Skills Every Good Project Manager Needs

Many times, organizations will knight their technical experts as project managers. The skill and expertise that made them stars in their technical fields are mistakenly thought to translate into project management skills. This is not necessarily so.

Project managers are generalists with many skills in their repertoires. They are also problem solvers who wear many hats. Project managers might indeed possess technical skills, but technical skills are not a prerequisite for sound project management skills. Your project team should include a few technical experts, and these are the people on whom the project manager will rely for technical details. Understanding and applying good project management techniques, along with a solid understanding of general management skills, are career builders for all aspiring project managers.

Project managers have been likened to small-business owners. They need to know a little bit about every aspect of management. General management skills include every area of management, from accounting to strategic planning, supervision, personnel administration, and more. General management skills are called into play on every project. But some projects require specific skills in certain application areas. Application areas consist of categories of projects that have common elements. These elements, or application areas, can be defined several ways: by industry group (automotive, pharmaceutical), by department (accounting, marketing), and by technical (software development, engineering) or management (procurement, research and development) specialties. These application areas are usually concerned with disciplines, regulations, and the specific needs of the project, the customer, or the industry. For example, most governments have specific procurement rules that apply to their projects that wouldn't be applicable in the construction industry. The pharmaceutical industry is acutely interested in regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. The automotive industry has little or no concern for either of these types of regulations. Having experience in the application area you're working in will give you a leg up when it comes to project management. Although you can call in the experts who have application area knowledge, it doesn't hurt for you to understand the specific aspects of the application areas of your project.

The general management skills listed in the following sections are the foundation of good project management practices. Your mastery of them (or lack thereof) will likely affect project outcomes. The various skills of a project manager can be broken out in a more or less declining scale of importance. We'll look at an overview of these skills now, and I'll discuss each in more detail in subsequent chapters.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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