As a project manager, I was entirely responsible for managing work through the application of skills, knowledge, tools as well as crucial techniques with respect to project activities which were essential for me and which helped me in meeting the project needs. Therefore, the PMI definition of project management is communicating succinctly the main idea that my work as a project manager demands that I possess a varied number of competencies, one of which is skills. It is true that I ought to be knowledgeable. I had the most appropriate tools, but more importantly, I was in a position to apply the right techniques particularly to the project at hand. Of importance to note is that having the knowledge of project management theory without the relevant skills on how to apply what I know is pretty useless. At the same time, having the right techniques as well as skills with necessarily having the right skills of putting them into good use meaningless (Gillard, S., 2009). Therefore, in an effort to becoming a good project manager, I had to hone my project management skills where experience, theory as well as knowledge of the proper application was able to come together in one happy family.
If there is anything that I have learned from years of leading projects, it is that good leadership is an important skill for being a great project manager. My leadership role dictates that I be in a position to lead and manage teams. With respect to the consulting project team, my role was to set the vision, motivate the team, serve them, coach them and more importantly inspired them. As a project manager, it was incumbent upon me to always lead from both operational as well as strategic perspective (El-Sabaa, 2001). I was always communicating the vision and at the same time, sought to get the team buy-in. Resolving conflict was part of what I did in this consulting project team. I was able to set goals and subsequently evaluate the project performance and ultimately made sure that my team members had the money, relevant tools, space just to mention but a few which they required in getting things done.
Fundamentally, I was incognizant of the fact that being a leader, is not all about being able to create the feel-good vibe, particularly for my team. For this project, it entailed enforcing process and also keeping every single member of the consulting project team in line as well. Whereas it was paramount to get everyone’s buy-in, as a consulting project manager I was aware that I had the final call regarding what my team was working on next, and also had the last responsibility particularly in the event that the project realized its goals or failed (Benator, et al., 2003). Jane Callahan cautions that even though the whole team is up to speed, it is important to keep in mind that the project manager remains in the lead, implying that as consulting project manager, I had to do whatever it took with a view of getting the project done, even if it meant going outside of what I had been assigned to do.
It is important to point out that one of the vital skills for project management is having the ability to communicate effectively, which encompasses, being able to understand and being able to be understood by everyone in the project. Splendid communication is basically the crux of any given relationship thus, the efficiency of a project manager’s communication has a great effect not only on the project team but also the stakeholders as well as clients. With respect to consulting project team, I wish to mention that good communication got me continuously realigned and if I was doing it often as it was the case here, then the success was apparent since it was not possible to deviate further from where the project needed to be in order to realize any meaningful success (Hwang, et al., 2013). As a project manager, particularly with this consulting project team, I understood that communication could be efficient unless my team members understood precisely what I attempted to bring to their attention. With this in mind, I was always in communication with them with an aim of making sure that every single member of my consulting project tea member was on the same page and this one helped me to prevent uncomfortable conversations in future.
With regards to our clients, interpersonal skills, as well as communication, are extremely crucial for successful project stakeholder management, in the sense that people are largely aware of what is going on, in that they are not surprised in the end when everything else is out. Meaning that as a consulting project manager, it was important for me to take very seriously my responsibility in conveying the project mission, goals, vision as well as issues and subsequently produced distinct status reports and project presentations. From the perspective of the clients, communication of the project details, especially in writing as well as the periodic status report, was very important in the sense that it helped me in reinforcing the message and also assisted in building the rapport.
Consequently, it is worth mentioning that, effective communication is not an event and it does not just happen. In this case, it began by putting in the effort as well as time which was needed in getting to learn and know my team well and coming up with the best communication plan which seemed to connect with a variety of personality types.
Elizabeth Harrin, Project Management Perspective argues that scheduling project is very much important with regards to project management skills and perhaps one that a substantial number of managers do not seem to pay much attention to (Fisher, 2011). It beats logic that a project manager can be without a substantive plan. Essentially, my ability to organize different tasks in the right manner with an aim of hitting the right results at the most opportune time was a huge part of my specific job as a project manager, particularly with this consulting project team. It was extremely important for me to give the schedules the serious attention it badly required along with it, and I monitored the progress specifically as the consulting project team was moving forward and as that happened, I was obligated to make tweaks in making sure that everything else was able to stay on track.
In relation to the consulting project team, proper and adequate planning means everything ranging from meta through to macro. The obvious large scale which I needed to plan and get right especially in creating great meeting plans, estimates, statements of work as well as timelines, briefs, resource plans and to the more mundane, that is, being able to plan out my day, who I was to talk to first and also how I intended to make time in a bid to keep my status documents up to date. Planning with respect to consulting project team revolved around establishing ways of doing everything that I needed to do as effectively as possible. The extent with which I was able to plan effectively had the tendency of directly affecting the ability of the consulting project team to be successful. Irrespective of how good I was as a manager at executing, if I was not in a position to properly plan a project, then it could have meant that consulting project could not have succeeded.
As a project manager for the consulting project team, an enormous part of my job was to determine and also communicate how my team members would be spending their time. However, it was equally important to know how I was particularly managing my own time. There could have been a number of good things I was doing in line with this project, but as a consulting project manager, I was incognizant of the fact that limited things fell into the category of “best” hence, these limited things are particularly what needed to be considered first every other day. As such, knowing when to exactly say “no” is an important project management skill (El-Sabaa, 2001). As a consulting project manager, I respected my teammate’s time. In the course of our project, I was able to read the body language of people in the room because understood that it was extremely paramount in keeping me on course. Additionally, I constantly sought for opportunities within which I could delegate some duties, rearrange my schedule or multitask as and when it was necessary.
As a project manager, I was aware that project sponsors, in particular, do not like surprises. And as such, good risk management is a brilliant way of averting surprises, particularly the nasty ones. Often times, risks are never urgent, implying that a number of project managers sometimes fail either by omission or commission in considering risks as seriously as they ought to. In relation to the consulting project, I had the possibility of staying on top of my project by way of controlling risk and actively reduced it as far as I possibly could.
Benator, B. and Thumann, A., 2003. Project Management &Leadership Skills for Engineering & Construction Projects. Fairmont Press.
El-Sabaa, S., 2001. The skills and career path of an effective project manager. International journal of project management, 19(1), pp.1-7.
Fisher, E., 2011. What practitioners consider to be the skills and behaviours of an effective people project manager. International journal of project management, 29(8), pp.994-1002.
Gillard, S., 2009. Soft skills and technical expertise of effective project managers. Issues in informing science & information technology, 6.
Hwang, B.G. and Ng, W.J., 2013. Project management knowledge and skills for green construction: Overcoming challenges. International Journal of Project Management, 31(2), pp.272-284.