Need to brush up on your project management skills?
Anyone can get project management certifications. But what skills do you really need to set you apart from the crowd?
This article contains ten overlooked project management skills that’ll help you manage your projects efficiently. We’ll show you why they’re important and how to apply them.
Additionally, we’ll also show you how you can practically implement these in everyday project operations using a project management tool.
Here are the ten project management skills we’ll be covering:
(click on the links to jump to a specific skill)
- Time Management
- Creative Ideation
- Quality Control
- Meeting Control
Let’s get started.
Great communication is essential for effective project management. Understanding others and being understood are the two driving factors behind any project’s progress. A successful project manager must communicate with their team, clients and stakeholders to keep things running smoothly.
While soft skills like communication consist of a wide range of essential project management skills, they can be condensed into a few simple uses:
- It helps address concerns.
- It can resolve conflicts.
- It keeps people in the loop.
A. Don’t Forget To Listen
One of the key skills in communication is being able to listen. You must first hear the concerns and needs of your team if you want to communicate with them. Listen with the intention to understand – not to respond.
Sometimes, you’ll have to go beyond simply listening and asses body language as well. Once you start developing these soft skills, you’ll find it easier to grasp what they’re saying and get to the crux of the matter easily.
B. Ensure That You Communicate Frequently
Another important component of efficient communication is its frequency. A successful project manager must regularly communicate with all parties to keep things on track. Infrequent communication can cause doubts, insecurities, and hold-ups in your project’s progress.
C. Adapt Your Communication
You can communicate regularly, but if you’re not getting your point across, what’s the point?
You need to adapt what you say for different audiences – your own team, stakeholders from other departments, senior leaders, clients and so on.
Remember, for communication to work, it has to be understood. You must empathize with your audience, understand where they’re coming from and restructure your words to make them fit the context of their unique interests. Only then will they be able to grasp what you’re saying and take action on your words.
For example, when speaking to a finance team member about your team budget, avoid using any technical jargon to explain why you need a bigger budget to purchase new software!
The same holds true when it comes to upper leadership and stakeholder management. You must use your negotiation skills to convince people about goals, features, and deadlines. Change your communication approach to appeal to these stakeholders to help them grasp what’s going on easily.
How ClickUp Takes Your Communication Skills to the Next Level
You don’t need to attend a Tony Robbins workshop to become a master communicator!
Instead, just use a solid project management software that’s centered around communication! As an example, we’ll show you how to use ClickUp is the world’s leading free project management software to transform your team’s communication, collaboration, and productivity.
Used by companies like Google, Apple, and Airbnb, ClickUp has everything you could ask for from any project management software.
A) Comment Sections
Each ClickUp task has a comment section to facilitate interpersonal communication. Your project assignees can share task updates, images, files and links within comments to keep everyone posted about what’s going on. They can even tag individual team members to notify them of anything.
Already using Slack? Or thinking about it?
That’s great news!
ClickUp can integrate with team messaging apps like Slack to streamline your project communication channels. Instead of your communication and project hubs working separately, digital project managers can merge them together to create a unified productivity platform.
Here’s what digital project managers can do with ClickUp’s Slack integration:
- Directly create ClickUp tasks within Slack
- Add detailed project descriptions to Slack messages
- Create ClickUp tasks from Slack comments
- Change project statuses and priorities within Slack
Here’s a simple fact…
Essential project management skills like collaboration and communication go hand in hand. The goal of soft skills, like communication, should always be to facilitate effective collaboration.
A project’s progress depends on how well your team members coordinate to get things done. If they’re unable to collaborate and work on tasks together, you’ll never meet your deadlines.
A successful project manager must help their team develop their interpersonal skills and iron out any differences that arise. Build a workplace based on trust, where team members can completely rely on each other to do their parts. If you can’t, this is what you’ll be working with:
It’s also important to use your people skills to collaborate with senior leadership and project stakeholders. Including their inputs and ideas is key to achieving an outcome that they’re happy with.
How ClickUp Helps You Collaborate Better
A) Box View
ClickUp’s box view helps project managers take stock of what everyone has on their plate at the moment. As tasks are sorted out by assignee, they can easily view what’s been assigned to each team member.
They can also easily reassign tasks and responsibilities to ensure that everyone has an even workload and can collaborate on tasks effectively.
Leaving comments in a project management tool or Slack isn’t always enough. Unless these comments are converted to tasks that are assigned to specific people, things will regularly fall through the cracks.
How do you avoid forgetting to do things – without the pain of creating a new task?
Easy – use ClickUp’s assigned comments.
ClickUp allows you to convert a comment into a task or subtask and assign it to a specific person.
ClickUp will notify the assignee of this task immediately to ensure that it doesn’t go unnoticed. It’ll also pop up in their task list where they can start working on it.
They can even mark a comment as resolved when they’re done. This way, digital project managers don’t have to manually follow up to verify if a task was completed or not.
ClickUp allows you to add guests to your project space to make it easier to keep external project stakeholders such as clients, consultants or freelancers in the loop.
To maintain privacy, you can customize their access rights and permissions to only allow them to view/edit the project spaces they’re involved with.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) prioritizes scheduling as another core element of project management.
A project leader must schedule a project’s timeline effectively if they want it to be a success. However, planning and scheduling a project’s deadline involves far more than simply setting a start time and due date.
To schedule a new project effectively, you must use your leadership skills to:
- schedule each team members workload
- establish project management processes
- Implement risk management safeguards
- monitor your critical path
It’s important to clearly define a project’s schedule and work breakdown structure before you commence work on it. Always involve your team in this planning and negotiation process.
As they understand their key skills and capabilities, they’ll help you create a successful project work breakdown structure that’s actionable. This guards against planning overly ambitious project schedules that are inevitably delayed and plagued by project hiccups.
How ClickUp Helps You Schedule Effectively
A) Gantt Charts
Yup, Gantt charts are cool again – and I am not talking about the boring and intimidating spreadsheets with a notoriety for inflexible project planning!
Gantt charts are one of the easiest ways for a project leader to manage their project schedules. They give you a visual overview of your project tasks and its dependencies. You can also conduct a critical path analysis to calculate your project’s critical path (You can use this knowledge to identify the most vital tasks to a project’s completion).
Managing project schedules with Gantt charts make it incredibly easy to make scheduling changes on the go.
Think that’s impressive?
ClickUp’s Gantt charts take this visual project management skillset to a different level.
Think of it as your scheduling HQ that’s dedicated to success:
Here’s what ClickUp’s Gantt Charts can do for a project leader:
- Automatically readjust your task dependencies when you reschedule anything
- Automatically calculate your project progress percentage based on tasks completed/total tasks
- Compare your expected progress vs. current progress
- Calculate your critical path to identify which tasks you must prioritize
ClickUp lets you add start times and due dates to every task and subtask to ensure that your project stays on track. Each task can have its own deadline and its assignees will be notified when tasks are overdue.
You can also add milestones to signal the end of a group of tasks. These are great for defining project stages and giving your team an end-goal to work toward.
ClickUp’s in-built calendar comes with multiple views to help you view your schedule and work with ease. Here’s a closer look at each view:
This view is perfect for a high-level overview and setting long-term goals and tasks.
This lets you schedule your team’s workweek down to the half-hour.
This view is great for managing the day-to-day operations of your company. You can zoom in to see tasks side-by-side and identify and work overlaps in your work schedules.
4 Day View
This is a great view for a condensed look at what’s coming up in the near future.
If you’re a project manager, you have a lot of responsibilities. You’ll have to manage:
- Project tasks
- Team sprints
- Cost management
- Your project plan
- Team management
- Project updates
- Client expectations
Pretty overwhelming, right?
No project manager can effectively manage all of these things without being organized. While we generally associate organizing with boring, administrative tasks, it’s one of the most important project management skills in your arsenal.
You need a structured, organized system to manage each of these activities and keep your workplace organized. Without one, you’ll be scrambling from end to end trying to make sense of it all.
How ClickUp Can Keep You Organized
ClickUp comes with clearly defined project spaces to help a program manager keep their activities neat and organized. ClickUp’s organization structure is as follows: Workplace > Space > Folders > Lists > Tasks > Subtasks.
Let’s break down each of them:
Workplace: Top-level hierarchy where you break your company up into individual teams.
Spaces: Areas dedicated to particular subgroups in your team like “content” or “software development.”
Folders: This is where you store project-related lists
Lists: This is where all your individual projects are listed.
Tasks: This is where all your work happens. Each task has its own subtasks, detailed project descriptions and comments to help your team collaborate effectively.
Subtasks: Each task can be broken down into separate subtasks.
Checklists: You can also embed a checklist or to-do list within work tasks or subtasks. For example, you could have a quality test checklist for your software testing team.
Your project team is not a homogenous unit.
They are a group of individuals with different preferences, goals and key skills. Your goal as a good project manager isn’t to try and minimize these differences, but rather, create project management processes flexible enough to deal with them.
Remember, every team member brings unique problem-solving skills to the table – a manager must cherish this rather than trying to inhibit it.
Additionally, a good project manager needs to be flexible enough to deal with the different teams involved in a project. Your engineering team is going to have a different set of needs and goals than your product management. Your goal is to create a successful work environment that’s flexible enough to seamlessly integrate each team.
How ClickUp Can Keep Your Workplace Flexible
Different departments in your company prefer different kinds of tools. For example, most tech teams prefer Agile tools, while other teams such as marketing or sales prefer list-based tools.
To build great products that your customers actually want, you need to collaborate closely with customer-facing teams like sales, marketing and support.
However, most project management tools only have one view, most companies use different tools for different workgroups. This creates a disjointed workforce that finds it hard to collaborate with each other.
Luckily, that’s not the case with ClickUp.
It’s flexible enough to offer you four different views for your teams. Your teams can even toggle between views in the same project.
Here’s a closer look at those views:
- Required Task Views
ClickUp’s required task views help you deal with two of the most common project management methodologies:
This view lets you easily move tasks and projects around. It’s perfect for fans of SCRUM/Kanban management tools.
This view lets you view your projects and tasks in a handy GTD (getting-things-done) style. It lets you check off all your project tasks in a matter of seconds.
- Box View
This view is perfect for a manager as tasks are sorted out by assignee. They can take stock of what everyone has on their plate and use this knowledge to make changes to their workload.
- Calendar View
The Calendar view is perfect for organizing and managing your schedule in seconds. ClickUp lets you toggle between four different calendars:
- Days: to view all your tasks on a given day
- 4-Days: to view your tasks over a rolling four day period
- Week: to view your weekly tasks
- Monthly: for a bird’s eye view of your organization’s monthly activities
- Me Mode
This view only shows you your assigned tasks. It’s a handy way to stay focused on the most relevant tasks and block distractions.
Different projects have different project stages.
Think about it:
Your web development projects and content writing assignments will have very different stages to go through.
Unfortunately, most project management tools give you a standard set of project statuses like “Open” and “Closed.” These statuses don’t accurately reflect a project’s stage which can make them confusing to deal with.
However, that isn’t the case with ClickUp.
ClickUp gives you a fully customizable statuses to ensure that they accurately reflect each project’s stage. You can get as detailed as you want and customize your statuses on a project-by-project basis.
6. Time Management
Balancing your budget, time and scope is a triple threat constraint for project management professionals (PMP). The most important skill that’s under your control among those is time management.
As a project manager, you’re responsible for your own time and your team’s time. Managing these two can be a difficult task if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, achieving success in the time-management field isn’t too difficult.
All you need is a bit of training.
It’s important to work on your productivity skill set with time management tactics such as the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves working for short stretches (usually 25 minutes) and taking a small break (usually 5 minutes). It helps your brain stay productive and keep you functioning at an optimal level throughout the day.
When it comes to the team, an effective project manager needs to establish clear-cut rules on time spent on certain tasks and responsibilities. It’s a good idea to track the time they spend on tasks and help them understand where they’re losing time and what they can do about it.
How ClickUp Can Help You Manage Your Time
ClickUp comes with native time tracking to help you keep track of how much time you’re spending on a task. A team member needs to start the timer once they begin a task and stop it once they’re done.
ClickUp will then generate a report of their time usage where you can see:
- The total time worked by each employee
- Cumulative time tracking logs for each team member to measure how time-consuming certain task lists were
- Time tracked manually and automatically
Your employees can even sort their tasks based on time used to identify the tasks that have taken the longest.
However, that’s not all.
ClickUp can also integrate with tons of popular time tracking apps like Harvest, Toggl and TimeDoctor to ensure that your team stays productive irrespective of the time tracking platform they use.
All tasks were not created equal.
Certain tasks are more important and urgent than others. A good project manager must be able to identify this and structure their team’s workflow with this in mind. Use your project management knowledge to understand an assignment and identify its most essential project tasks. Use your problem solving skills to also understand the right sequence of tasks that need to be attempted.
Think of it like this: the project has to move forward, but your team has its feet planted in the same place. One team starts work, then another, then another and yet another team blends it all together. Everyone must work to move the pieces along and it can only get to the endpoint with another team’s help.
An effective project manager uses their decision-making skill set to decide what piece goes first. You’re the one feeding the pieces in, knowing how they’ll crisscross and move across to form one solid whole.
How ClickUp Helps You Prioritize
ClickUp can add priorities to each task to help your team understand what to tackle first. ClickUp’s priorities come with a handy color-coded system to make them easy to understand:
- Red: Urgent
- Yellow: High Priority
- Blue: Normal Priority
- Grey: Low Priority
ClickUp keeps this color coding standard across your workspaces to ensure that your team can always identify their priorities – irrespective of the project space they’re in. Each team member can also filter and sort their tasks by priority to make it easier for them.
Dependencies ensure that your team is successful in attempting tasks in the right order. For example, an effective project on web building cannot start without a wireframe first.
Here’s how ClickUp’s task dependencies can help your team:
Waiting On Dependency: This notifies your team they can’t start this task until a previous one is completed.
Blocking Dependency: This prevents a task from being started until a previous one is completed.
Dependency Warning: ClickUp warns users against closing a task that’s waiting on another one to be completed.
Unblocking Notifications: ClickUp notifies your team once a task is unblocked so that they can commence work on it.
8. Creative Ideation
A manager must use their problem-solving skills and critical thinking to creatively come up with ideas and strategies for a project plan.
It’s up to the project manager to steer innovation and push their team to develop smarter and better products. However, a situation where the project manager is solely steering innovation is never going to be successful.
Use this opportunity as a team-building exercise. Involve your entire team in the process and value their insights and opinions. This allows them to develop their communication skills and critical thinking on the job.
Once you get your team involved in this process, your company will find it far easier to develop a successful project.
Because you’re using the problem-solving skills and critical thinking of an entire workforce – not just an individual’s.
How ClickUp Facilitates Creative Ideation
The ClickUp project management software comes with a built-in wiki tool for your organization. Your team can use ClickUp Docs to create a detailed project plan. They can edit these docs together and make comments and suggestions to facilitate the creative process.
As each document is stored alongside its relevant project, you’ll have no difficulty finding it and adding more inputs.
Here’s what else you can do with this feature:
- Nest pages within documents for additional categorization
- Access rich text formatting options to create docs that accurately reflect your ideas
- Edit access rights to each document to maintain privacy
- Make your docs publically available
- Let Google index your docs to appear in search results
9. Quality Control
Quality management isn’t just about problem-solving. It must be a core part of every successful project – ensuring that every step in your work breakdown structure is optimized.
You need to eliminate any unnecessary, irrelevant steps in your team’s workflow that don’t provide any value. Often, these steps and project management processes overcomplicate things and delay your deliverables.
Ensure that all remaining steps have a clear-cut set of rules and objectives. You want to establish a concrete, repeatable task management process that your employees can easily follow. Once you do so, you’ll have perfection at all stages of your project workflow.
How ClickUp Helps In Quality Control
A core element of quality control is ensuring that that you’ve finished whatever had to be done.
A good project can’t afford any missing steps as it could heavily impact your end goals and deliverables.
ClickUp’s checklists help you avoid this task management hassle.
Each task comes with its own checklist to ensure that every assignee attempts all the steps in a task’s work process. These checklists ensure that no step goes unnoticed and that your employees only close a task once everything has been completed.
It’s also a simple way to verify if a task is ready to move on to the next stage. All a manager has to do is look at a task’s checklist and see if all the items have been checked off.
To make task management easier, ClickUp lets you create checklist templates that you can add to all your tasks in a matter of seconds!
10. Meeting Control
There’s no denying that good project meetings can be helpful. They can help your team creatively ideate, address concerns and plan for the future cohesively.
However, they’re also time-consuming and not always necessary.
Think about it –
Every team meeting comes with numerous time-wasting steps:
- Setting up the meeting
- Notifying everyone about it
- Gathering together and settling down
- Managing refreshments
- Limiting small talk and unrelated conversations
Not to mention, a meeting eats away at the valuable time that your team could be spending on essential project management work.
So how does an effective project manager develop good project meeting control?
By ensuring that:
- Your meetings are absolutely necessary – they can’t be resolved via chats or status updates online.
- Your meetings are efficiently structured to minimize the loss in work time.
How ClickUp Helps Manage Meeting Control
A) Running More Efficient Meetings
With ClickUp’s checklists, you can create a detailed meeting agendas to follow. You can efficiently structure your meetings and inform your team members of what’ll happen beforehand via your Slack integration. This allows your meeting to progress smoothly and quickly without compromising on value.
B) Reducing The Number Of Meetings
ClickUp’s Box View gives project managers an overview of what an employee is working on. They can see what tasks have been completed, what’s underway and what hasn’t been started. Also, with ClickUp’s project statuses, they can instantly verify what stage a project’s in.
As your project management software keeps your managers in the loop at all times, you won’t have to have endless progress review meetings.
Use these essential project management skills to take your project management to the next level. The best part about these skills is that they’re applicable to all project management methodologies. Be it Waterfall, Agile or Lean – you’ll find these project management skills to be extremely useful.
Becoming a great project manager is also easy once you use the right management tools. ClickUp has everything you need to implement these project management skills and boost your productivity. Why not sign up for ClickUp today and become the best project manager you can be?