Project managers are the go-to people for getting things done efficiently and effectively. They make sure that projects remain on track, teams stay coordinated, and goals are met. But what makes a good project manager?
A successful project manager should have a combination of technical, leadership, and communication skills. Below are 10 must-have project management skills that all great project managers need to possess in order to be successful:
1. Streamlines Communication
Good project managers are able to clearly and effectively communicate what needs to be done when, so that everyone involved knows what is expected of them. This includes keeping team members informed of any changes in the project as well as providing feedback and guidance.
PMI says that if that level of communication continues, “there is a danger of missing the deliverables or other outcomes.”
Ouch. Can too much communication be bad? Yes, when it’s not systemized or clear or when your “communication” consists of a few unthreaded emails. The ability to communicate makes a huge difference in the success or failure of a project.
You would think that effective project managers would know how to do that with good project management tools. That ability is an overlooked communication skill.
A powerful project management tool like ClickUp helps you streamline communication, provides stakeholders/sponsors with updates and clearly delineates when work and tasks are due.
2. Positive About Work
If the project manager feels that the work isn’t reasonable or achievable, how will the rest of the team members feel?
A great project manager has the ability to understand the organization’s priorities, translate those values to their project team, and connect how they relate to individual projects and tasks. These project managers also work with the team on the strategies to achieve that vision.
To meet the deadlines, due dates and to keep the project on schedule, the project manager should be positive about the work at hand, helping the whole team to achieve.
Balancing positivity with reality about the risk and issues takes intuition and experience, which takes us to the next point:
3. Solves Problems
- Identify the problem
- Determine the causes
- Generate solutions
- Analyze the solutions
- Take action
Those five steps seem simple, but often we don’t take the time to clearly run through these. We may know the problem, but not evaluate from all angles or document the team’s thoughts about what to do next.
This may mean pulling out pen and paper to really focus and think about what happened. Write down each step of the process and jot down ideas about what worked and didn’t work at each stage.
Here’s this an example of using this project management checklist to solve an employees problem:
Step One: Identify the Problem
The employee is having difficulty meeting their deadlines.
Step Two: Determine the Causes
They have too much work on their plate and not enough time to complete it all.
Step Three: Generate Solutions
Possible solutions could include delegating tasks to other team members, setting realistic deadlines, or using a project management tool to better manage workloads.
Step Four: Analyze the Solutions
Analyzing the solutions will involve weighing the pros and cons of each solution and determining what works best for each team member.
Step Five: Take Action
Once you have determined what solution is best, it’s time to take action and implement a successful project management plan.
Following this simple problem-solving checklist can elevate a decent project manager into a reliable one.
4. Remains Calm
Well, it’s not on a level with being an ER doctor or a policeman. But the project manager has to balance the needs of the project, along with organizational priorities, the team’s output and any personal contributions they must make, too. Not to mention any frustrating elements that may be out of the project manager’s control, like outdated systems or workflows.
This can be stressful.
But a good project manager has the ability to take a step back, analyze the next options and learn lessons even amid the setbacks.
The project manager is the one that must clean up and approach the project again—maybe from a different perspective. But in this case, the project manager has to know what went wrong and not make the same mistake again. A good project manager should be able to pinpoint what went wrong and offer alternative solutions (see point #3).
Maintain your composure and lead well. Collaborate with your team to find the right solution for everyone.
5. Delegates Well
Why is delegating well important? A project manager can achieve more. You may be able to slide into the role and contribute for a little while, but eventually, the demands for your time will overwhelm you.
In fact, you will achieve more if you empower people the right away.
“The upper limit of what’s possible will increase only with each collaborator you empower to contribute their best work to your shared priorities. Likewise, your power decreases with every initiative you unnecessarily hold on to,” notes Jesse Sostrin of PwC in the Harvard Business Review.
To that end, successful project managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of the people they manage and then utilize and deploy their strengths for increased output.
Using a project management tool like ClickUp helps you delegate with its transparency, reporting, details and commenting feature. And its hierarchy is user-friendly–robust enough for cross-functional teams, but with privacy sharings that can be customized for managers or only select contributors.
6. Prioritizes Work
Every item can’t be priority number one. By its very definition, something has to fall to number two. A good project manager will understand how to prioritize the work for the team and then make the right choice.
The key here? Understand the urgent vs. important and cut out the noise. A sponsor or project stakeholder may yell about ASAP, but a good project manager keeps calm and knows how to prioritize what is most important.
Why is this important? Because important tasks add value. It’s the value of the Eisenhower matrix. The Eisenhower matrix is a quadrant-based system where tasks are separated by their importance and value.
After understanding the importance and value of each task, a good project manager will estimate the time involved for each and then rank them by importance from there.
7. Collaborates and Listens
Collaborating is all about working jointly and to do that successfully, active listening is imperative. You can’t collaborate without listening and seeking to understand.
If you’re working with a dev project team and the code is breaking down or can’t pass QA, you will want to evaluate the situation before jumping to a conclusion. The initial question or two may not get you to the exact answer you need–instead, you may have to use different approaches to find the solution.
Working together helps you try new things, experiment and find a solution forward.
A good project manager will encourage this team collaboration and create an uplifting environment, rather than isolating each person in their own silo.
By having a transparent set of projects and tasks, team members can see what they need to do and the dates that they need to have them done by. Good collaboration tools should foster productivity, not detract from it.
8. Manages Time
One of the main roles of a project manager is to make sure that the team meets deadlines and keeps up with the project schedule.
That doesn’t mean tracking each minute spent on tasks or micromanaging their every move (that would be a nightmare), but rather understanding what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.
Time management also includes tracking what’s happening at the moment and what resources are available for what tasks. This is where a project management tool like ClickUp shines, because you can break down the work into manageable chunks that feed into your team’s bigger goals.
9. Stakeholder Focused
A stakeholder is anyone who impacts or is impacted by your project and its deliverables.
These folks have a vested interest in what you’re doing, so you need to make sure they are kept up-to-date with what’s going on. A good project manager will keep the stakeholders informed, but also explain what it takes to deliver what they’re looking for.
This is what a good project manager does–they build relationships with their stakeholders and team members. That way, when changes or challenges arise, the PM can take the initiative before it becomes a bigger problem.
Finally, a good project manager must understand what’s possible and what the boundaries are.
When they come across a challenge, they should be creative enough to devise their own solutions and ways of tackling it. They should also think outside-the-box when it comes to project management in order to keep up with the times. See what new technology can do to make the project move faster and better.
Innovative and creative project managers are what drive projects forward. They come up with solutions to problems that people didn’t know existed and find ways to make what was once impossible, possible.
These time management tips and techniques will help:
Become a Great Project Manager for your Team
Effective project managers know what it takes to elevate a ho-hum project to a truly successful project. This takes a mix of soft skills, management, and leadership, along with the right technical skillset to prioritize work and make the right decisions.
Sign up for ClickUp today and use project management software to get the most out of your team!