How to Get Good at Project Management?

Nowadays, we are all project managers, anyone new can become one and each of us has an event from the past that we can look back at and say: “I was so project-managing that”. But this does not mean that we are all great at it, nor that it’s a piece of cake. Does it?

What makes one a good project manager then?

Communication

If your communication skills are poor you can still be a PM. But you’ll probably be the worst one ever. Coordinating people’s work and efforts, solving conflict and dispensing praise or reprimand are all based on the ability to communicate well: to the point, effectively and with respect for the others.

Interpersonal Skills

This follows on the need to communicate well — being good with people and knowing your way around different personality types and traits is necessary to motivate the team in the right way, to resolve all kinds of issues and read people — know what they’re saying no matter how they phrase it.
What can be crucial here — according to Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers book — is having high emotional intelligence.

Flexibility

All teams are built of people, and all people come with flaws and imperfections, hence a good manager needs to be prepared for hold-ups, mishaps and a whole load of delays. Discipline is important and needs to be plainly demanded, but the PM’s schedule has got to take a foreseen delay margin into account. This is what facilitates a PM to afford being flexible.

Problem solving

This can range from budget issues to quality assurance or hr matters. You need to know enough about every aspect of the team’s work to not get caught out.

Goal setting

Not just for the team, but for self as well. The point that needs underlining here is that it pays to focus on results rather than the process.

Lead vs. Direct

Managing a team is not equal to giving leadership. An experienced PM will know the difference and know which approach to apply in what matter / with which team member.

Common Sense & Practice

No job involving contact with other people can be done without common sense. Make sure you have it and keep it, despite bearing the title of a Project Management ;)
Other than these — it’s like anything else — the more you do, the better you become, yet mistakes are made and it’s them that teach you best. Keep testing yourself and one day you’ll be your team’s favourite PM.

This article had first appeared on the Kanban Tool Blog.