Being a project manager is no cakewalk. At one moment you are taking a team meeting, then handling a client call, and sometime later, dealing with your senior management. You have to be the bridge between all the stakeholders, and strive to deliver your projects within the deadlines, cost-efficiently. But this often comes at the cost of your own mental peace and work-life balance, especially when your project management skills are not at the peak.
To become a successful project manager you need to be dynamic and improve your skill-set continuously. It sounds simple yet most project managers are not able to focus on such improvements. Reason? They are entangled in doing everything it takes to deliver their projects on time.
Before jumping on to discuss the ways of improving your project management skills, it is imperative to learn about what these skills are and why there is a need to excel in them.
What Are Project Management Skills?
Project managers need to possess a plethora of skills to handle their portfolio and deliver projects on time. The most important skills that they need are:
- Time management
- Team work
- Risk Management
Why Improve Your Project Management Skills?
Improving your project management skills is not just about delivering projects within the stipulated deadlines and within the allocated budget. It is also important to maintain your peace of mind.
With a better skill-set you’ll be able to command multiple projects with ease. With an increased efficiency, delivering projects faster, at lesser cost and with effective resource utilization becomes a possibility.
This leads to better relationships with your clients, management, and your team. In fact, even your personal relationships would improve besides your mental and physical health. All these are related to each other.
How to Improve Your Project Management Skills?
You know the ‘why’. Now, it is time you work on ‘how’ part too. Let’s view some of the ways that can help you improve your project management skills.
As a project manager you have to keep yourself up-to-date on the latest software and tools. And why’s that? Simple, they would assist you to manage your project portfolio efficiently. Learn about latest tools and equip yourselves to effectively utilize them.
Keep in mind that the perfect project management tool is not necessarily the most complex and feature-laden tool. Even a simple project management software program could work wonders for you in delivering projects on time.
Also, it is not necessary that a PM software that works for another project manager would also be suitable for you. Use demo versions of multiple tools. Identify the perfect option that is easy to use and yet helps you plan, schedule, manage, report, and accomplish other phases of your typical project management system.
The right tool would supplement your ingrained skill-set and catapult your project management skills to the next level.
Take Inspiration From Others
Why reinvent the wheel when you can simply use it. Don’t hone your skills starting from the scratch. You may perfect your skills in your own way. But it would just take more time to reach the same level.
Instead, try taking inspiration. Whether from leaders, mentors and gurus of project management, and other industry veterans who’ve been there and done that. Read their books and articles. Attend seminars and workshops to learn the nuances of the skills that you desire to perfect.
Also, you don’t even need to go this far to search for such role models. There’s a lot to learn from your seniors too. Even your teammates and colleagues might offer some pearls of wisdom that may change the way you work things out.
Be open-minded about knowledge. It would come to you even from the most mundane of the places.
Upskill With E-learning
You are living in the age of information, and there is literally no piece of knowledge that is inaccessible to anyone. The best way to sharpen your skill-set is to register for an online course. This can help you improve the skill that you want to learn or strengthen.
e-Learning is one of the best approaches to upskill yourself. And why so? Because you can learn even during your spare time. You can attend webinars, take online courses, read articles, and take exams to learn and validate your knowledge. All this without even going out to an institute or auditorium. Just make an account on any eLearning platform. Their courses can easily be accessed from anywhere in the world through any mobile device like laptop or tablet.
This is also a great way to earn online certifications too. It helps you upgrade your resume with some really good and useful credentials like a PMP certification.
Besides, you get to be in touch with a community of like-minded professionals, be it course instructors or fellow students. This way you can discuss the problems that you are facing and learn from other people’s experiences and advice too.
Imbibe a S.M.A.R.T. Goal Approach
Setting goals to sharpen particular skills is a common and necessary move. Actually it is a necessity for achieving anything in life. But a lot of people, including project managers, don’t set the right goals.
Reason? Either their goals are so easy that even if they achieve these goals, there is no significant improvement in their life. Or these goals are so vaguely defined that they don’t know whether they have achieved them or not.
The answer to all your problems in setting clear-cut goals and actually benefiting from them is – S.M.A.R.T. Follow this acronym while setting goals to upgrade your skills, or anything in life.
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Results-based
- T: Time-bound
Once you follow these guidelines for setting your goals, you’ll find significant improvement in your project management skills.
Work on Your Weaknesses
Project managers, like all other human beings are creatures of habit. And these habits are not necessarily good in nature. The bad habits that managers have obstruct them from excelling in their skills. For example, if you are a procrastinator, you would never be productive for your workplace. Or if you have a tendency to blame others, you would never be good at team management.
Hence, try to get rid of these bad habits which automatically trigger under situations and don’t let you strengthen your skill-set. Introspect to identify these weaknesses, but don’t try to change everything at once. More often than not, you will fail, because our mind rejects drastic changes. Instead focus on small changes but be consistent in doing so.
Sharpening your project management skill-set is an utter necessity. If your want to rise and shine as a successful project manager, it’s important you start working on them immediately. After all, you’ll be subjected to competition both at workplace and in market.
Although it is quite an uphill task to skyrocket your project management skills. Still not an impossible task to accomplish. To help you reach them in a more persistent manner, using easy project management software is a good idea. You can easily mitigate your weakness with its use and help yourself upgrade in latest skills to match the existing competition in the market.
Author the Author
David is a technical writer, his works are regularly published in various papers and top-notch portals. His rich experience in Project management domain helps him offer latest and fresh perspective on improved efficiency in work flows across organizations. His informative works on similar lines can be reached out on ProProfs Project. You can connect with David on Twitter, @DavidMiller4312