The best project managers are skilled in the areas of strategic thinking, risk management, and communication. While technical expertise is a must, so are people skills and the ability to facilitate collaboration. Whether team members are from internal IT staffing or an outside staffing agency, connecting with IT staff in terms of technical knowledge and at the human level is key to effective collaboration.
While you may already excel in some areas, the best project managers are always seeking to improve and enhance their skillsets. The following are ten personal and professional strengths that top project managers have:
1. Good Judgment and Prioritization Abilities
Project managers are continually making decisions in matters large and small. Prioritizing tasks for self and others is a major component of their job. Project scope, scheduling and budget all must be considered. Progress must be effectively managed and tracked every step of the way. The best project managers can make key decisions at the moment, using their instincts while also drawing from experience.
2. Effective, Efficient Communication Skills
Communication is crucial to successful relationships and the effectiveness of teams working for a common goal. However, what sets an effective project manager apart from the rest is their ability to communicate in a focused and results-oriented manner. They don’t hold an hour-long meeting to convey what could be sent in an email. They naturally ask the right questions while also cultivating an awareness of the different personality types in their group. They learn to tailor their messages and agenda accordingly to staff and stakeholders alike.
3. Empowers Individuals on the Team
Staff empowerment is a highly critical skill of effective project managers. They should foster expression, creativity, freedom, and autonomy in team members whenever possible. Whether the IT staffing for the project is comprised of in-house employees or brought in from a staffing agency, allowing individual skills to shine forth enhances the strength and effectiveness of the group. When team members feel respected, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
4. The Ability to Strategize
While being detail oriented is key to a project manager's success, they should also be able to step back and see the bigger picture. Project managers should be versed and immersed in all the details and aspects of the project, from the technical to financial to administrative considerations. However, they should also be able to see all of the elements comprehensively and plan appropriate action toward the project goal.
5. An Expert in the Project’s Main Focus
Subject matter expertise is another important consideration in project manager success. While team members are chosen for their ability to specialize in certain areas, the project manager should have a comprehensive awareness of the whole and where the project is ultimately headed. This allows project managers to pivot as needed and be flexible throughout the management process.
6. The Ability to Empathize with Team Members
There is a primary need for technical acumen in IT project management. However, this should be balanced out with the human ability to empathize with what each team member must handle. Project managers should be able to see situations from others’ point of view when considering expectations, time management, logistics and all other aspects of a project.
7. Risk Management Insights
With technology changing so rapidly, the level of uncertainty in the IT world has risen as well. While this is an exciting time of growth and evolution, there is also an increased need for risk management. While managing details is important, being able to roll with the changes is also vital. Whether using scrum or waterfall, project managers should stay agile and active in their mindset. Today’s IT project manager must be as much a leader as a coordinator.
8. Stays Ahead of the Curve
With so much technological change occurring at such a rapid rate, staying abreast of the changes is more crucial than ever. It’s extremely important that project managers are aware of the trends and innovations affecting their industry. Learning the latest software and technologies is crucial. Project managers should also become adept at bridging the gap between the programmers and those who are not as technical.
9. A Strong Business Sense
The most well rounded and effective project managers also bring a developed sense of business acumen into their role. This helps them to comprehend the value of their projects as well as all of its components. Becoming versed in the language of initiatives, earnings and executive sponsors enhances their leadership role and makes project managers even more valuable and effective.
10. The Ability to Manage Expectations
It’s also important for project managers to address the expectations of executives and stakeholders as a project unfolds. Juggling the balance of a project’s scope, budget and timeline is a constant concern, and the ability to communicate with upper management and clients is crucial to keeping everyone on the same page and pleased with the outcome.
Project managers must be strategic, tech-savvy and detail-oriented, but they must also have solid people skills and an ability to see the big picture. Whether your team members come from internal IT staffing or an outside staffing agency, a strong connection with both project stakeholders and IT staff is foundational to success. A balance of industry savvy, prioritization and relationship management is key. If your goal is to be an elite project manager, strive for mastery in these ten important areas.
If you require expert IT staffing for your enterprise, we can help. ICS is an experienced, trusted staffing agency for a range of business roles. Contact us for more information.