How to improve Project Management Skills?

Having a project manager who oversees all aspects of project management is essential for all types and sizes of organizations. A project manager is a versatile job position for companies that require an individual with a combination of soft and hard skills. They are supposed to complete projects of all complexity levels — be it extending the product line to expanding business on a global level.

However, handling these responsibilities isn’t as easy as it seems. Even an experienced project manager struggles to keep up with the deadlines and ensure each task is accomplished as required. If you are a project manager or planning a career in this industry, you must hone your project management skills.

What are Project Management Skills?

Project management skills refer to soft and hard skills that help you finish a project while staying within budget and following the pre-determined set of procedures. Some of these skills are built-in, i.e., people are born with them, while others must be learned. Every aspiring manager needs a few popular project management skills: leadership, time management, teamwork, organization, research, critical thinking, quality management, delegation, communication, etc.

Ways to Improve Your Project Management Skills

Through a properly structured strategy and effective approach, it is quite possible to improve your project management skills. Let us see some of the crucial methods.

Complete training programs

Project managers are not born as managers. While certain skills come naturally to you, others require hours and hours of practice and hands-on experience. Consider signing up for a training program for project managers to learn these skills. Communication, for example, is the most crucial skill for effective management. And most projects fail because of poor communication. If you don’t communicate the ideas, project layout, budget, and other factors with your employees, there’s no way they can accomplish a project as planned.

Plan everything

You can't complete any project (whether it’s small or complex) without proper planning. You need to plan everything — from the budget to the deadline and from employees that should work on the task to the procedure. A project manager must take some time to plan the project, how it will be executed, and who will be involved before starting work.

Ask feedback

There’s a thin line between being confident and overconfident. A great leader is confident enough to delegate responsibilities, suggest a plan, and set a deadline. However, they also request regular feedback from their employees. This helps them grow as leaders. Ask whether your employees are happy with the new policy or procedure. Are the clients satisfied with the work? Ask if they’d like any change in the process or output. You can’t know whether or not you are on track until you ask someone.

Learn project management methodologies

There are dozens of project management methodologies, each with a unique workflow and different elements. The most popular project management methodologies are agile, waterfall, six sigma, scrum, and kanban. Agile methodology, for example, has a clear management structure that allows you to break the project into smaller and more manageable tasks, review each process, and make changes as you progress.

Boost your employees' morale

Your entire team will work under your supervision, following your instructions. But does that mean they are willing to adapt to change? Of course, every employee will have a certain perception regarding how the work should be executed or which tools will be more effective for completing a particular task.

It’s important that you discuss your project goals and procedures with each employee and select a plan that works for everyone. Appreciate your employees’ efforts and reward them with free lunches or gifts to boost their morale. Remember, it’s your employees that do all the hard work to put your plan into action.

Have realistic expectations

An unrealistic plan can’t help you complete any project, no matter how small and simple it is. You need to set realistic goals when planning the budget, delegating responsibilities, thinking about the project layout, and starting work. You should also be realistic when making promises to customers or offering a guarantee on products. For example, don’t promise to deliver a product within a week when you know your team won’t be able to finish the project within a short deadline.

Track your time

Time management is an important skill for a project manager. If you don’t schedule your project, you won’t be able to finish it by the deadline. The main purpose of dividing large and complex tasks into smaller parts is to complete the project on a scheduled date. You can use a scheduling app, calendar, and other tools to set a deadline for each task. Make sure it’s accessible to each employee working on the project. Everyone should be informed about the deadline so they can plan the work accordingly.

Select the right people for the job

A project manager may have to work on multiple projects simultaneously. The success of a project depends on who works on it. The question is, how do you choose the right people for the job? As a project manager, you know which employees have what specializations and what kinds of projects they have completed so far. Check their qualifications, training, certifications, and area of expertise before delegating responsibilities. Don’t assign tasks to employees before asking them first. Ask if they are comfortable working on the projects you are assigning or if they’d like to work on another project.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you identify the areas you can improve and what you can do better. For example, are you comfortable explaining the job details via email or prefer phone calls for better communication? Are you good at planning the entire project, or do you like to leave the small details for your team to handle? The more you understand your strengths and weaknesses, the better project manager you can be for your team.

Use project management tools and methodologies to complete your projects on time, as required, and without exceeding your company’s budget. Take a project management training class to become a certified project manager. In the meantime, follow the above tips to hone your management skills.

Updated on: 14-Dec-2022


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