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It would be difficult to name a profession that requires a larger or more varied skill set than project management. Today’s project managers are expected to have specific industry knowledge, strong communication skills, and top-notch quantitative abilities, just to name a few. With such an expansive list of necessary skills, it’s no wonder that qualified project managers are in such high demand around the globe.

project management skills

Though the list of useful project management skills is nearly endless, certain skills are generally considered to be more important than others. If you’re an experienced PMP, these are the skills you use every day to keep your projects on time and on budget. If you’re an aspiring project manager, or are simply looking for new ways to contribute to the projects you work on, developing these skills will put you on the path to success.

1. Budget management

In order to keep a project on track, a project manager must have a solid grasp of basic accounting principles and must maintain a constant awareness of the project’s budgetary performance. Identifying variances or discrepancies as soon as they arise will help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.

2. Scope management

Project managers must have a thorough understanding of what is and is not in scope at the beginning of every project. When a project’s scope needs to change, be sure to document the change appropriately, create a clear audit trail and communicate the impact on budgets and timelines to all stakeholders.

3. Conflict resolution

The bigger the project and the higher the stakes, the more likely it is that conflicts will arise. Whether the disagreement is between members of the same team, between a vendor and a customer, or between any other groups of stakeholders, a good project manager knows how to defuse tension and find a path forward. Setting expectations and providing transparency throughout the project lifecycle can go far in minimizing conflicts and keeping everything on track.

4. Creating and delivering presentations

Even if you’re a gifted writer and an engaging speaker, delivering an effective presentation is a distinct skill, one that requires practice. Project managers should understand how to use presentation software to get important messages across, especially when delivering in a virtual environment where reading an audience is even more challenging.

5. Time management

Much of a project manager’s job involves determining and communicating how other people will spend their time, but it’s equally important to be aware of how you’re managing your own time. Look for opportunities to become more efficient by delegating responsibilities, multi-tasking, or rearranging your schedule.

6. Negotiation

Discussions about budgets, resource allocation, and timelines can become adversarial and counterproductive if not handled tactfully. Successful project managers know how to find compromises where possible and how to hold a firm line without damaging their workplace relationships.

7. Relationship management

Good project managers make a conscious effort to build trust with customers, vendors, and internal team members. Positive working relationships make it easier to navigate through disputes and other difficult situations, which becomes even more important when the connections are all virtual.

8. Risk management

When something goes wrong on a project, all eyes turn to the project manager. Regardless of the circumstances, everyone wonders whether the manager could have foreseen and prevented the problem. Being able to anticipate issues and develop solutions for them in advance will dramatically improve your chances of success.

9. Maintaining communications

With traditional project management, there’s a fine line between keeping people in the loop and overwhelming your team with a flood of emails and meeting invitations (whether virtual or otherwise). Reducing status meetings and emails while keeping everyone in the loop is now possible with modern online project management software—where all information is accessible from one place.

10. Using technology effectively

Project management software has evolved dramatically in recent years, opening up new possibilities for collaboration, data management, communication and reporting. Using the latest tools will enable you to work more efficiently and maximize your effectiveness in every aspect of a project.

Interested in learning more about how you can lead your projects to success? Check out a product tour of Clarizen’s industry-leading collaborative project management solutions.

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Preview: Gartner’s 6 Practices for Managing Portfolios to Drive Business Value
In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

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In a recent report, Gartner urges CIOs and portfolio managers to assess their organization’s performance against six best practices and develop an action plan to fill any gaps. The report notes that “Integrated portfolio management and governance has an important role, because well-governed I&T portfolios result in superior organization performance, with an increased return on assets of 30%.”

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Gartner’s 6 Practices for Managing Portfolios to Drive Business Value
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Buyer’s guide to project management software