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Project Management

List Of Project Management Skills – Most Essential

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List of Project Management Skills

So What Is Project Management?

There are too many theories around this term. Let us try to unravel the confusion around this and make it simple. Now whether you are a project manager managing Agile Software Projects or end to end large waterfall kind of projects the fundamentals of project management do not change. In fact we found in our experience that too many first time managers are led to think that Agile Management is a replacement to traditional project management. Agile tends to dilute the essential project management skills if your knowledge is only around agile management. This is a blunder.

PMI defines a project as a temporary endeavor in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.

A project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. So a project team often includes people who don’t usually work together – sometimes from different organizations and across multiple geographies.

The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building or bridge, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market — all are projects.

And all must be expertly managed to deliver the on-time, on-budget results, learning and integration that organizations need.

Project management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

On the other hand Agile Project Management focuses on continuous improvement, scope flexibility, team input, and delivering essential quality products

Here is a view of the definitions in a organization

  • Strategic Plan: 3-5 year view of future.
  • Portfolio: A collection of projects or programs grouped to meet specific strategic business objectives.
  • Program: A group of related projects managed in a coordinated way
    to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. May contain related work outside the scope of individual projects.
  • Project: Atemporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result

Without the essential project management skills there no way you can be successful in delivering software IT projects.

Let us look at what those are. You must master these skills along with your leadership skills to be successful. According to the Project Management Institute.87.7 million project managers will be needed by 2027 and qualified talent is in huge demand. In a similar note Udemy published in a report that project management is one of the top 5 skills in 2018. So you can see how critical this skills is.

Do not expect your organization to spoon-feed you on these topics. Do not wait for that. Invest your time and energy in gaining the essential skills

Triple Constraints – The Iron Triangle

Every project or program is bound by three main constraints

Scope, Schedule, and resources.

This typically is referred to as the “Iron Triangle” of constraints in that changes to one side of the triangle will have impacts on the other two sides. The Project Manager is responsible for balancing constraints effectively to optimize the delivery of project results against the aligned scope of work and the agreement with the sponsor and stakeholders. Any number of things can affect our ability to completely satisfy the triple constraint. A neutral example is the occurrence of natural disasters. They can occur with no warning and knock out resources necessary to complete the project in time, forcing a PM to make hard decisions.

If we know in advance which of the three constraints is truly important and why, then we can ensure we take the right steps to protect that constraint through every phase of the project. To achieve the optimum balance of these constraints a project manager will need to make trade off decisions. Examples of trade offs include reducing product features or the quality of the product/solution in exchange for delivering it faster. It may mean delaying the.schedule of a project to reduce the overall cost.

The Accidental Project Manager

A Project Manager’s life revolves around this triangle. Most of his/her time spent and actions taken spring out of managing these constraints. In the book “The Accidental Project Manager: Surviving the Transition from Techie to Manager [John Wiley & Sons, 2001]” Patricia Ensworth quotes that

“At the beginning of their careers, typically people don’t have a burning desire to become project managers. They start out doing something else—marketing, social work, biochemical engineering—and after acquiring subject matter expertise and leadership skills, they are promoted into the role of project manager. Some accidental project managers accept their new responsibilities enthusiastically, some reluctantly.”

So if you want to deliver successful projects then there are no shortcuts. You must master the skills required to manage projects. Do not remain an accidental project manager !

10 Essential Project Manager Skills

PMBok identifies 10 knowledge areas that you need to master before you can become a project manager. Unless you know what to manage, you will not know how to manage. These areas clearly identify the “What” and “How”. There are 5 process areas to which these 10 knowledge areas will be applicable.

Below chart identifies the matrix and activities you would do under each project phase and each knowledge area

pmbok areas

What Next?

We will be looking into the detail of each of these knowledge areas. But as a project manager you could go a for a certification like CAPM/PMP or get Project Management training. As you are doing all this be sure you find a good mentor in your organization . Someone who has lead complex projects and can help you .

You can get training resources needed for the above. Our team has hand-picked some good resources that you can leverage as you master the project management skills.

If you have specific questions and/or you are  seeking guidance on a management problem or you want to find resources on a certain topic you can write to us at mymentor@globalmanagementmentors.com



The authors are senior managers at startups and product development companies. They come with extensive experience in leadership and management of global engineering teams to deliver high quality software products. Each of them are extremely passionate about these topics . They mentor and train project managers on leadership and management.


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