Project LeadershipProject Management

What Does It Take to Up-Skill Our Project Managers?

It requires a full arsenal of skills for project managers to deliver projects with the best possible results. Could your skills stand to improve? In a post at her blog, project leadership coach Susanne Madsen elaborates on the steps to follow to better prepare yourself and other project managers for your next great challenge.

Skills for a Better You

Before anything can be done, it is imperative to analyze what skills the project managers already possess and in what areas they can improve. If a project is continuously delivered late, it may be symptomatic of a project manager lacking the punctuality skill, for instance. Once the problems are identified, it becomes a lot easier to look into why they are occurring, what the “root” causes may be. Despite the need for strong leadership for project management success, less than two out of three projects have an active sponsor backing them. Leadership skills need to be reinforced so that projects can be ultimately successful.

It is possible that project management issues may be caused by a lack of resources or tools within the organization. If that is the case, there is more to the problem and a program administrator will need to address all of the issues causing poor project management. One of the best ways to help train the project manager’s behavior is with one-on-one coaching or in a small action-learning group. It could be helpful to train senior managers as better project sponsors too. When they understand their roles better, they can adequately invest their time, which directly impacts the success of the project.

Madsen suggests that a training program contain four elements:

  1. Classroom training
  2. One-on-one coaching
  3. Sponsor workshop
  4. Ongoing mentoring

Classroom training is a great place to begin teaching because it helps to define all the elements that go into a project in a very clear, explicit manner. Once elements such as planning, estimating, or risk management are understood, one-on-one coaching can help to bring out a manager’s people skills. Sponsor workshops create an environment for senior management to learn everything that being a sponsor entails. The final training aspect of ongoing mentoring helps to continually assist in molding successful leaders.

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