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25 Essential Project Management Skills

When we consider the duties of a project manager, it seems as though they are limited to work assignments, deadline reminders, and ongoing status meetings. However, in reality, such is not the case. Project management is challenging regardless of the size or scope of the project.  

To supervise teams and projects, project managers need a combination of professional and workplace project management skills. These essential Project Management skills will create numerous job opportunities in this expanding field, as the demand for Project Managers is expected to grow 33% between 2017 and 2027.  

By 2030, there will be a need for 25 million project management experts worldwide, according to a Project Management Institute (PMI) report estimate. That equals almost 2.3 million additional project management positions created each year. 

According to research, there is a significant need for professionals who possess the right blend of skills, including business savvy as well as technical and leadership abilities. 

Are you prepared to meet the demand? Continue reading to understand the crucial workplace project managerial skills you'll need to succeed and how to hone them to stand out from the crowd. 

Table of Contents

1) What are Project Management Skills?

2) 10 Soft Skills for Project Managers

3) 7 Hard skills for Project Managers

4) 8 Technical skills for Project Managers

5) Conclusion

What are Project Management Skills?

Project Management Skills encompass a range of competencies and proficiencies essential for efficiently planning, executing, and finalising projects. These skills are pivotal in guaranteeing that tasks are completed on time, within budget, and meet predetermined goals. They include the ability to strategise project scopes, create realistic schedules, allocate resources effectively, and manage risks. Additionally, communication, leadership, and team-building skills are vital for guiding project teams to success. Adaptability and problem-solving skills are equally crucial to address unexpected challenges. Project Management skills are a dynamic combination of technical expertise, interpersonal capabilities, and strategic thinking, ensuring projects are completed successfully. 

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Soft Skills for Project Managers

1) Communication- 

Professionals in Project Management need to be proficient in communication. In fact, poor communication is frequently blamed for projects' missing deadlines, exceeding budget, or otherwise failing. 

Effective communication goes beyond simply being able to talk well in front of others but doing so is crucial. Project managers need to be aware of who, when, and how often they should communicate with. This can entail establishing expectations for how frequently communications will occur at the start of a project. 

2) Organisation- 

Being organised is essential for Project Managers. Maintaining discipline to remain on top of discussions and duties is necessary when coordinating timelines, meetings, and activities with other teams, contractors, or even other businesses.  

3) Flexibility- 

Even with meticulous planning, issues can still occur. People can miss deadlines, construction can be delayed by severe weather, they can fall sick, or they can change employment. Your job as a project manager will go more smoothly if you are a person who can handle unforeseen adjustments. 

4) Leadership- 

A project team's diverse components can join under the direction of a leader to work as a team to complete the project. A leader must be able to influence decisions without appearing as blatantly in charge, inspire team members, and strike a balance between the demands of the team and the project. 

5) People skills- 

To successfully complete projects is your responsibility as a Project Manager. As well as motivating your team, fostering a culture of collaboration and openness, and resolving potential conflicts, it can also mean staying organised and communicating with the appropriate people. Recognising that individuals have unique work preferences, driving forces, strengths, and development opportunities will create more successful teams and projects. 

6) Collaboration

Collaboration forms the bedrock of effective Project Management Skills. It plays a pivotal role in expediting work and enhancing efficiency. Cross-team coordination offers invaluable perspectives and insights that might remain undiscovered within a single team. The involvement of multiple minds inherently nurtures creativity and leads to more well-rounded project outcomes.

Enhancing collaboration skills can be achieved through frequent communication practice. Techniques like active listening, which involves staying fully engaged during conversations, prove instrumental. While seemingly straightforward, mastering open communication, dismantling barriers, and fostering a culture of co-creation is fundamental in building a collaborative, high-performing team.

7) Time management

Time management and organisational skills are intertwined. Enhanced task organisation leads to a more precise workload overview and better estimation of task durations. Nevertheless, it can be challenging to stay focused and effectively prioritise work. Establishing a task priorities list boosts time management skill and mitigates procrastination. By identifying high-priority tasks, you can address them first, ensuring that nothing is overlooked or neglected. This approach aids in staying on top of responsibilities and maintaining productivity.

8) Problem solving

Problem-solving skills are iterative and collaborative abilities that empower individuals to tackle and resolve challenges effectively. Developing these skills involves more than simply possessing the "correct" answer for every issue. It consists in adopting fresh perspectives and methodically working toward solutions.

Enhancing problem-solving capabilities can be achieved through data-driven decision-making frameworks and systematic analyses. For instance, when faced with the challenge of increasing sales by 10% compared to competitors, conducting a competitor research to assess your current market position is essential. Subsequently, employing the insights gained from the analysis to address the sales issue is vital. In this scenario, you might devise a new marketing strategy in coordination with the sales team.

9) Adaptability

In Project Management, change is a constant factor. Whether it's the current project or a future one, aspects of your project plan will inevitably evolve. This could include alterations in deadlines, change in priorities, or external circumstances that demand adjustments in your workflow. Exceptional Project Managers possess the capacity to pivot and adapt to these new situations while maintaining the project's trajectory.

Becoming more adaptable hinges on your ability to recognise when and how to transition effectively. Achieving this requires a profound understanding of oneself. Developing soft skills, such as self-awareness and mindfulness, can aid in managing your fluctuating emotions, which are particularly relevant during periods of change.

10) Critical thinking

Critical thinking, much like problem-solving, lacks a definitive "solution." Winning or losing isn't the essence of critical thinking, but it instead involves a disciplined approach to problem-solving driven by logic rather than emotions. Proficient critical thinkers excel at dissecting available information, analysing it, and formulating conclusions grounded in verifiable facts.

To cultivate your critical thinking skills, it's crucial to periodically step back and scrutinise your thought process. Ask yourself: How did I arrive at this conclusion? Is there an alternative explanation? Am I letting emotions, rather than factual data, influence my judgment? Emotional decisions have their merits, as passion often leads to sound choices. Nonetheless, critical thinking provides a reliable framework for ensuring that you tackle situations from a rational standpoint.

Get a holistic overview of Project Management Office (PMO) components. Register for our Project Management Office (PMO) Fundamentals course now! 

7 Hard Skills for Project Managers

Project Management skills encompass various competencies essential for orchestrating successful projects. Here are seven fundamental aspects of Project Management skills:

1) Project planning 

Project planning is the foundation of successful Project Management. It involves creating a detailed project plan or project charter that encompasses key project elements. This includes setting clear goals and project objectives, defining success metrics, identifying stakeholders and their roles, establishing the project's scope and budget, outlining milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies, creating a timeline and schedule, and developing a communication plan. A well-structured project plan provides a comprehensive view of the project's requirements, objectives, and constraints, serving as a guiding document for the entire project team.

2) Project scoping

Project scoping entails defining the size, goals, and limitations of a project. It involves setting clear boundaries, including deadlines and resource constraints, to prevent scope creep – a situation where project deliverables expand beyond the initial scope. Effective project scoping helps maintain focus on the project's objectives and ensures that the work remains within the predefined limits. It is essential for avoiding unnecessary project complications and managing stakeholder expectations.

3) Writing a project brief

A project brief is a dynamic document that outlines general project objectives and the planned approach for achieving them. This living document is adaptable and can evolve as the project progresses. The project brief typically contains a link to the project roadmap, a list of project stakeholders and their responsibilities (RACI chart), references to relevant documentation or files, and other high-level information essential for guiding the project team.

4) Hosting a project kick-off meeting

The project kick-off meeting is a critical component of Project Management, as it offers an opportunity to align with project stakeholders. During this meeting, Project Managers clarify project goals and scope and share essential project documentation, such as the project roadmap, project brief, or supplemental documents. The kick-off meeting often includes brainstorming sessions and Q&A discussions to ensure that all stakeholders have a shared understanding of the project's objectives and requirements.

5) Project road-mapping

A project roadmap provides a high-level summary of the project's key deliverables and timelines. It serves as a strategic planning tool, helping project teams and stakeholders visualise the project's trajectory and milestones. Project roadmaps are particularly valuable for complex projects with multiple stakeholders, as they foster alignment and shared expectations. They are typically created using timeline visualisation tools and can be regulated as the project progresses.

6) Mapping your project timeline 

Building a project timeline involves determining the sequence and duration of events throughout the project's lifecycle. A well-defined project timeline includes start and end dates, key milestones, and dependencies between tasks. This helps project teams track progress, allocate resources, and ensure timely delivery of project outcomes.

7) Task management

Effective task management is crucial for overseeing and optimising team activities and timelines. It involves tracking tasks in real-time, prioritising work, and ensuring that team members remain focused on essential activities. Task management software offers a comprehensive view of ongoing work, empowers teams to work productively, and facilitates informed decision-making.

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8 Technical skills all Project Managers need

Let's expand on each of these technical skills required in Project Management:

1) Project Management software skills

Competence in Project Management software is essential. Modern Project Management tools offer flexibility and user-friendliness, but mastering these tools is crucial. It includes learning how to use Project Management software effectively, following written guides, and watching instructional videos for in-depth knowledge.

2) Gantt charts

Gantt charts are visual representations of project timelines, where tasks are represented as horizontal bars with varying lengths to indicate their duration. They help in understanding project milestones, dependencies, real-time progress, and start/end dates. Tools like Asana's Timeline offer a user-friendly Gantt-chart-like approach.

3) Kanban boards 

Kanban boards are visual Project Management Tools that use columns to represent work stages (e.g., "New," "In Progress," "Done") and cards to represent individual tasks. They are particularly popular among lean Project Management teams, such as product, engineering, and software development teams, for their adaptability and flexibility.

4) Agile management

Agile management is a lean Project Management methodology popular among teams like product, engineering, and software development. It focuses on continuous improvement and flexibility with methodologies like Scrum and Kanban. Project managers in Agile environments coordinate team activities, facilitate effective communication, and remain flexible to adjust schedules.

5) Workload management

Workload management involves monitoring and managing your team's bandwidth to prevent overloading or underworking individuals. It's an ongoing process that requires understanding your team's capacity, competencies, and current workloads. Effective Project Managers allocate resources based on individual workloads and rebalance as needed.

6) Cost management 

Cost management is crucial in Project Management, focusing on how each task affects the project's budget throughout its stages. It involves defining costs and budgets, ensuring that stakeholders and team members understand budget constraints, monitoring spending during the project, and conducting a cost analysis after project completion to benchmark for future projects.

7) Project Portfolio Management (PPM) 

PPM provides a comprehensive view of your team's work across multiple projects or large-scale initiatives. It differs from traditional Project Management by simultaneously handling multiple projects. PPM tools offer real-time visibility into all your team's work, enabling the connection of strategy to execution.

8) Change management 

Change management is the process of introducing organisational changes, such as new processes or tools, gradually over a defined period to ensure easier adaptation. It's crucial for rolling out significant changes within an organisation effectively and minimising disruptions.

Develop your skillset as a Project Manager. Sign up for our Project Management Masterclass today! 


Consequently, your Project Management Skills will be unbelievably valuable in the job market, whether you're trying to get a new Project Management position or stand out among a sea of applicants for any other job role

Learn more about Project Management. Check out our Introduction to Project Management Course today!

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