Project managers lead the planning process, form a project team, and manage the key project’s time, tasks, and resources. Hiring a project manager requires checking the skills that they should have to be able to be competent in handling their assigned project. Problem-solving and risk management are two key project management skills to look for in your project manager.
Good project managers are increasingly needed to complete projects well. In fact, Project Management Institute cites a 33% increase in project management roles by 2027, resulting in almost 22 million new jobs for competent project managers. Research shows a high demand for project managers who possess the skills and management traits that allow them to take charge of complex projects belonging to hypercompetitive environments.
Information Technology (IT), manufacturing, service, and many other industries require project managers. Companies hire a project manager to deal with problems and ensure a smooth flow of completion for each project assigned.
Essential Skills of a Project Manager
Project management soft skills coupled with other qualities you want your manager to have provides you the most suitable candidate for this job. Here are seven key project management skills to look for when hiring one.
1. Effective Communication
From project launches to various meetings and consultations, project managers need to communicate. Being an effective communicator is vital as they direct each phase of the project and communicate with team members and stakeholders until the project is completed. In contrast, a poor communicator can bring about missed deadlines, inefficiency, and project management failures.
To lessen this risk, your project manager should be able to know how to approach people from different walks of life, establish good relationships with team members, and be fluent in explaining the vision and goals of the project.
2. Negotiation Skills
One of the most important project management collaboration skills that your project manager should have is the ability to negotiate. Like communication, they’ll need to negotiate with management, suppliers, and resources to be used. They’ll also need it when dealing with conflicts that may arise along the way until the project is completed.
An effective negotiator can keep everyone involved content and united from start to finish. They’ll need to be tactful when discussing resources, budgets, timelines, and scope creeps. Otherwise, it can easily create conflict and friction for the dissatisfied party. They should know when to be persuasive and proactive in coming up with solutions that are mutually satisfying. In the end, they strengthen good working relationships.
Collaboration is always a great negotiation style because it’s a “win-win” situation for both parties. Spotify for brands focuses on teaming up with other companies by offering an easy way to play their preferred or chosen music in exchange for points or rewards. One prime example of this is between Starbucks and Spotify. They struck a mutual loyalty award agreement – Starbucks members can have unique access to Starbucks’ Spotify music list. In exchange, Spotify users can earn stars. The stars can be used to redeem Starbucks rewards.
3. Scheduling and Time Management
Projects must stick with the schedule and still ensure that it’s done properly. Otherwise, that brings about some loss for the company since they can’t benefit from it until it’s complete and operational. Time management is one of the essential skills of a project manager to be successful.
Your project manager should create a comprehensive project plan as it clarifies the scope, objectives, goals, and schedule for each phase of the project. It serves as the physical realization of the project idea. A good project plan allows you to know exactly what resources you need, who to deal with, and when each phase should be completed.
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4. Leadership Skills
It’s important to have strong leadership in project management. Choose a project manager who can coach, motivate, and guide the team members so each phase progresses smoothly. They can foster a productive work environment by allowing team members to develop new skills along the way. Constant and open communication is also important to ensure that everything is going according to plan. Also, in case there are issues or glitches, your project manager can guide them on the proper interventions right away.
A good leader also lets the team members feel that they’re contributing well to the project. This can be achieved by delegating tasks and responsibilities that are in the capacity. Google uses distributed leadership, wherein its leaders serve as coaches and encourage its members to succeed and still be healthy. It doesn’t micro-manage its team members. Instead, it motivates them to be result-oriented and productive.
5. Technical Expertise
Good project managers should have enough technical knowledge to ensure steady progress towards project completion. Your project manager should know the ins and outs of the project to anticipate risks and roadblocks. This way, they can limit these occurrences from causing too many delays.
In addition, it’s important to have practical knowledge of the project management software that’s used for the project. There is software used for planning, organizing, and communicating with team members. At the same time, they are also programs under budgets, resources, and schedules. A competent project manager learns to keep up with the times and the latest technologies needed to successfully complete projects.
IT project managers at IBM are expected to lead and coordinate a project’s overall scope, performance, deliverables, and cost. They are also charged to define the metrics and performance management of the project. Lastly, IBM expects the project managers to report the status of the project to its management and its clients.
6. Risk Management Skills
Another skill needed for project management is risk management or the ability to identify and manage risks. A project manager who can detect risks at the onset and provide the right mitigation action plans is very valuable to a business. This way, major problems can be avoided.
Walmart employs a cyber-security and risk collaborator to handle the security within its IT environment worldwide. They work hand-in-hand with engineers and project managers to set possible mitigation strategies for various risk scenarios that can happen.
7. Problem-Solving Skills
Having critical thinking enables a project manager to learn from experience and effectively deal with unexpected situations. It allows them to be proactive in looking for the best solutions to navigate an ambiguous situation. They can do this by remaining calm, studying the facts, and assessing the best options objectively. You can expect a well-done project completed within the set budget at the scheduled time if you hired a problem-solver as your project manager.
Why Choose Magic Project Manager
Magic aims to be the go-to provider of the most suitable virtual assistants for you. In fact, hiring a Magic assistant frees you from looking for ways on how to hire a project manager. We do all the recruitment and selection so you get the shortlisted candidates to interview. Depending on your needs, you can hire one or two VAs as well.
When hiring a project manager at Magic, determine the qualities of a project manager that you want to hire. This is so you can inform Magic about it during the discovery call. Feel free to include the key project management skills that you’re looking for as well. Rest assured, we’ll provide you with a shortlist within 72 hours after our initial call. To start hiring a VA, call us today!
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