The 6 Key Skills in Project Management

Highly demanded profile

No matter what the industry is, qualified professionals are always needed to plan and deliver the work. Project Management role is a highly demanded one, in fact, Project Management Institute (PMI®) expects 22 million new project management job openings through 2027.

A part from having a good understanding of the project scope (from a technical point of view), the project manager must master some key soft-skills which, from my point of view, I consider are mandatory to properly deliver assigned projects.

During this post I will be sharing with you which are these soft-skills in Project Management and will give examples for all of them. 

Important note: These key soft-skills we will be reviewing together, are applicable not only to Project Management but also to all Management roles.

The 5 Key Skills in Project Management

The jewels of the crown

If we would require to define what are the Project Management soft-skills, we would say are the core abilities required to successfully bring a project from start to end within scope, time and budget. 

I could start listing a lot of soft-skills that perfectly suit the Project Management role, but I will only focus in the ones I consider are the jewels of the crown.

1. Effective Communication

According to PMI, about 75-90 percent of a project manager's time is spent formally or informally communicating, from the project kick-offs to stakeholder management, passing through all the follow up actions. The project manager should also use the best approach for communicating in each case:

  • Business: For communicating with business, you'll have to use business oriented words (not too techie) and be focused on what they care about: financials and service impact. 
  • Technical Leads: They may like you to speak their same language. This means being able to understand all the technical aspects of your project.

We could conclude effective communication is the basis. If there're no proper communication skills, you won't succeed as a Project Manager.

2. Leadership

You as Project Manager are a team leader, and as such, should be able to effectively coach, guide and motivate your team members in order to achieve the project success. 

Teams usually work more motivated when they feel they are contributing to reach the project goals. The project manager can make it by delegating tasks and providing constructive feedback. 

3. Adaptability

Excellent planning is mandatory for the Project Manager, but you must know (and assume) in some cases the project won't go as expected. Is at this point when adaptability jumps in and makes the difference between someone being able to read changes and react accordingly and someone being collapsed by changes.

We have a good example in the Tripe Constraint of Project Management. In this post I explain several cases where changes are requested, and how we should adapt to keep the balance.

4. Curiosity and Research skills

This is about the famous comfort zone. Being able to move out from our comfort zone and learn by attending trainings or doing research, will make us grow and become a better Project Manager.  

This behavior applies not only for Project Management roles, but also for every single Management position. 

5. Negotiation

Negotiation skills are mandatory for a Project Manager. From managing resources, to engaging suppliers, leading a project means constantly being involved in negotiations. 

Discussions about budget increase or timeline updates could become complicated if not tactfully managed by the Project Manager. 

6. Critical Thinking and Problem solving

When facing new issues, the Project Manager will have to gather all the information, evaluate pros and cons and then formulate the best solution without bias. The main goal for the Project Manager is to minimize the impact as much as possible, keep the project on track and deliver within the committed budget.

So, what about you? Would you like to add any additional soft-skill to the list? Do you think you fit all the soft-skills listed on this post? Please, feel free to share with me your thoughts about this topic by adding a comment to this post.

Project Management
May 23, 2022


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