In the dynamic business environment we are striving in today, it is the project manager and his/her team that is responsible for managing everything from day-to-day operations to devising a business strategy which focuses on the big picture.
Owing to the vital role of a project manager in an organization, project management is in vogue as a profession. And you, being a project manager, also need to stay in pace with the upcoming market trends and learn new skills to become a better project manager in 2019.
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Though there is no defined set of skills you can work upon to become a superior project manager, here are some key areas you can work on to improve your skills and knowledge as one.
Active Listening and Communication
Whether it is a suggestion, complaint, or comment, a project manager is expected alto actively attend to it. Whether the insight or criticism is worth listening to is of secondary importance, for letting others know that you are available and accessible is more important.
To be an active listener, communicate with the employee or executive that comes to talk to you by showing interest through words and body language. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by miscellaneous activities or formulating a response. Listen and then confirm what the person is trying to say and respond accordingly.
Active listening will allow you to gain a better insight into how to align the organizational goals, staff’s individual goals, and customer expectations.
Moreover, in the form of project meetings, status reports, e-mails, and plans, you should keep the channels of communication open. Through this, you will be able to report back to the higher levels and stakeholders with ease and stay in line with their expectations.
By streamlining communication, controlling the process and the language, avoiding nuisance, and having a healthy communication plan, you can achieve communication objectives with the utmost ease.
Take up a Professional Course
No professional qualification from a recognized body can be overlooked by an organization when they are looking for a competent project manager. Besides, by enrolling in an authentic institution like Project Management Institute and taking up PMP Certification Programme, you will have access to an ocean of journals, case studies and more to help you enhance your skills.
Embracing the dynamic organizational environment, working with difficult staff, executives, and customers, managing project costs, and creating a work breakdown structure are some of the several skills you can better by learning the nuances of project management professionals.
Review the past projects to creating standards and breaking records
Once you are through with a few projects, you have a rich base to compare your past performance as a project manager with what you are planning to do in the future. Pick up any project that you’ve worked upon 6 months ago and analyze it.
Initially, you can begin with documentation. Review whether it is clear and complete — also, study who was better able to work on which task.
Look back at the forms of communication you adopted and how effective they were in completing the project. Plus, go back to the conflicts which came forth in the course of the project and how did you deal with it.
Evaluate whether you were able to deliver a satisfactory project to the client in time. If not, what led to the delays? And what pleased or displeased the client the most.
Never ignore the importance of constructive feedback and ask another manager who was working on the older project with you about what they think of the project now. And what would they change in the operations if they were to work on the same project again?
Whether it is the smaller conferences which always welcome expert insights or the larger ones that you can organize on your own, they will encourage you to work on challenging skills. In this way, you will not only impart knowledge and new ideas into the zealous minds but also learn a skill or two for becoming the perfect project manager in the long run.
Moreover, you will be able to meet new people, some experts, others new-entrants, to expand your network and gather new management ideas.
Develop the skills of others to develop yours
One excellent way to build your project management skills is to teach them to a willing colleague. No matter if it is the professionals from your team or an aspiring manager from another department, appreciate their ambition to learn and teach them.
For this, you can either ask your protégés about what they want to learn or come up with a small list of beginners’ skills yourself.
The better you are able to translate your ideas into words, the more you will be able to excel in a particular skill.
Learn to Markey your project
In this day and age, it is the way you present your project that will keep the interest of the stakeholders intact. The moment investors or the professionals who have joined forces with you on the project see that the project is going haywire and they are receiving no communication from your end, they will start to lose interest in it.
To deal with this, you need to market your project well. Integrate and involve each beneficiary into the project as if it is their project to retain their interest by aligning the results of the project with their individual goals.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of reliable and accessible business literature, both online and offline. And, for a project manager to improve his/her skills, there are books and journals loaded with case studies which will help in enhancing problem-solving abilities, adapting to change, and better communicate with various stakeholders in the business.
In a nutshell, as crucial as it is to develop the project management skills, it is equally time-taking and requires efforts on your part. Then again, by paying attention to what others are saying, opening channels of communication, running conferences, teaching skills, taking up a professional course, and reading more and more about the art you can become better than the rest.