Project managers handle all kinds of projects, from construction to pharmaceuticals. Whatever industry you work in, there are certain qualities that are essential to thriving in a project management role.
From an analytical mindset to keeping calm, here are the top five qualities for effective project management.
Possibly the most important quality for effective project management is being able to form a powerful strategy. Of course, this actually involves a few different skills, including analytical ability, innovation, and foresight.
You will need to be able to analyse the current situation, come up with measures to achieve the end goal/s, and then plan their implementation.
A good strategy aims to get results in a way that is realistic within the wider context of the organisation. This involves coming up with ideas that solve problems while avoiding new ones. Being able to predict obstacles means you can plan around them, choosing the most efficient, effective course of action.
There are so many strands to any project, keeping documentation about each in order is crucial. You need to be able to know what to refer to when a specific problem or question arises, and hunting around for information could slow the project down.
But it’s not just about having your filing cabinets in check; a great project manager has a clear overview of the process in mind at all times, as well as an understanding of how each task and team member contributes to the whole.
Being highly organised makes coordinating your team effectively so much simpler, allowing the project to run more smoothly.
Issues arise in any project, whether it’s a broken piece of equipment or a slow supplier. Problems require solutions, and there is often more than one potential route to go down.
A good project manager must have the insight and confidence to decide quickly but carefully on the best course of action. Doubting your own judgement and ignoring important decisions can lead to messy blockages in the project pipeline.
You might have a crystal clear idea of the project in your own head, but it won’t go anywhere unless you can communicate this to the whole team. Your notion of each task and each team member’s role should be as transparent to them as it is to you.
You will need to be able to communicate more than just the practical details of your project, though. Explaining your ideas to senior managers and stakeholders means being able to sell the benefits of your plan, and give a clear overview of the logistics.
Good communication also helps create the right perception of you from your team’s perspective. Effective project management required leaders to command authority, while keeping up morale. Display confidence in your own ideas, while listening intently to those of others. If you can, be a leader and a friend at the same time.
No matter how good your strategy, organisation, decisiveness and communication, parts of the project will be stressful. When you are tasked with meeting hefty goals within limited time, obstacles cropping up can make you want to scream.
However, it’s important to maintain composure both inwards and outwards. The best project managers can turn pressure into productivity, using the adrenalin of a stressful situation to address it dynamically.
It’s especially important to provide a calm role model for your team, avoiding panic and keeping the mood stable.
Great project managers will have most of these qualities naturally. The right training and qualifications, though, can build on your innate abilities, leading to the most effective project management.