Project management is a fast-paced, ever-evolving, and highly rewarding career field to be in. With every day providing a new set of challenges, project managers are constantly adapting to both the scope of work as well as to the latest advancements in technology and software in order to stay ahead of the curve. In the digital age, especially, it’s never been more important for a project manager to have their eyes on the industry and to try and forecast trends in the market before they arrive so that they may take advantage of the changes and use them to their advantage.
With so much going on within the industry, the world business climate, and in their projects, project managers sometimes fall short on the basics, which is to lead a group of individuals to achieve all project goals set out by them in order to deliver a successful project on time and on budget. This is understandable; as technology grows, so does human reliance on it but that can become a detriment to some us if they do not focus on the human aspect, especially because it is a largely people-orientated career.
Project management requires a diverse set of skills, ranging from leadership, motivation, technical writing, reporting, risk analysis, and organisational skills in order to be successful. As you’re working with an eclectic group of individuals and trying to get the best out of them, soft skills are a project manager’s bread and butter. Without these, they will struggle to motivate their teams when times get tough and won’t be able to foster open and honest communication channels between them. In order to effectively manage people, project managers will need to focus on refining their must-have soft skills in order to benefit both themselves and their teams.
Take a look below at some tips to accelerate professional growth in project management and see which areas you need to focus on to improve your standing in the field.
Focus on your soft skills
As already established, soft skills are a high priority when looking to fast-track your growth in the project management field. This is due to the fact that it may take time to refine and find what approaches work best for you and your team. They are also what sets great project managers apart from the rest, as they are able to manage resources and motivate them throughout every stage of the project life cycle without losing momentum, even when times get tough. But which soft skills are the most important? Take a look below.
- Conflict Management
- Time Management
- Ability to stay calm under pressure
How to develop soft skills
Although almost everyone possesses these soft skills to a degree, what sets project managers apart from others, and the top project managers above the rest, is how they utilise these powerful skills in order to make their projects a success. Through education, training, and trial and error, project managers need to refine these skills in order to fast-track their growth in the field and become an asset to their organisation.
It’s not all about soft skills
Yes, soft skills play a vital role in the success of project managers, but they are not the be-all and end-all. Without the correct technical knowledge and industry expertise, a project manager cannot successfully lead a project to completion. In order to take a project from the initial concept to the final product, a large set of technical skills will be required in order to follow due process and ensure that the project runs smoothly.
Project managers are responsible for more than just motivating their resources; they are also required to:
- Set up workflow systems and processes
- Report on project progress
- Plan and forecast the entire project
- Assign resources
- Control the budget
- Perform concise risk management analyses and so much more
Tips to help fast-track your growth in project management
As you can see, you’ll need to focus on both soft and technical skills in order to be a successful project manager. But where do you start? Take a look below to see which areas need your attention ASAP.
Focus on communication
In order to run a project smoothly from start to finish, a project manager needs to have constant communication with all the parties involved. This is to ensure that everyone is on the
same page and working towards a common goal. If any issues arise, your team and resources should feel comfortable enough to let you know as soon as possible. This can be reinforced by holding check-ins throughout the day where team members are encouraged to share their progress and insights into the project. This will help foster open and honest communication within the company where everyone feels motivated to bring up ideas or concerns to management without the fear of backlash.
By focusing on communication as a project manager, you’ll be able to get more out of your resources and ensure that the project is delivered on time, without too many hiccups along the way, as you’ve seen them coming and prepared for them.
Refine your leadership skills
As the leader of the project, your team will look to you for answers whenever they are uncertain. It is your job to solve any and all issues, motivate your team when times get tough, and ensure everyone is working together towards a common goal. Without the proper leadership skills, you may find it hard to get what you need out of your team and even complete the project. Without a clearly defined leader, people left to their own devices will not take the job seriously and complete their work in a timely fashion as they are not the ones accountable. As the project manager, you’ll need to step up and take charge in order to lead your team to success.
Being a project manager in the age of digital transformation requires a new level of proactiveness. You’ll need to constantly be on the lookout for new trends and software developments and adapt to any new changes like never before. The saying “adapt or die” has never been more applicable, but it is not enough to just react to the changes. To fast-track your career as a project manager, you’ll need to be able to forecast trends within your industry in order to stay ahead and not just jump on the bandwagon. Enrol in a project management online short course to give yourself the tools you need to be able to bolster your career in the project management field.
There is no doubt that project management is one of the most challenging and rewarding career paths you can take. Providing an abundance of challenges and opportunities, being a project manager today requires a new level of commitment to the craft than ever before. With constant upskilling needed to improve upon your skills, it’s the perfect career for those who seek the thrill of a challenge and enjoy getting the best out of people.