10 Essential Project Management Skills

1. Leadership

We have to start with the big daddy of them all – leadership. It’s a bit of a slippery skill in that some believe you’re born with leadership skills and that they can’t be taught. But we think everyone has the potential to learn how to apply proven leadership skills and techniques. After all, what’s the alternative? As a project manager you’re responsible not only for seeing the project through to a successful completion, but you’re leading a team to achieve that goal. This requires you to motivate and mediate when necessary. Remember that project leadership comes in different styles, one of which will suit your personality. It’s more than managing tasks; it’s managing people.

2. Communication

Communications really go hand-in-glove with leadership. You can’t be an effective leader if you’re not able to articulate what it is you need your team to do. But you’re not only going to be communicating with your team, you’ll need to have clear communications with everyone associated with the project, from vendors and contractors to stakeholders and customers. Whether that’s through reporting tools or fostering collaboration with chat, file sharing, and other means to tag discussions at the task level, you’re going to need both systems in place to facilitate communications. These tools also help connect people one-to-one and in group settings, such as meetings and presentations.

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What is a Work Breakdown Structure?

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is often seen as the foundation of the project. Why is this so? This is because the Work Breakdown Structure reflects the entire scope baseline of the project, such that deliverable not incorporated into the WBS will not be part of the project.

What then is the WBS?

The WBS is a deliverable-oriented, functional decomposition of the project scope of work into hierarchically grouped work elements. The WBS shows the breakdown of work components (deliverable) into hierarchical levels resembling an organisational chart, but don’t be confused; it is NOT an organisational chart.

It serves a much different function from an organisational chart.

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