The Skills of a Successful Project Manager

By Robin Lines

Project Management is one of those things that seems straightforward, but can quickly turn into a nightmare. A project could overrun, go over-budget, encounter difficulties due to sickness or office politics, and eventually crumble into dust. The Project Manager needs a wide-range of skills, from general leadership ability, to people management, delegation and a knack for quality control. In this article, we’re going to look at the basic role of the Project Manager.

  1. Planning: Whether it’s a birthday party or a company buyout, every project needs a plan. The first duty of the Project Manager is to develop that plan and plan a route from Point A to Point B. However, few projects succeed without a few bumps along the road, so the PM needs to develop a few other plans. What happens if a key team member is off sick? What are the consequences of unforeseen procurement delays? Having an idea of what could go wrong allows you to better react if it does.

  3. Teambuilding and People Management: The larger the project, the more people who need to be involved. The Project Manager needs to make sure the right people are available, motivated and know their responsibilities. When dealing with projects that involve multiple departments, or even third-parties, the PM must ensure that the lines of communication are open. They should assign clear roles and responsibilities and above all establish full accountability. A successful project is the result of collaboration.

  5. Managing Resources and Enforcing Discipline: Whether it be people, materials or finances, the Project Manager is the one who assumes responsibility for the management and allocation of resources. Risk management, inventory, budgets, etc. all fall under the purview of the Project Manager. Keeping costs under control is vital, as overspending can result not only in the project’s failure, but a huge hit to the reputation or even continued viability of the organisation. Every member of the team needs to share the Project Manager’s discipline when it comes to resource management.

  7. Handling Integration/Delivery: What good is a project if the end-user cannot use it? There is nothing to be gained by overhauling your IT systems if the people are not trained to use them. You cannot simply deliver the results of a project to a client and wash your hands of it. The Project Manager needs to have a solid understanding of what they are delivering and how the end-user will benefit from it. Most importantly, the Project Manager needs to understand how to integrate the solution with the user/clients existing set-up to ensure the project has value.

  9. Quality Control: The responsibility for Quality Control also falls on the Project Manager’s shoulders. A sub-par project reflects badly on the team or organisation, and the Project Manager owes it to the team to make sure it’s up to the required standard. The value of the project and the outcome is determined by the quality, so the Project Manager must be prepared not to accept second-best. A firm but fair hand is required for the project’s entire duration, as even the slightest slip in standards runs the risk of a poor outcome.

  11. Learning: The Project Manager needs to be open to learning, both from what works and what does not. Learning from failures is one of the ways we grow as people and leaders. Learning from success helps us to train ourselves to repeat desirable behaviours. Any Project Manager who begins with an attitude that their way is the only way is not only likely to eventually fail, but probably will repeat negative behaviours time and again. The best Project Managers not only educate themselves, but they teach others in the team valuable skills for the future.

At Robin Lines Associates, we’ve developed a practical Project Management training programme that not only imparts the knowledge of the Project Management cycle, but also helps you learn the vital skills to become a successful Project Manager. If you or your organisation is about to undertake a big project, then do not hesitate to get in touch and see how we might be able to help you get it over the line.


Robin Lines

Robin Lines

Professional Services Consultant

I'm a highly experienced, versatile and dynamic training facilitator and business coach, dedicated to assisting leaders in helping their people achieve their potential and realise goals. I also deliver a range of Consultative Selling and Key Account Management programmes, equipping salespeople with the skills, tools and methodologies to help them win and outsell their competition.


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