Whilst technical are hard to find people, it’s even more difficult to find subject matter experts who also posess the business skills to deliver outstanding project results.
A great project manager is able to articulate business and technical needs solve problems and eliminate project roadblocks. This requires outstanding teamwork, communication and leadership skills.
Teamwork skills are quite broad but are vital to project success. Project managers need to be able to: recruit the right people and develop their skills; establish a vision and set goals; build and motivate the team; manage personalities; develop and maintain sound team processes; facilitate continuous communication flow and information sharing; encourage team bonding; manage anxiety and expectations, build trust and rapport and elicit support when required.
Communication skills seem simple. Almost everyone believes they communicate well but there are specific skills essential to project success. These are: negotiation – being able to pull the plug or change direction when necessary; developing relationships – good networks that help get things done; listening – to recognise developing risks; pre-empting misunderstandings and managing conflict; and last but not least – unlimited patience.
Leadership skills – great leaders can set vision and express themselves comfortably in all arenas. They are also patient with those who aren’t quite there yet. Leaders understand appropriate use of power and know how to develop goodwill. The best leaders know how to create respectful and productive relationships with stakeholders and guide their expectations.
Good leaders accept their responsibility as role models. They set an example for others and mentor team members. They can facilitate discussions to help others conceptually understand the cultural changes required.
Lastly, leadership is is absolutely critical to project management. Good leaders are comfortable planning, creating and working within structures and are able to monitor progress and track and report on results. They manage resources, are able to delegate and make the tough calls – putting the right people into the right jobs to get things done right the first time.