Project Management Skills Every Project Manager Needs

There are many ways to master the art of project management. But, with limited time and experience, it’s hard to know what to focus on. That’s why we’ve profiled the 10 most important project management skills every project manager needs to have. 

Good project management skills can help teams achieve their goals and meet client expectations. Learn more about the skills needed for project management and how to master them using tools you may already have. 

What are project management skills? 

Project management skills are areas of expertise that professionals can master to improve their ability to deliver high-quality results, scale businesses, and boost revenue. 

What skills are required for project management?

The skills needed for project management all help boost productivity, organize teams, and keep projects on time and under budget. Here are 10 good project management skills every project manager needs.

1. Communication

Communication is essential because client management relies on strong and open dialogue. Similarly, teams can better accomplish their goals when leaders communicate well and each member clearly understands their roles and duties.  

How to master it: Follow the lead of the 66% of survey respondents who use project management tools such as Wrike to streamline messages and project notes in one accessible platform. 

2. Leadership 

The best project managers know that using their value system, having a strong vision, and helping people achieve their full potential with proper scheduling and resource allocation is essential for successful leadership. 

How to master it: Take an online class on Business Leadership like the one taught by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Masterclass. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your leadership style, either. No matter how long you’ve been a project manager, there is always room to grow. 

3. Risk management

Risk management in project management is the ability to identify and plan for any obstacles that might delay the project end date, affect the client’s goal, or make the project go over budget. 

How to master it: Plot out project timelines with a Gantt chart so you can clearly foreshadow common issues such as competing resources or add an extra buffer in case some key elements take longer than you expect. Pay special attention to task dependencies and set up automatic team notifications to begin the next steps when important activities are marked complete. 

4. Transparency

Successful project managers have mastered the art of open and honest dialogue when it comes to both clients and team members. They will let stakeholders in on their process, notify clients of issues in real-time, and have the courage to make opposing decisions based on their instincts and experience. 

How to master it: Show your clients their own personalized dashboard view of relevant active projects to streamline communication and save time on status reports. 

5. Delegation 

Delegation in project management means choosing the best employee for the task based on their own skills and availability. Project managers who work on multiple active projects at a time need to consider whether or not certain employees are spread too thin or if it is necessary to hire an additional team member with the most experience in a certain area. 

How to master it: Use a project management tool that gives you a dashboard summary view of all active projects at once. You can get updates, look for competing priorities, and fully utilize your team to the best of their abilities without overscheduling them. 

6. Strategic task prioritization

Not all tasks are created equally, which is why prioritization is one of the most important project management skills

How to master it: Add priority levels to projects as well as individual tasks within each project to give your team a clear picture of what they need to focus on. 

7. Flexibility 

Clients will often make requests, vendors will sometimes take longer than expected, and team members may have to shuffle around tasks or priorities according to the needs of other projects. Have a backup plan in place for when (not if) this happens. 

How to master it: Use a tool that allows you to quickly drag and drop tasks between timelines or reassign them to available team members. Set up automatic notifications for these changes to keep everyone on the same page and overcome obstacles without missing a beat. 

8. Be familiar with Agile 

Modern project managers know that an Agile project management tool is now an absolute must for facilitating sprints, tracking progress, and customizing valuable reports. 

How to master it: Try a free trial from Agile project management tools such as Wrike to get familiar with this type of software. 

9. Organization

Whether your team members are stretched too thin or you’re juggling competing deadlines, it’s important to know what needs to be done and then quickly communicate it. 

How to master it: Use an organized resource database, a visual project management tool, and daily progress updates to effectively manage conflicting projects

10. Scheduling 

Scheduling in project management is a list of deliverables, deadlines, and sub-tasks within each project with start and end dates plotted onto the overall project timeline. 

How to master it: Create three types of schedules: a master schedule to see everything going on at your agency all at once, a milestone schedule to track big picture project milestones, and a detailed view of each individual project with all included tasks. 

What are good project management skills that you will learn on the job?

These are some project management skills you can expect to learn over time that will help strengthen your leadership ability and interpersonal relationships: 

  • Learn the strengths and weaknesses of each team member over time so you can help them grow to their full potential.
  • Learn how long it takes to complete certain tasks then build that estimate into your overall project timeline with customizable task estimates and notes. 
  • Learn how to deal with conflicts or disagreements between clients and teams as you serve as their liaison. 

Empower your teams with Wrike’s project management features  

You have learned all about why project management skills are important, which ones you should focus on, and which ones you can expect to learn as you go. Next up: bypass learning curves and conquer these skills faster with the right tools. 

Check out Wrike’s free trial to see firsthand how project management tools can support your skills and turbocharge progress at the same time. 

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