15 Essential Skills Every Project Manager Needs

Successful project managers integrate multiple skills and abilities to bring a project from concept to completion. When a project management position is your goal, developing these skills can positively impact your current work while helping you build for the future.

  1. Good communication skills allow project managers to share their vision, ideas, and goals. They must be able to convey messages to team members and all other stakeholders. In addition to speaking and listening skills, project managers are also called upon to create presentations and reports.
  1. Active listening isvaluable in connecting with team members, developing better customer relationships, and understanding the needs of stakeholders. Attention to the perspectives of others allows for a better understanding of concerns.
  1. Negotiation skills ensure everyone – team members, clients, suppliers, and stakeholders – is aligned with strategic goals. Resolving interpersonal conflicts among team members or across functions may also be required.
  1. Interpersonal skills include self-confidence, collaboration, compassion, empathy, and nurturing of relationships.
  1. Flexibility is required to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and changes in the process, project, or environment as they appear. This includes the ability to adapt to new technology, market or usability trends, and further definition of customer personas.
  1. Time management skills are called into play to create the overall project timeline and then manage tasks to deadlines, adjusting when outside forces change requirements or capabilities.
  1. Risk management requires constant attention to timelines, interdependencies of tasks, and the effects of decision-making. All projects come with inherent risks, and while they can’t always be anticipated, it helps to have the experience of identifying possible weaknesses or failure points and knowing how to implement a recovery strategy.

  2. Structured problem-solving focuses on gathering information, evaluating the pros and cons, and then considering solution options before making a final decision. 
  1. Leadership includes the ability to unify and bring together team members despite differences, oversee and coordinate the activities of multiple people, and facilitate motivating and encouraging all team members.
  1. Project managers must have the technical expertise to understand the project requirements and the processes, tools, and software used to complete projects.
  1. Team-building and management are essential to assemble a team that can work together efficiently to overcome challenges, move in a unified direction, and align their goals with the bigger picture. This includes evaluating team performance, coaching team members when necessary, and adjusting assignments to maximize each person’s contribution.  
  1. Delegation is critical in assigning tasks to team members by first understanding the skills of each person and then relying on their strengths and trusting them to get the job done.
  1. Working under pressure lets project managers stay calm while dealing with complex projects and problems. This includes knowing when to ask for help or support.
  1. Budget management is critical in defining and creating a realistic budget and then managing and controlling it throughout the project. Keeping an eye on cost overruns requires experience and the ability to look ahead and see what changes might impact or control costs. This includes the mechanical tasks of tracking budgets via spreadsheet and being able to put the information into a format for distribution.
  1. Organization is essential in ensuring everyone understands and aligns with common goals, priorities are communicated, and tasks and processes run smoothly daily and over the long term. 

At Thurman Co., we recognize that project management is more than just wrangling a schedule and budget; a full suite of skills goes into effectively managing projects.

We help businesses manage projects to significantly impact their success and growth. When you’re ready to put your project in the hands of a trusted professional organization, contact us to learn more about working together.

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