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WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

(OP)
Good day everyone,

I am currently a business analyst and i am working towards the role of a project manager in the next 2-3 years and I want to know what skillset should a very good project manager have?

My question is geared towards the technical side, I don't want to be regular Project Manager but one with good technical knowledge. Can anyone advise me on the necessary steps to take?

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

Business analyst and project manager are rather similar roles - the PM just takes a bit more responsibility for budgets and managing people (including suppliers, stakeholders etc). If you want to be a project manager in 3 years, choose the same technical skills as if you were going to be a business analyst in 3 years. I'd go for a big ticket package like SAP.

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

BNPMike,

I have an article here ( http://www.pmhut.com/the-yin-and-yang-of-project-management-and-business-analysis ) about the difference between Project Managers and Business Analysts(in case you or anyone else is interested in the subject), some people mix the roles together, others tend to think that they're essentially the same.

In fact there are non-subtle differences in the role itself, in the career path, and in the certification path (business analysts having something called babok, which is the equivalent of pmbok).

http://www.pmhut.com

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

The PM should have specific training in Project Management. To me this entails Communication, first and foremost.  Other skills, in roughly descending order, include Leadership, Quality, Problem Solving, Counseling and Conflict Management.  All this in addition to the ordinary PM skills (resource management, change control, risk mgmt, PM software, etc). Each project might also require an additional set of skills, depending on the complexity, implementation timeline, resources, etc involved.  There is no definite answer on a project by project basis.   

-------------------------
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was - Steven Wright

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

Here we go...

Lets first define what a BA and PM is.

BA - is more like a liason between technical and business groups. Functions include - writes functionals specs, business requirement documents, wireframes, uml diagrams, test cases et al.

PM - Manages the project plan, resources, sets meetings, controls JAD sessions, maintains constant channel of communication between application owners and stakeholders etc.

In some companies to cut costs, PM does BA role and vice-versa.

In in true professional role, PM has lot more work and responsibility than a BA, in many cases BA works for a PM.

Now to answer your question:
I personally come for a programming background. Then slowly moved towards writing specs and then eventually moved to project management.
You dont need to know every aspect of technology. If you are going to be a IT Project Manager or a Technical Project Manager, then you need to understand the SDLC process from a technical point of view. A good understanding of your companies application enviroment, some knowledge of databases and some very high level of how different elements/interfaces in your application works.
Other things to know:
MS Project
SDLC from a Project Management prespective.
Methodology followed by your company - Waterfall or Agile..or whatever it might be.
Methods of communication and documention - I would recommend getting a free membership to ProjectConnections.com
You will find lots of good templates and information here.

This should be get to things started.

Now if you are planning for a interview, then just search google for Project Manager interview tips....and you will get plenty of good material.

PMP - may be later...but for now....you just need a transition to a PM role.

Good luck..!!!

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

One of the harder aspects to PM is how to handle all the constant changes that come about during the project. If you're not familiar with change management, this resource page about change management planning will get you up to speed quick on the subject.
 

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

Communications.  Resource management.  Communications.  Negotiating skills. Communications.  Conflict management.   Communications.  Time management.  Communications.

I could go on (this falls under the topic of  communications) describing what a PM does day in and day out but the most important thing is to keep everyone aware of the status of the project, the status of the issues, the status of the schedule, etc.  

Since one of the first things a PM does is determine who the affected parties are (called stakeholders since they have a stake in the outcome even if they don't have a stake in the actual project processes -- so a more appropriate term might be the "universe") and what "skin" they have in the project and, from that, what they need to know, when they need to know it and how it will be communicated to them.
 

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

Like PDQBach said, communication is very important. But the challenge is dealing with people and managing their conflict expectation. In my example, i have a sponsor who just wants the project on time versus a functional responsible who wants requisites impossible to achieve on time. Dealing with this type of conflict of interest is hard and is a challenge for every project manager.

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

To me the best skill would be a change in mindset. Most technical folks transitioning into PM role, stumble not due to lack of communication, leadership and other PM skills, but rather due to their inability to see things in a new/different light.

Assuming you have the PM skills at reasonable levels, you would need to
1. Empathize with the stakeholders/business owners and see the big picture.
2. Check where your project fits in the whole org and the business as a whole (something which you might have skipped as a techie guy).
3. Forgo challenging technical work to your team members.
4. Think more about the team.
5. More importantly you would need to develop sound judgement for decision making (something which cannot be easily developed).
6. Develop your Emotional Quotient (for people skills), Conceptual/Analytical skills and learn to leverage these with your gut during decision making process.
7. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and knowing when and where to apply your strenghts and knowing whom to approach to complement your weaknesses.

All these are soft skills and I bet these are not easy to come by. However the process of acquiring these would make it challenging and enjoyable.


Have fun...
A0C61ZZ
 

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

A project is defined (in contrast to business as usual) as a temporary structure. PMs need to work well within 'arcs' of work - initiation, planning, monitoring, closing.

Some kind of generic pm certification would be handy. The big ones are PMP and PRINCE2. Both cover basic project management principles and procedures (how to plan a project, how to handle issues etc), although PMP is more oriented towards techniques, and PRINCE2 more towards overall project management framework.

You could try this article on the project manager's role: Do we really need a project manager?

Jessica
www.knowledgetrain.co.uk

RE: WHAT IS THE BEST SKILLSET FOR A PROJECT MANAGER TO HAVE?

Well thank goodness no-one said you need to know MS -Project. So many PMs (not the real ones of course) think you're a PM because you know about tools like MS-Project. I've often said that MS-Project no more makes you a PM than MS-Word makes you Shakespeare!

For me as a project managee (right now I'm writing user docs) it's down to the PM communicating with everyone. Make stuff visible publicly- especially the big things like milestones-  and communicate issues to everyone, eg like changes to the dates or scope so that affected people can make their own changes to their own mini-plans so therea re no nasty surprises. Nothing is worse than being kept in the dark, and not just about the 'what' but the 'why' too.

Jim Brown,
Tech writer and training consultant,
Johannesburg,
South Africa.

On Tek-Tips after a few years absence... nice to be back!
My time is GMT+2

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