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Project management skills: where to apply?

If your career has brought you to the project management area and you feel that you know only that? And you feel that you want to step back from project management? What are the skills that you can use in other areas that would be valuable?

Skills that project manager has

Before we deep dive to the project management skill set, lets take a look what is the difference between coordination and management. When you are looking from the side, it may look that majority of the activities that project manager is doing in the project is actually coordination, by:

  • organising meetings, calls, gatherings, etc.

  • preparing meeting minutes

  • collecting sign offs from the stakeholders

  • tracking project plan and task list

  • asking various outputs from different project counterparties

  • following the processes and instructions

  • filling out necessary templates with the team

  • reporting project progress to the project steering group

And many other things that look like no brainier, if there are all instructions in place. How difficult is to follow the instructions? Right?

Meanwhile there are so many things that project manager is doing while running the project, which separates him from coordinator and making him a manager, like:

  • Stakeholder management: there is no instruction how to work with each and every stakeholder. Yes, there is a worldwide practice described, but there is no instruction in place of how to deal with every individual, who have different values, needs, expectations, ways of working, points of view of how things should be done, moods, stress levels, influence on the decisions, etc. Being a project manager you need to know how to identify all those different individual angles, so that you would get the necessary support for the project. This requires not only experience, but as well personal skills, like: empathy, charisma, analytical mind.

  • Team management: project teams normally are setup from people who come from different departments, who have different KPIs and priorities set by their line managers and project manager is in charge to make this team work, though he has no legal power to give them orders. Good project manager listens and identifies project team members needs and desires that motivate them to act according to the project plan.

  • Communication: if you are running a project that has an extensive impact to the organisation, well prepared and though through communication plan is a must. Only that project manager that understands his stakeholders and the team, will be able to prepare proper communication plan, that reaches the necessary results.

  • Risk management: seeing all the unknowns. If person has been working as project manager that deep dives to the project scope and environment where it will be running, he is capable to foresee very different situations that project may encounter throughout the implementation period.

Final thoughts

A good project manager, who was managing projects, can fly very high in the career starting from different expert positions and ending with managerial roles. This is not only because of the experience formed via different projects, but because of the skills that can be developed through out the time in stakeholder and team management, communication. Obviously there are certain personal skills that every project manager should have to be successful in the field, like: empathy, charisma, analytical mind. To summarise skills used in project management are useful and forms foundation for many other positions.


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