8 Vital Project Management Skills (and How to Build Them)

By Esther Cohen

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Being a project manager is a tough job. It’s not enough to create project plans and delegate tasks. You also have to be a leader, a people manager and a clear communicator.

With so many skills to learn, which ones should you focus on developing first?

In this post, I’ll walk you through 8 vital but sometimes overlooked project management skills. You’ll learn the importance of these skills and get a brief lesson on how to develop them further.

What the Project Management Institute Says

Project Management Institute or PMI is one of the biggest PM organizations in the world. The Project Management Professional (PMP) it offers is quickly becoming a requirement for most PM positions.

To qualify as a PMP, you have to demonstrate a number of skills and competencies across different domains. Regardless of whether you want to get certified or not, a look at these skill requirements is a good way to orient yourself in project management.

The reason being: if PMI evaluates a skill in its certification exams, you can assume that it’s important for managing a project in real life.

Here are a few project management skills you should have as part of the PMP exam curriculum:

Knowledge & Performance

  • Integration management
  • Scope management
  • Time management
  • Cost management
  • Quality management
  • Communication
  • Human resource management
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder management


Besides the above knowledge areas, PMI also requires the following personal skills and competencies for its qualified professionals:

  • Achievement and action
  • Helping
  • Impact and influence
  • Managerial skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Personal effectiveness

While not always necessary, the above list should tell you what qualities you need to be an effective project manager.

In the next section, we’ll look at the exact skills project managers need to have and how to learn them.


8 Essential Project Management Skills

Regardless of your industry or specialization, there are a few skills that will serve you well on every project.

Some of these are:

1. Leadership

Leadership is a complementary to management. While the latter focuses on managing complexity, the former brings order and vision to projects. Little wonder that project managers are expected to have leadership talent alongside management know-how.

There is a direct correlation between the complexity of a project and the need for leadership. In fact, one influential paper even argued that positive leadership contributed almost 76% to a project’s success.

When you break down the elements that make a project successful, you’ll find that they’re all related to leadership in some way. Communication, team building, strategizing – these are all key PM skills that are also essential for leadership.

Be a better leader and you’ll undoubtedly be a better project manager.

How to learn leadership

Leadership is a difficult skill to learn. You can’t really learn it from a textbook; it has to be practiced.

Start by identifying the core areas that define good leadership. As Benis and Thomson noted in 2002, leadership has four key components:

  • The ability to adapt to changes.
  • The ability to motivate others.
  • The ability to communicate a vision
  • Integrity and authenticity

Strive to use these skills in your projects. Identify a few things you can do in all four stages of the project Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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