This could very easily be a four-word blog post, because the two secrets to effective project management are ... drumroll, please ... leadership skills and communication skills.
So, now that I’ve given my secrets away right up front, I hope you’ll stay tuned for the rest of the post!
I’ve written a lot about leadership skills in this very blog. In this post, I’m going to focus on communication skills as they pertain to project management.
There are various software programs that can make the implementation of a complex project much more manageable and trackable. But in the end, project management is 90% communication.
- The project manager heads a team or teams (each with their own ideas and ways of working)
- The project manager reports to management and/or clients (with their own pressures and agendas)
- The project manager deals with outside vendors and consultants (each with their own ways of doing things and level of expertise).
Of course, this barely scratches the surface of a project manager’s challenges, but if you don't have the communication chops, this whole thing can quickly unravel into a snarl of biblical proportions.
As a project manager, you’ll have to report continually to your bosses or clients. They will have many expectations for the project -- some realistic, some not. And there will be expectations that once were realistic, but for whatever reason no longer are. Whether your project is proceeding like a dream come true or a Nightmare on Elm Street, put those communication skills to good use.
Five Tips for Top Communication
1. Be proactive with your communications, never passive.
2. Do what you say you’ll do to build trust and respect.
3. Clearly identify and explain issues.
4. Work diligently to fix problems and resolve conflicts.
5. Ask questions to make sure you understand.