A successful project is brought by a reliable project manager who leads how the project is implemented by a software development company. Great leadership is a critical skill of a dedicated project manager. With good leadership, this means overseeing the team tasks and managing the project milestones. The project manager works to set the vision, motivate the staff, interacting with them, coaching the staff to do their best and inspiring others to perform well.
To succeed as a project manager, you need to have a wide range of skills. Your required expertise can be classified into two types such as soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills involve interpersonal traits such as good leadership, capacity to communicate well and negotiate and manage client expectations. Basically, these soft skills are considered intangible, unquantifiable, and are not related to producing a concrete result. These are employed skills without necessarily using tools or templates.
Meanwhile, hard skills consist of technical expertise where the project manager’s role is being evaluated, including the planning of tangible deliverables like project schedules, budgets, and workflow breakdowns. By exemplifying these hard skills, this includes using templates and tools like modeling frameworks, scheduling infrastructure, and spreadsheets.
This article focuses on the necessary hard skills in project management. Below are the most basic hard skills.
#1 Good leadership. A successful project is brought by a reliable project manager who leads how the project is implemented by a software development company. Great leadership is a critical skill of a dedicated project manager. With good leadership, this means overseeing the team tasks and managing the project milestones. The project manager works to set the vision, motivate the staff, interacting with them, coaching the staff to do their best and inspiring others to perform well.
Project managers strategize in leading the different teams both from strategic and operational points of view. The main goal lies in stressing what objectives should be met and empowering the team and the entire organization to take part in the buy-ins and plan of action. This is where conflicts are being resolved. Also, this involves setting teams’ goals, evaluating how each team member performs his task, ensuring all team members are well-equipped with the needed tools, resources, and providing a conducive working environment to get things done in a timely manner.
Promoting work efficiency and collaboration
Being a good leader is not focused on providing a feel-good team vibe. It is more on implementing the standard practices and effective processes to maintain all staff are aligned to the team’s goals and objectives. Although it is crucial to ensure everyone’s commitment to do his work, the project manager carries the burden of the final call on assigning what the team will work on the next tasks. He is the tasked personnel and is responsible whether the project fails or succeeds. Despite the entire team is doing their share in the project completion, it is the project manager who drives the team and leads them in every step of the way. This entails doing whatever it takes to complete the project on time, even if it requires working outside of the assigned tasks.
Getting things done in a timely manner
Each project is managed by a team leader who oversees the process, the team members, and stakeholders. The project manager serves as the team’s cheerleader and encourager. Also, he is not afraid to call the team whenever inefficiencies are observed. He maintains a harmonious relationship while accomplishing the project and building rapport among the teams. Managing the team well means taking responsibility as a project manager to improve everyone’s work. He works to make things as planned and smooth-sailing. He reduces all the burdens and barriers that could get in the way while accomplishing the project.
The key skill to master in leadership is ensuring the project manager leads instead of simply managing. This means providing the right vision and a roadmap for success for the team while serving and empowering each member to accomplish the final goal.
#2 Improved communication. Another critical skill for project management is communicating well. This is a two-way street that involves promoting a better understanding of the project and identifying how things will be conducted. Great communication is the secret of any lasting relationship. The effectiveness of how the project manager communicates to the team has an impact on the entire organization, the client and stakeholders.
The more you touch base with your client, the more the rapport between the two parties is established. In the process, project success will be easy to achieve. When good communication is frequently realigned to the project needs, all arising issues are resolved and potential deviation from the project is discussed to eliminate setbacks and miscommunication.
From the client’s perspective, project details should be well-communicated in writing and submission of progress reports is necessary to reinforce good rapport and getting the message across. Setting status meetings and reports among teams are invaluable activities, as these help in keeping track of the succeeding tasks, action plans, mitigating project risks, evaluating budget adjustments and process modifications.
Set clear tasks for your team members
Regular communication is critical to team members. Project success starts in defining each team member’s roles and functions in meeting the organizational goals. The project manager should do his task of identifying what all team members should do and these should be clear to them. They should know what they should do, why the tasks are necessary to be done on time, how each task should be undertaken, and when they need to accomplish it. By promoting clear communication and proper briefing, these are essential to be understood and executing what should be completed. It is supposed to be an interaction among the team and not simply a one-way discourse.
The communication skill is having the ability to listen, clarify things, and ensure everyone understands the project. As information is directed using the right messaging at the proper time and designated individuals through the best communication channels, nearly any obstacle can be overcome.
#3 Contract management and procurement. The project manager should be well-versed about the tasks necessary to fulfill the contract and the related laws where the project is being conducted. Also, he should have the expertise regarding the process of business conversion or meeting the project needs when outsourcing goods and services, and the selection of the best service providers. At the same time, he is capable of managing the stakeholders’ supply chain.
#4 Manage risks and project issues. Project risk can be defined as any uncertain condition that whenever it occurs can either have a positive or negative impact on the project’s overall objectives. In risk management, this includes identifying risks, analyzing risks, and prioritizing risks and controls. It evaluates and manages risks to reduce or prevent their negative effects on attaining the task objectives. The project managers frequently use the best practices, technologies, and standards when managing the risk in a structured approach.
#5 Monitor and evaluate project performance metrics. Monitoring and evaluation is an ongoing assessment of project implementation based on agreed timelines with a goal of enhancing the existing and future output management, including outcomes and impacts. This enables project managers and other stakeholders to provide necessary feedback during project implementation. They also assist in identifying the actual or target resolutions and issues as early as possible to conduct needed changes to project operations. Evaluations are usually retrospective and are best conducted by a third-party or independent body.
A metric is used as a standard of measurement where efficiency, product performance or project quality can be assessed. These project management metrics assist in identifying the status of the existing project based on schedule, cost, and profitability. Also, the metrics aid in foreseeing any possible risks and spot issues prior to getting worse. At the same time, they help in monitoring the project profitability, team productivity, and work output quality.
Several project performance metrics involve planned value, schedule and effort/cost variance, schedule variance, earned value, and resource utilization.
#6 Create a budget and feasible timelines. Budget planning shows how funds will be used and spent during the project duration. Working with a budget, all required task in achieving a deliverable of every project task can be defined based on the cost and the schedule, highlighting the different tasks to be accomplished.
Upon the client’s approval, the project manager works by monitoring the budget and project milestones while ensuring everyone sticks to the plan. Both the budget and schedule are commonly used as project control metrics.
#7 Conduct proper task planning and implementation. A project plan is considered a formal and approved file that provides guidance regarding project execution and controls. Based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge, a project plan lists the project assumptions and decisions, manages communication among stakeholders, and records all approved project tasks, budget, and timelines.
For a project manager, proper planning covers from meta to microtasks. The necessary planning strategies involve getting things right in facilitating meeting plans, work statements, budget estimates, milestones, resource plans and briefs, and planning your daily activities. Planning is all about seeking means to complete the list of tasks as efficiently as possible. Creating an effective plan directly affects the project’s success. Regardless of how good you are at implementing, without proper project planning, it won’t succeed.