If you’re a project manager who’s working or actively looking for work, you’ve probably heard of the various methodologies of project management (PM), such as the Association for Project Management’s focus on “soft skills” or Prince2’s focus on the importance of honing in on your “hard skills.” Project Accelerator News and ParallelProjectTraining.com have both promoted these concepts at length and promote workshops at which project managers can attend and contribute. Building on these important skills, combined with intuitive management software, is a recipe for project success for most managers. Here are a few technical tools paired with soft skills that will help you to better navigate up that ladder of success.
Open Lines of Communication
Clear and open communication is essential to the success of any project, according to Project Accelerator News. For the most part, PMs have the speaking clearly and convincingly part of communication nailed, but speaking is only one half. Another important factor is active listening. Being available to actively listen to what your team members are saying can remove hurdles that prevent you and your team members from reaching the goal. Use technology to cultivate stronger lines of communication. An online video meeting once a week demonstrates a collaborative attitude. Touching base with team members via live chat software throughout a project will prevent the large-scale mistakes the earn project managers severance packages.
Follow the Leader
The soft skill of leadership is something that comes natural to some project managers, but it can also be a learned skill. As the captain of the ship, PMs don’t always make the popular choice, according to Project Accelerator, but being fair and transparent when carrying out tasks is more important. One wonderful tool that can help project managers to stay on top of each part of a project is ProjectManager.com’s management software. For only $15 a month per user, this portable project management dashboard can be used by more than ten project managers at once.
Never Say Never
Being a good negotiator is about finding the alternate route that works for all parties, not about being stubborn. PMs understand negotiation can be an asset that is used for settling terms for a contract, discussing changes to a project with a client and finding wiggle room in precarious areas of a project. Expert Negotiator is one online software program that many PMs have used to help a project to stay on track, meet deadlines, and to manage the team that is working on the project.
All of these soft skills can add up to another skill that PMs have found to be essential: being an influencer. Having the power to influence others to get excited about a project is one way to encourage the best out of a team. A PM who has harnessed the skill to influence his team, can work alongside his team, while still maintaining leadership and a good influencer is someone who speaks and listens openly. Influence is the soft skill that separates PMs from the pack.