If you’re marketing yourself as a project manager, you need to make sure that you have the skills to get it done and get it done right. While there are dozens of things that project managers should be able to do to get things done, they almost all fall into one of the following 5 categories. Breaking your skill set down to these basics will show you what you are good at, and where you need to improve to be a solid project manager.
The most important step in project management is to select the right team to get the job done. Focusing your energy up-front on making sure you have the right people in place will save you undue stress and frustration later on. Not only do you need to make sure that they have the knowledge and know-how to complete their task, you also need to make sure that they have the soft skills to collaborate with other team members and to stay on track for completion.
Once you’ve picked the right people for the job, it’s critical that you step back and let them do what you’ve hired them for. If you chose qualified people with the skills you wanted, you shouldn’t need to micromanage them. You hired them to do a particular job, and you need to trust them to do it. Delegate responsibilities and hold them accountable, but let them get the job done their way. One of the biggest downfalls to getting a project done is by building resentment within your team- by not trusting them or by trying to tell them how to do their jobs.
After you’ve delegated project responsibilities, you need to know how to track the progress, and to make sure that the project is staying on task. Knowing who is working what angle and how everything is supposed to come together in the end depends on your ability to stay organized and to have a system for following up on tasks. Whether you use project management software or design your own system for keeping up with things, staying organized will determine whether your project succeeds or not.
Having great communication skills is also critical to keeping the gears turning correctly. You need to know how to approach people in a non-threatening way when criticizing, and you need to make sure that you are effectively communicating your expectations. You aren’t just managing your direct communications with individuals, you’re setting the stage for how the group collaborates and focuses. It’s up to you to make sure that information gets distributed appropriately, and that nothing falls through the cracks.
If you want to keep a project moving forward, you need to have a positive attitude. Being able to motivate your team members and inspire enthusiasm for the project is essential to making sure that they are producing quality work and meeting deadlines. Someone who is negative and is constantly harping on people is going to sap them of motivation and lead to frustration and resentment for everyone, slowing things down. Your attitude will set the stage for how the project goes from start to finish, so it’s critical that you pay attention to your demeanor and how you interact with your team members.
Keeping these 5 key points in mind throughout your project will help you to keep your team productive and motivated. While you may find different tricks and techniques to enact these keys, they are the foundation of being a great project manager.