Project Management

5 Project Management Skills Gaps That Really Need to Be Improved

It would be difficult to name a profession that requires a more varied skill set than project management. Today’s project managers are expected to have specific industry knowledge, strong communication skills, good leadership qualities, and so on. Certifications is only one thing besides dozens of skills required to do the job.

Though the list of important project management skills is long, certain skills are considered to be the key. If you’re an experienced project manager, these are the skills you use every day to keep your projects on the right track. Elizabeth Harrin, in a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, lists five of the areas where people struggle with skills, and a couple of tips about how you can improve in these areas:

  1. Managing tasks
  2. Managing risks
  3. Managing scope
  4. Scheduling
  5. Managing the budget

Bridge the Skills Gaps

Don’t just throw a bunch of paperwork at people’s faces and expect them to work on their own to meet the deadlines. It’s important for project managers to assign certain tasks to appropriate team members without overloading them. Having a time sheet can help you keep track of your work, and remind your team members when it’s getting close to their deadlines. Try to also schedule tasks effectively so you don’t crash while juggling different things. Get to know your project management software, and learn how to utilize it to link tasks and know your priorities.

Managing risks and scope of a project is equally important to navigate your way through project changes. Make sure everyone on the team knows how to manage risks, and understand the change management process. Adopt an agile attitude in adapting to changes, while working to minimize threats and prevent incidents to occur.

Last but not least, it’s all about the money. Don’t forget to stay on budget. Software can help if you know how to use it. Project expense management is never pleasant, but it is definitely a significant skill to develop in the long run. Harrin gives some advice regarding budget management:

Don’t be afraid to take shortcuts if your company has a budget template for your project (or it’s built into the software you use). As long as you understand and can explain the figures, you don’t have to crunch them yourself if you trust the reports from your PMO or tools.

Remember, your company likely has a whole team of people who do budgeting and financial management for a living, so if you are struggling, ask for help. Your project sponsor can connect you with someone in the Finance team who will be able to explain why project accounting should be done in the way that is mandated.

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