Project Management Skills Are Becoming More Important to Master in 2019
Project management has always been an invaluable skill in the professional landscape. Whether you are a business owner or a professional working in a specific industry, knowing how to manage projects effectively and efficiently is a competitive advantage you cannot afford to miss.Project management as a skill is about to become more valuable in 2019. As we get closer to the 4th quarter of the year, more companies are expanding their operations. Reports from multiple associations suggest that the upcoming rapid growth is inevitable.
There is also the fact that workflows within businesses are becoming more similar in characteristics to projects. Being able to handle projects meticulously gives businesses the ability to expand without sacrificing output, operational seamlessness, and other advantages.
So, what are the project management skills to master to prepare yourself for the last quarter of the year as well as for 2020? We are going to find the answers in this article.
Planning is an important part of project management. In order to execute projects in an effective and efficient way, a sufficient amount of planning is required. You cannot expect a project to be successful without anticipating the steps that need to be taken to reach that level of success.
Planning involves a number of things, starting with defining and understanding clear objectives. The objectives act as your North Star when planning the rest of the project. With clear objectives in mind, it is easier to define the best ways to achieve those objectives.
At the same time, planning requires you to visualize the tasks that need to be completed, mainly for the purpose of identifying potential issues and creating contingency plans as responses. Data-driven planning is the next part of the equation.
As the name suggests, data-driven planning relies on data and insights to make sure an accurate project plan is formulated. Fewer assumptions are used and data is utilized in a more holistic way. That data could come from past projects and secondary sources.
Task management is just as important as project planning. As mentioned before, a project may have a number of tasks in it. The complexity of a project depends on how the tasks in the project affect each other. Complex projects usually require the completion of specific tasks in rapid order.
Task management isn’t a difficult skill to master. You can start by identifying the right tools to use for managing complex tasks and keeping track of the project. You can find a Kanban board online, customize it to suit your workflow, and use the methodology to manage tasks.
Top tools like Kanbanize let you go a step further than that. These Kanban boards can be fully customized. You can add details to each card and use features like tagging to classify tasks. There are also ways to add dependencies, allowing for better task management.
To supplement the use of a good tool, additional skills such as resource and time management are also needed. When you know how to manage dependencies and allocate resources in an efficient way, dealing with even the most complex set of tasks becomes manageable.
Speaking of organizing resources, the most important – and the most valuable – resource in a project is the team members you work with. No matter how well the project is planned, the contribution of team members is what makes the project successful.
To achieve the project objectives and maintain a high level of efficiency, every team member must fulfill its role correctly. Tasks can be assigned to an individual team member, or you can use the opposite approach and let team members take ownership of their tasks.
Team management has a bigger implication as well. When team members work together in an organized way, efficiency isn’t the only benefit to be gained. You can also strive for under-budget, earlier-than-deadline project completion.
Team management is not as easy as it seems. Among the soft skills you also have to master as a manager are empathy, leadership, and communication. These three skills certainly make life as a team (and project) manager easier.
Keep in mind that businesses will have a lot of projects to run and maintain as part of their expansions, which is why the next valuable skill to master is strategic planning. Strategic planning takes a wider view and organizes projects into a series of activities that amplify each other.
A project with good outcomes must always trigger an even better project, with bigger impacts and improvements in different areas of its execution. By turning this simple premise into a cycle that works within the business, aiming for rapid growth will no longer be a hurdle.
Strategic planning is also a lot more complex since there are external factors to consider. While data-driven planning relies primarily on historical data, strategic planning relies more on forecasts and knowledge.
Strategic planning is a must-have skill for those who want to give their careers a boost in today’s competitive economy. It isn’t just about planning the next move in the expansion, but more about planning the next 10 to 20 moves that lead to the future of the business.
A Growing Trend
These are some of the skills that are – and will be – invaluable as more businesses expand to new markets. It is easy to see how workflows within a business can be divided into smaller projects that are easier to manage. Having the necessary skills to manage projects means preparing for the future challenges of the market.
Project management is a skill that everyone in the organization must-have. It is the leverage that you cannot afford to neglect. When you consider just how competitive the market is today, you will find a series of efficient, well-organized, and well-executed projects make all the difference. Besides, the little efficiencies and small improvements you add to each project will add up to a substantial gain for the business in the long run.