Top 8 Overlooked Project Management Skills
A project demands the utmost attention of its team members to achieve the set goals. What if the team loses its way just when it was required to make solid moves? Well, many projects fail to accomplish their objectives and got abandoned or took a long time to reach somewhere. This happens mainly due to the project leader ignoring some basic management skills.
There is this tendency of project managers focusing only on some high-end management skills. But avoiding commonsense based leadership skills can aggravate the situation. Considering that, we have listed out some key project management skills that the leaders should never ignore.
Here are the leadership skills that can help you cope with varied issues arising in dealing with the team members.
1. Build a good level of trust
Most project managers simply go through routine work in a mechanical way. They issue instructions or tell about the steps to take to do a task in hand. But this approach is lacking a vital factor, which is the human touch or personal touch. After all, we all are emotional creatures who like to build a commandership and relationship to get along nicely. If a project leader treats team members as just employees who get salaries, then that will turn them into robots like humans.
A better approach is to first build some emotional bond with the team. The aim here is to create a level of trust, which is so important for most of our relationships in life too. This is the way forward to give your team a purpose and a sense of ownership when working on a project.
2. Communicate well
Consistent communication with team members and amid them is crucial for the success of a project. As a project manager, you need to know when is the time to talk tough to the members. But what should be the tone when talking straightforwardly to some or all of them is very important leadership skill. If the communication is not consistent and there are frequent breakdowns, it may result in a lot of confusion and chaos amongst members.
So, how about avoid saying straightforwardly that ‘such a thing will not be tolerated anymore’ and instead of giving some specific instruction for doing a task? Or, how about creating a quick response system so that the members do not imagine things and get confused? Think of such measures to cut the confusion and help members communicate with each other and the leader. Similarly, each visual you create such as a logo for your project should also be communicating its mission well.
3. Be flexible when dealing with risks
Risky situations emerge up during the course of working on projects. In fact, project managers are on a rollercoaster ride as they have to tackle many unseen challenges. That requires skillful risk management of some situations. A project manager needs to respond with great flexibility whenever some risks emerge. The project leader has to make a quick shift from previously thought-out plans and put in place a plan B or be ready for some adjustments for the time being.
Sometimes the situation becomes tricky when you have to balance between keeping your client’s interests intact and adapting to the new situation created by your own team. With a flexible mindset, many such risks can be efficiently managed. Just do not be rigid which is the mistakes many project leaders make in order to show their false determination.
4. Manage those small chunks of time
Another project management skills that many leaders tend to give less importance is the management of time. They usually think of setting a rough date of completion of the project and then forget everything about it later while proceeding with a project. But things do not work that way. Timely completion of the scheduled sub-projects is the key for meeting the overall time goal. This means that you have to manage many sub chunks of time.
The team leader should consider achieving more in a given span of time for every section of a project. The best way to do this is to use time tracking tools that are available in plenty on the web. You can track the time taken to complete some initial tasks. Many such specific details help in alarming the team members that a subtask is getting late and so they should hurry up.
5.Know which subtask is more important
It is not just enough to divide a project into several tasks and give them to the team members. Remember that as a team leader, giving different specific subtasks to your team is important. This is the way to keep them away from any burden of work. Moreover, this helps in keeping their focus on the job. Therefore, know which of the tasks need to be completed first and which ones later. That is also a leadership skill.
Note that completion of one task becomes the basis of starting the other task. So, you should divide each task into many subtasks cleverly using your experience.
6. Ensure high-quality checks
Another key measure that many project managers do not care to take is checking each subtask for high-standards of quality. In fact, these quality checks must be religiously followed at every single step. That is the way to ensure that overall project quality is up to the standards. But if the leadership just misses doing stringent quality checks, the team will be reversing back their steps to check where went wrong when client lodges a complaint.
So, when high-quality standards of each of the subtasks are in place, that leads to the satisfactory completion and delivering the project on time.
7. Make meetings worthwhile
Most project leaders are supposed to have meetings with team members. But how often they should hold meetings? That is a key question to manage valuable time. If the team is frequently called in a room to have a chat on an issue, that may consume a lot of project time. For some leaders, taking meetings becomes a sort of addiction and for others, it is a way to show their dominance over the members.
No doubt that meetings are essential for team building. But you should call the meetings only when you think there is a need to clear confusion on an issue related to the project. When the meeting is on, as a project manager you must check if people are paying attention. You need to see if they are still on Slack or checking their emails or playing games on their mobile phones. Make sure that each team member is able to take clear steps to move forward.
8. Make a decision with critical thinking
Critical thinking is about not accepting every argument presented and instead makes reasoned judgments. During a discussion with a team member as the project manager listens to various arguments. But not all of them are worth considering. A better approach is to weigh up the points made and find out the pros and cons of a situation. A skillful leader is able to manage issues by structuring various arguments logically. Then, analyzing them from different angles to arrive at a final decision.
The success of a project largely depends on how its leader manages is from start to finish. However, many project team leaders ignore some basic skills and end up paying the heavy price. They should build a good level of trust, communicate well with the team, be flexible in dealing with arguments, prioritize the tasks, make quality checks at each step, and adopt critical thinking