Project management in the contemporary scenario is one of the high in demand career options for those professionals who wish to specialize in the field of project management and work in a deadline driven involving resource limitations, managing people and various challenges. The recruiters today look for project management skills and proven capabilities of an individual in meeting the project goals by setting up systems & processes in place and leading diverse teams. This article describes seven crucial competencies required by the project managers to survive in a global and a competitive business environment.
Every project manager must have the following 7 essential competencies:
- Project Scheduling: Projects are essentially time bound assignments involving strict deadlines, resource limitations and extensive coordination with the key stakeholders for realizing the project goals. The first stage in the project management life cycle is implementation of a project plan, defining project schedules for ensuring completion of predefined tasks within the stipulated timelines and achievement of desired outcomes. Monitoring and reviewing project performance during different stages is very crucial so that corrective actions may be implemented to drive excellence project management activities.
- Effective Allocation of Resources: This is one of the most important competencies and very closely connected with project scheduling skills. The project managers as efficient resource allocators are responsible for optimizing resources by ensuring effective allocation of tasks to the right kind of people having the requisite knowledge and expertise for completing the assigned responsibilities. This stage involves delegation of responsibilities, accurate assessment of the challenges and opportunities involved the entire process of project handling and providing training or guidance to the project teams for completing the assignment as per the expectations.
- Risk Management: Project Managers should be efficient risk managers and should be skilled in implementing effective risk mitigation strategies for dealing with uncertainties or possible project failures. Risk management strategies aim at building strong predictive mechanisms, anticipating the possible areas of project blockages and implementation of action plans for minimizing the risk factors.
- Budgeting: This is one of the most important skills which project managers must have, as successful execution of projects normally involve heavy resource investment as well as money. Budgetary planning and execution of projects within the stipulated budgets is one of the main responsibilities of the project managers. Their performance is assessed on the basis of their contributions towards achievement of project outcomes within the budgetary constraints and lowest possible costs.
- Team Management: Project Managers are essentially the Team Leaders and Mentors who are entirely responsible for managing the entire gamut of people management activities, motivating and driving high performance teams for achieving superior benchmarks in the projects. They should be a master in reshuffling the teams as per the requirements of the projects, providing training to the team members on both technical and soft skills and play a vital role in pioneering change initiatives for ensuring smooth project transitions and completion of the projects within the deadlines. The project managers are involved in the areas of recruitment & selection activities, mentoring & coaching the team members for boosting their morale and productivity, performance evaluation and review and creating a culture of high performance for the teams.
- Change Management: Project Managers act as champions of change and are skilled at assessing the challenges in the competitive business environment as well as implementing an integrated change management programme involving the support of the employees, senior management and also the other stakeholders. They should be good at adapting with the changing circumstances and be capable enough in addressing the complications arising due to the change.
- Issues Management: Successful project managers are expert in rectifying complex issues by identifying the root cause of the problems, fixing the issues with effective solutions and implementing remedial plan of action for avoiding future occurrence of such issues with the support of the teams.