5 Key Project Management Skills

I encountered an article that reviewed five often overlooked skills needed to excel in project management.  It was written by Wayne Brantley who is the managing director of Villanova’s project management training and PMP certification prep courses.  The five skills he mentioned that are crucial to project management were:

  1. Public speaking and effective verbal communication
  2. Writing and electronic communication intelligence
  3. Networking
  4. Decisive Leadership
  5. Research

As our group projects kicked off yesterday I found this article to provide key insights into how we can lead our group to have a successful fund raiser.  Three of the skills above really resonated with me as being important for our group projects.  I believe step two, writing and electronic communication intelligence, will be integral in our group successes as many of us have busy work and life schedules.  It will be integral to effectively communicate with each other and with the vendors we will be working with to make the fund raiser is a success.


Also, step four decisive leadership will be important as well.  As we have short deadlines to make sure this fund raiser is a success we will need to be decisive in our decision making.  We must avoid getting lost in the details and losing focus of what the essentials are.  With a short deadline it will be integral to make sure our plans are thought out in advance and that we do not allow ourselves to be sidetracked by insignificant obstacles or derailments.  Decisive thinking and decisions will need to be made as we encounter obstacles and challenges along the way.


Also step five which was research really resonated with me as well.  As this is not the first time a fund raiser is being attempted it will be important to do the proper planning and research to make sure that we do not fall into common traps or pitfalls of leading a project fund raiser for charity.  There is a lot of valuable research out there that can assist many of us in planning our fund raiser.  Whether it is key contacts, common pitfalls, or project planning resources, the key will be to do the proper research to hopefully make each of our projects a success.



7 thoughts on “5 Key Project Management Skills

  1. These are absolutely important traits that a project manager must excel to execute a project sucessfully. I would like to add one more skill which I think is critical in a successful project manager- diplomacy or negotiation.

    As soon as you bring a group of people together to get a task accomplished, you will most certainly encounter different ideas and ways of getting things accomplished by different individuals. This brings diversity to solve problems but a PM with poor negotiation skills will get bogged down by the divergent implementation ideas.

    Project managers need to master the art of diplomacy and negotiation to ensure that the team members all agree on the solution approach and they are all vested in a successful outcome of the project.

  2. Decisive leadership is extremely important. If decisions are not made, the best planned project still will not meet its deadlines. I have been on teams with leaders who trust their team and their recommendations, and those who cannot make decisions without much discussion and over thinking. A strong leader who trusts their instincts and the data provided to them to make decisions can change the perception of a department almost immediately.

  3. I think the most important characteristic listed is decisive leadership. When formulating our project plans for this course, it was very easy to get bogged down in the details. Strong leadership (and simple, not too complex leadership) is essential. I was surprise to see research on this list. After reading this author’s article, I think he is really talking about creativity and ingenuity. Also, when discussing electronic communication intelligence, the author is talking about maintaining a calm focus during a flurry of challenging emails. This is steady leadership.

  4. As stated in the other comments I think leadership is the most important aspect of project management. You need a person that can keep the team focused and on tasked. A leader has to be able to pull thing together wothout being a dictator. To go along with the skill of being a leader, I feel you need two of the other skils listed (communication). I know their is the saying that leaders lead by example, but I feel in project management if you cannot communicate to your team, there could be issues. If a leader cannot communicate their ideas clearly, the team will not be eficient and their will be more chances for the task to slip through the cracks.

  5. I agree with all the comments that decisive leadership is the most important trait to a project manager. If the PM is waffling back and forth, seeming indecisive on key issues, that is going to trickle down through the whole project team and leave them confused and frustrated.

    I wanted to add two more traits to the list: organization and prioritization. The PM has such a wide variety of tasks that they must complete it is easy to lose track of, and someone who doesn’t know how to organize themselves will struggle mightily in this role. Also with regard to the number of tasks, it is essential for the PM to be able to prioritize their time and tackle the most critical activities to the project first so as not to delay the project completion.

    One thing I wonder about on this list is the importance of networking. Of course it is important, but once the PM becomes involved the project is normally already won, and most of their dealings are with internal contacts. While important, I’m not sure I would agree that it is one of the 5 most crucial traits for a PM.

  6. I think this is a great list of very important traits when it comes to project management. I very much agree with the additions of organization and prioritization to the list. It seems all of these characteristics complement each other and a great project manager really needs to have a blend of them all.

    In regards to the comments on networking, I think networking becomes important in a couple of scenarios – 1) It is important a project manager be well networked in their company in order to help come up with creative solutions to problems that arise or seek help from those who many not be on the core project team. I’ve seen this skill be critical to the success and forward movement of some teams. 2) I think it’s important for the PM to be well networked within their own team to have some relationship outside of the business at hand. This will help the team be more cohesive and comfortable bringing difficult issues to the surface early.

  7. I think the first key skill, public speaking and effective verbal communication, is very important. In a project, from time to time, a project manager has to report project status in a short period of time. If the PM lacks public speaking or effective verbal communication skill, then no matter how far the project is on the progress chart, it wouldn’t impress the senior management. To request for additional resources, to extend the deadline if necessary etc requires effective verbal communication. If the PM can’t communicate those needs, then those can be forgotten.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *