Are there just some people out there that are born to manage projects, or can we learn the tricks of the trade? Come on, we can all learn something if we want to, right?
Let’s start with what we do know… we know that managing a project can be time consuming as we have to view the ‘bigger picture’ throughout and steer it toward success, as well as handling the client and their questions day to day. Managing a project is taking the client from their uncertain vision to their certain reality, but how? We need some key skills to look after our client and their project successfully.
Every project manager must have this very important skill, allowing you to listen to your client and understand their needs. It also helps to build a good relationship with the client thus instilling trust in you that this project will be a success.
You must have the ability to perform as a team and keep your team motivated throughout the project. This is crucial as larger projects can sometimes be lengthy and by using your communication skills you have to ensure you are all on the same page to bring the project together.
This skill is critical. Conflict is tough but someone has to be able to resolve the problem. As a project manager you are responsible for resolving conflicts; if you have a problem internally you would need to be the peacemaker and ensure everyone’s opinions are heard and the best solution is put in place. Always remember you are a team!
Are you the project manager on more than one project? If the answer is yes your time management is very important! Keeping your motivation and energy levels up is key to having this skill. We all have those big important tasks that we focus on, but let’s face it, some of those smaller tasks that we have written on a scrap of paper after a telephone call can be just as important and sometimes even more important. Make sure you prioritise your work properly!
Of course, project management is not just about these skills, there are many others but these are critical to managing a successful project.
So to summarise, can we learn to be a project manager? Of course we can, project management needs a lot of varied skills so take your strongest skills and use them and take your weaker skills and develop them and work hard to develop the skills you don’t have.
Above all, get some experience. Your first project is never going to be easy, but give it your all to achieve the best you can!