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Skills every project manager needs

Posted: 4 Jun 2019

Skills every project manager needs

The most effective project managers use technical, management and soft skills to deliver projects on time, on budget and within scope.

For IT professionals, project management is an interesting and rewarding specialism with excellent opportunities for career progression. While technical knowledge and experience are an advantage when applying for project management roles, management skills and personal characteristics are also very important.

Technical knowledge

Candidates sometimes ask whether they will be required to use technical skills in a project management role, particularly if they have project management qualifications. Generally, technical expertise is an advantage as it allows you to conceptualise projects, understand how they fit into an organisation’s IT architecture, review project deliverables and know the right questions to ask when challenging teams, suppliers and stakeholders involved in the project. If a project fails to keep on track, having technical knowledge and experience helps diagnose the root cause of problems and assess the merits of potential solutions.

Management skills

While technical knowledge is an advantage, it is important not to get bogged down in technical detail to the detriment of the big picture. At a practical level, on small projects, project managers are sometimes involved in technical work; however, on larger projects, PM is usually a separate role. Good leadership and communication skills are very important. These include:

  • Planning: The project manager defines the scope, goals and deliverables of the project and creates the project management plan.
  • Organising: The project manager must be able to prioritise tasks and ensure that processes run smoothly and on time.
  • Budgeting: The project manager must ensure that the project stays within budget, monitoring costs and ensuring that the project achieves the required return on investment.
  • Communication: Interaction with different teams and stakeholders means that the project manager must have good communication and be capable of translating complex technical issues into plain English. Influencing and negotiation skills are also very important as the project manager must be able to resolve differences and bring all stakeholders along as the project progresses.
  • Leadership: The project manager must be able to motivate the project team, maintaining focus in order to achieve results on time.
  • Business savvy: The project manager needs to understand how the project benefits the organisation so as to be able to maximise the return on investment.
  • Problem solving: Project managers need to be able to recognise problems promptly, define the issue, determine the cause, identify solutions and choose the best course of action to keep the project on track.
  • Accountability: As the driving force behind the project, the project manager must embrace accountability. Setting goals and tracking progress are the key to keeping projects and project teams on track.
  • Decision-making: At every stage of a project, decisions are needed. The project manager must be able to make timely decisions based on accurate information and assumptions. Technical knowledge and experience can be helpful in this respect.

Personal characteristics

Project managers need to be strongly goal oriented with the confidence and drive to bring their teams with them and ensure that projects are delivered on time. Individuals who combine these personal qualities with the technical and management skills outlined above, will find good opportunities across many different business sectors.

If you’re looking for a new job as a Project Manager in Ireland, our expert consultants can help you find suitable opportunities. Check out what candidates day about Eolas Recruitment or contact us for more information.

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