Nine Competencies Your Project Manager Needs to Succeed

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Initiatives can be hugely complex, comprised of thousands of cross functional activities to be executed under impossibly tight timeframes, with large budgets at stake. The scene is set for errors, delays, and cost overruns. 

A skilled project manager is critical to success. An experienced project manager knows how to lead the creation of an effective project strategy, build an airtight project plan, and drive daily activities while problem-solving along the way. So what should you look for in a project manager? We’ve identified 9 critical core competencies that we believe to be imperative to the success of a project manager, and in turn, the successful execution of your complex initiatives.

1.  Execution

  • Drives scope development and management
  • Develops and manages project budgets, schedules, and timelines
  • Employs strong organizational skills
  • Incorporates time management principles into the work flow
  • Integrates ongoing risk management trade-offs


2.  Decision Making

  • Collects and structures the available data impacting the project
  • Makes timely decisions based on facts, circumstances, and needs
  • Conducts scenario analysis


3.  Communications

  • Conveys information to all key stakeholders in both written and verbal formats
  • Determines and utilizes the appropriate communication channels
  • Infers meaningful insights from a collection of data
  • Employs active listening
  • Prepares and delivers presentations


4.  Strategy Development

  • Understands the impact of a project directly to and across various functions
  • Understands the impact of a project to the overall business
  • Integrates business goals into the project scope and deliverables
  • Develops metrics to track progress towards goals
  • Understands project and organizational dependencies


5.  Team Management

  • Motivates and inspires the team
  • Leads by example
  • Manages and resolves conflict
  • Builds relationships within and outside the team
  • Delegates appropriately
  • Demonstrates team organization and governance


6.  Business Acumen

  • Understands industry trends and their impact on business
  • Responds to market and business changes that affect the project and business
  • Monitors competition and its impact on the project and business


7.  Technical Competence

  • Understands and integrates appropriate project management tools and processes
  • Applies/obtains the necessary requisite subject matter expertise (SME)


8.  Critical Thinking

  • Determines the validity of project progress
  • Maintains project objectivity
  • Applies ongoing analysis to the project
  • Integrates the project with cross functional objectives


9.  Leadership

  • Takes initiative
  • Mentors team members
  • Effects change and monitors progress
  • Responds in a politically astute manner