s helpful for the project manager to have a basic familiarity with the industry and the types of projects they’re managing.
This level of expertise will help them more accurately estimate risks, costs, timelines, and resource requirements.
Pretty much anybody can get a project over the finish line if they don’t care about the quality of the work. But a successful project manager will pay close attention to the project’s standards to ensure the final product meets or exceeds those expectations.
That’s why quality management skills are so important. Project managers will keep a close eye on a project’s progress to ensure that all of the different steps and deliverables meet their quality standards. If and when they see a problem, they’ll take the appropriate corrective steps on the spot — rather than doing a bunch of rework at the end, which could delay the project.
The truth is that a project can hardly be chalked up as a success if it comes in way over the initial budget.
Project managers know that there are financial constraints they need to work within, and they use their budgeting and financial management skills to deliver winning projects within those limitations.
Tracking and Monitoring
Project management isn’t just about completing a project — it’s about completing a successful project. That won’t happen if project managers fail to keep their fingers on the pulse of how the project is progressing.
They need to use their performance tracking and monitoring skills to ensure projects are running according to plan and still supporting the broader business goals. If not? They’ll course-correct when necessary.
Kickoff meetings, status updates, retrospectives — the typical project process has many meetings, most of which are led by the project manager.
For that reason, a project manager needs to be skilled at facilitating meetings, including creating an agenda, guiding conversations, documenting notes, and following up on action items.
The words “scope creep” are enough to cue a horror movie soundtrack in the mind of any project manager. Projects can quickly balloon out of control, causing problems with the budget, resources, and timeline.
Project managers are the ones responsible for reining in projects when they start to expand beyond initial requirements and expectations. That involves proactively spotting issues, reinforcing expectations, and successfully communicating what’s in and out of scope for a particular project.
Project Management Software
The best project managers know better than to try to coordinate all of the elements of a project with jumbled spreadsheets and random task lists.
Instead, they’re experts at using project management software like Wrike to centralize communication, streamline collaboration, and iron out project plans. And what’s more? They’ll educate and encourage other project stakeholders to use the software too.
Writing and reporting
From project plans to status updates, project managers do a surprising amount of writing. They need to be skilled at sharing written information in a clear, organized, and digestible way.
Reporting also falls under the writing umbrella. Whether it’s a resource report or a progress report, project managers will spend a lot of time gathering information about a project and compiling it into a summary that all team members and stakeholders can easily process and understand.
Project Management Methodologies
From Agile to Waterfall, there are numerous project management methodologies and approaches. These outline specific principles for overseeing and completing projects.
Experienced project managers are familiar with those methodologies and can determine which ones are the best fit for their specific teams and projects.
While project management does involve some guesswork, those guesses are typically educated. Project managers ground their estimates and assumptions in past experiences and data.
That involves a lot of research. Whether they’re analyzing how similar projects were completed successfully in the past or digging into a different type of project management methodology that could be a better fit for a specific project, project managers need to be skilled at finding new and relevant information.
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