Being bold, confident, determined, and decisive are all useful qualities of a good project manager. But the real strengths of a project manager lie in their capacity to lead from the front, listen with respect, and provide unwavering support to the project team.
What are the strengths of a project manager? Strengths are traits and qualities that a project manager develops based on their skills, performance, and experience in managing projects. These strengths determine how the project manager leads, manages, motivates the project team and stakeholders.
A project manager who is unable to lead a team or manage stakeholders put the project at risk.
A good project manager is never faced with unforeseen problems. So, it is necessary to keep building up your skills and become a better project manager.
If you are unsure of how to build your project management skills, consider learning the following skills and strengths of a project manager:
10 Great Skills and Strengths of a Project Manager
1. Creating an Open Environment
Communication is not just speaking clearly or actively listening to understand what team members are experiencing. It is about creating a positive environment where everyone involved in the project can all easily communicate without problems.
If all communication goes through the project manager, what if you’re not there? That means communication will breakdown, and the team is going to fail.
To create a safe and open environment for communication, you need to encourage all people on the project team to provide ideas and suggestions. If you do that, all team members will provide feedback on the project without fear.
2. Staying Organized
Staying organized is one of the top strengths of a project manager. A good project manager often deals with a broad range of responsibilities without getting overwhelmed.
That means communicating daily with stakeholders, monitoring the schedules, watching the budgets and costs, and managing the project team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
With multiple responsibilities, a project manager needs to have strong organizational skills to stay on top of everything and protect the project scope from creeping.
3. Providing Good Leadership
Good leadership is one of the great strengths of good project management. Great project managers have excellent leadership and management skills. Leadership skills focus on people, and management skills focus on managing the process.
As a leader, the project manager leads the project team from the front throughout implementing the project. Besides that, a good project manager knows when to step back and let the project team take the initiative. It allows the team to develop their operational competencies.
The project manager also ensures that people of different attitudes work together as a team and keeps everyone motivated.
4. Managing the Risk
There is just too much that could go wrong with a project. A project manager cannot guarantee that the process of implementing the project will be free of issues. There is too much that can go wrong with a project, so the risk is always present.
But a good project manager puts together a contingency action plan in place in case the project encounters problems. A risk mitigation plan must show all steps necessary to manage the risks of adverse effects on the project before you start the execution.
A project manager is nothing if the person can’t manage the risk associated with the project. Without mitigating the risks, the project can cost more money, waste time, and even fail.
5. Drawing a Workable Plan
A good project manager can put together a workable action plan. The project action plan is a document that lists all sequences of actions that must be executed one after another to complete the project successfully.
The action plan clarifies what resources you require for the project. It also indicates all timelines and determines what team members are required to execute the project plan.
Remember that whatever you put on the project plan, you must deliver all of them. So, a good project manager makes sure that the project plan is feasible.
6. Protecting the Scope
What is to protect the project scope? Protect the project scope is to prevent adding more tasks to the original project plan. The project manager must ensure that the project boundary doesn’t extend beyond its parameters.
The parameters include the budget, schedule, scope, quality of the project and are interrelated. If you let the scope creep, you must also increase the cost and possibly the schedule.
Preventing the scope from creeping is critical for managing a project successfully. As a project manager, you must guide all stakeholders to ensure that everyone sticks to the project plan.
7. Monitoring the Execution Process
The project manager must monitor and control the entire execution process of the project plan.
Monitoring and controlling means measuring the performance of the project against the plan. It also means managing the project scope to achieve its goals at the right time.
So, the project manager monitors the schedule and targets, making sure that the execution process is moving according to the project plan. Also, the project manager manages the budget, costs, quality, risks, and procurement.
Read more: How Do You Set Your Expectations for a Team
8. Learning to Negotiate
One of the core strengths of an effective project manager is the ability to negotiate. As a project manager, you must negotiate all along the way of the project.
For example, you need to talk with suppliers, stakeholders, and all sorts of people directly or indirectly involved with your project.
When conflicts arise within the team due to disagreements, a project manager needs to solve the problems and maintain harmony.
Also, a project manager needs to create supportive relationships with stakeholders through negotiations. A project manager must get on well with stakeholders for the project to be successful.
9. Managing the Stakeholders
Successful stakeholder management is the key to project success. Not all stakeholders report to a project manager. Sometimes it is the project manager who reports to stakeholders. It can be challenging to manage certain situations.
And it can get even more challenging if you have to gold plate. Gold plating is making changes to the original project plan that can end up increasing the project scope.
When you let the project parameters expand, it can stretch your budget, waste time, and affect the project quality. So, a project manager must manage stakeholders to get the project moving in the right direction.
10. Listening and Being Curious
To be a good project manager, you need to listen actively so that your project is for everyone involved, not only you.
It is hard to be an active listener if you don’t have curiosity skills. It is also hard to be a good project manager without being curious. A curious project manager will probe for more details, ask clarifying questions, and take the time to learn details of the project subject area.
A curious project manager also researches for information, keep up with technology trends, and monitor competition.
Having a good track record in managing complex projects is a top strength of a project manager. But leading a project team to achieve the project goal is one of the greatest strengths of a project manager.
Identifying politics in a project is very important for a project manager because projects often get affected by stakeholders’ political interests. So, you have to be aware of that politics and manage your project without engaging in it.
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