FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

PM4DEV Blog

Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

What are the Soft Skills any Project Manager must have?

b2ap3_thumbnail_softskills_20140224-200339_1.pngDevelopment organizations appoint a project manager according to the depth of his or her technical skills. It is not unusual to find a good engineer being promoted to project manager just for his or her technical competence. While it is true that a good understanding of the technical aspects of a project is useful, project managers are also required to have good management skills, such as communicating, planning, negotiating, coaching, decision-making, and leadership. These skills are often overlooked at the time of hiring or appointing a project manager.

Many project managers are not able to successfully lead projects due to a deficiency of the necessary soft skills.

The job description for a project manager needs to be more explicit and describe the managerial skills and competencies required for the job. Organizations usually assign a project manager with the idea that all that is required is expertise in a technical area, often forgetting the need to have a project manager with the skills to lead a project team, coordinate the use of resources, communicate with stakeholders, and manage the project constraints.

In today’s projects, soft skills are becoming equally as important as technical or hard skills. To be an effective project manager today requires more and more, including a good understanding of general management. Projects are becoming more complex in their nature, and it is no longer possible for the project manager to remain a technical expert. Project managers need to spend more of their time planning, organizing, directing, and monitoring the project.

These are the most critical soft skills:

  • Leadership skills - They are essential for project managers, because project managers must influence the behavior of others to achieve the project objectives.
  • Communication skills - This skill enables a project manager to convey project information in a way that it is assimilated and understood by all project stakeholders, includes both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  • People skills -  Needed in development projects due to the large number of people interfacing with the project. Includes the ability to listen, be empathetic and motivate people.
Rate this blog entry:
5
2144 Hits

Improve the Management of your Personal Time

b2ap3_thumbnail_managing-personal-time.pngIt is common to see project managers overwhelmed by the amount of work that lands on their desk and not being able to find enough time in a day to accomplish all that work. The moment the finalize a project report a new request comes asking for more information that will take a lot of work to get it organized. But the use of simple and effective time management techniques can help in getting more done each day. It will not only help manage the time more wisely, but can also help minimize stress and improve the quality of life.

Here are some tips project managers should consider in their day to day work:

Plan each day. Use a Project Log or Diary, and on the first day of the week write a to-do list of all the tasks assigned to you, write next to each item the date when the task is needed. This schedule of the daily activities will help minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.

  • Prioritize your tasks. Prioritizing the list of task will ensure that time and energy is spent on those tasks that are truly important to the project. Mark the list with a simple code such as “A” for most important, “B” important and “C” less important.
  • Work on essential tasks first. Tasks or activities that are most important to the project (marked as A) should be done first, evaluate the time and ensure you block enough time during the week to do them. See if there is enough time to do some of the tasks labeled as “B”. Until all top priorities have been completed don't take on less important ones.
  • Delegate. Consider if those activities labeled “B” or “C” in the to-do list can either be postponed or delegated to someone else in the project.
  • Delete non essential tasks. Activities marked a “C” are less important, evaluate if they can either be moved to the next week, or deleted from the list.
  • Know when you work best. Some managers are morning people, while others work better in the afternoon. Know your most productive hours of the day and schedule the priority tasks to work during those hours.
  • Evaluate your progress. Every day revise the to-do-list and see how you're spending your time. Mark tasks as completed and evaluate if the to-do list of tasks need to be re-prioritized, also check for any changes on the due dates.

The 80:20 Rule

The Pareto Principle or the '80:20 Rule' says that typically 80% of effort focused on noncritical tasks generates only 20% of results. This means that the remaining 80% of results are achieved with only 20% of the effort on the critical tasks.  This simple rule explains that by prioritizing and selecting approximately 20% of the task on the to-do list you can achieve 80% of your work.

Rate this blog entry:
2
1936 Hits
Go up