What are the skills that make a good project manager

Often, organizations would entrust their best technical experts with the duties of Project Management. The high level of technical skills and experience that makes them the best in their respective area are automatically thought to turn them into good project managers. But often, this is not the case. Project managers generally possess a wide array of knowledge and are equipped with a wide range of skills in their repertory. They are keen on solving problems and wear many hats. A project managers could indeed possess superb technical skills, but technical skills are not a necessity for being a project manager. A project manager should have some technical experts in his team. These are the people he can rely on for the technical details. Knowledge and proper application of good project management techniques, along with a strong foundation of general management skills, can skyrocket the careers of all aspiring project managers.


The management skills discussed below are the foundation of sound project management practices. Your mastery of them (or lack thereof) will most probably affect the outcome of your projects. The different skills necessary for good project management can be organized in a more or less declining
scale of significance. Let’s quickly take a look at each one of these skills:

Communication Skills

The single biggest requirement for being a first-class project manager is excellent communication skills. Communications, written as well as oral are the linchpin of all successful projects.

90 percent of a project manager’s time is spent on communicating. There are many different ways in which communication may occur: formal, informal, written, verbal, and nonverbal (body language). The ability to speak and understand the language of project management is important for the combined success of the stakeholders, and the project itself.

Organizational and Planning Skills

Organizational and planning skills are the second most important type of skills after communication in the making of a good project manager and they are closely related to each other. An Organization could take on many forms. As a project manager, you’ll have to take care of the documentation, requirements information, memos, project reports, vendor quotes, personnel records, contracts, and a lot more, and be able to locate it at a moment’s notice. You will also have to handle the tasks to organizing meetings, putting together teams, and perhaps managing and organizing media release schedules, depending on the project.

Time management skills also take significance here. It’s impossible to stay organized without having any knowledge of how you’re managing your time. Time management classes could be useful and if you’ve never been to one you should consider taking them. They have some great tips and techniques to help you better prioritize your problems, organize your day, and ultimately manage your time more effectively.

Budgeting Skills

Project managers are responsible for establishing and managing budgets and hence need some elementary knowledge of finance and accounting. The ability to perform cost estimates for project budgeting is an important skill for a project manager. Different methods can be used to determine the project costs. You can estimate the costs associated with individual activities and roll the estimates up or estimate the cost of the entire project in one big chunk. Once a budget is established, you can start spending.

Conflict Management Skills

Every project manager faces has some problems during a project, as do most of us in our day to day life. But, Isn’t that what builds character? Conflict management is nothing but solving problems quickly and effectively. The problem solving process involves two things.

First, you must define the problem by distinguishing between the causes and the symptoms. Often people mistake the symptoms for the causes of the problem. In order to avoid this, you could ask yourself things like “Is this problem internal or external in nature?”, “Is it a technical issue?” and “Are there interpersonal problems within the team?” and “Is it a managerial issue?”. Asking these kinds of questions will help you get to the root of the problem.

Next, having clearly defined the problem, you have some decisions to make. It could take some time to examine and analyze the problem, the factors causing it, and the options available to you. The project manager must determine the best course of action to take and implement the decision. The timing of the decision is often as important as the decision itself. A good decision can quickly turn into a bad decision if it is implemented too late.

Negotiation and Influencing Skills

Being a good negotiator and having good influencing skills are a prerequisite for effective problem solving. Every day, in one form or another, We all utilize our negotiation skills with people. Almost every area of a project such as scope definition, budget allocation, contracts, resource assignments etc. requires some form of negotiation. It could be one-on-one negotiation or negotiation with a team of people, and it could happen several times during the course of a project.

Influencing is enticing the other person into believing that a large SUV is the better choice for them than a small japanese car, even if a small japanese car is what they want. It also involves the skills and ability to get work done through others.

Leadership Skills

Some may think that a manager and a leader are one and the same but that is not necessarily so. Leaders are visionaries who thrive on ideas, gain consensus for strategic goals, establish the direction and inspire and motivate others. Managers are results oriented and are more concerned with getting the job done. Although leaders and managers are not the same, a project managers must exhibit the qualities of both as and when the need arises. Understanding when to switch from the leadership mode to management mode and then back again is a finely tuned and necessary talent.

Team-Building and Motivating Skills

A project managers job relies heavily on his ability to build teams keep them motivated. Teams often comprise of members from different parts or departments of the organization. Now, these people may or may not be familiar with each other, so it is the responsibility of the project manager to lay the groundwork for team building.

A project manager sets the tone for the project team and helps the team members to work through the different stages of the team development process until it becomes fully functional. Keeping the team members motivated during long projects or when they are encountering a lot of problems along the way, is another very important role a project manager fulfills during the course of a project.