Have you ever felt like your company is struggling to meet deadlines? Or maybe with each project, you spend more resources completing tasks than building revenue? You aren’t alone, a Gallup study showed that only 2.5% of companies finish 100% of their projects.
Project management is the process for achieving pre-defined goals and objectives that ultimately add value to an organization’s bottom line. Business teams, through a solid commitment to meeting these goals and objectives, can leverage certain key skills to ensure their projects are a success.
But what are these skills exactly and how can project teams better leverage them to produce expected outcomes including increased revenue?
Here are the top 10 project management skills that can help today’s business teams lead the way to project management success.
#1 Effective Communication
Have you ever had a meeting that could have been an email? When a team isn’t communicating effectively, you either end up wasting time trying to figure out your task list or you waste time having to backtrack and redo projects.
This is where the importance of effective communication comes into play. Clear, concise communication supports a project from beginning to end. For instance, setting clear expectations for what is trying to be accomplished, why it is important, and how it will get done is one of the key ways to ensure a project stays on track.
It is estimated that project managers spend as much as 90% of their time communicating with their teams. The best way to make sure communication is effective is to create clear expectations along the way. Need
#2 Shared Vision
A shared vision is different than a mission statement. While a mission is the why, a vision is what the company is aspiring towards. When it comes to buy-in from stakeholders—whether executives, project sponsors, customers, end users or the actual project team, a shared vision is a must. When everyone involved understands the project’s vision and its purpose, the likelihood of the project’s success greatly increases.
Shared visions are especially important in the nonprofit world, like during fundraising campaigns or appealing to donor groups. If every team member knows the vision, they can clearly define the messaging, and ace the “elevator pitch” when they are at a networking event.
#3 Understanding Change Management
The critical skill of understanding change management, when project tasks may need to change direction, helps to better prepare teams when unexpected instances arise. During the course of a project, directions can take a detour in an instant.
This means that project teams must adapt quickly, including making swift decisions, to keep the project on target. Having the adaptability, agility and wherewithal to withstand these sudden changes can guarantee projects do not miss important opportunities to succeed. For example, in 2017 many entertainment companies like Amazon had to restructure their leadership while maintaining ongoing projects in development including a mass expansion play into broad audience markets.
#4 Cultural Awareness
The culture of an organization involves the shared values and common behaviors of the company’s employees throughout the entire organization. In other words, these are the beliefs, expectations and social norms of the group as a whole—characteristics that can weigh heavily on the final outcome of any project.
For instance, some employees may be in support of new projects if they view the project as aligning with the existing culture. On the other hand, there could be push back from others who feel the project will negatively impact their cultural norms. This could have a huge influence on how collaborative the project environment will be.
#5 Recognizing Talent
The ability to recognize the right people for various project tasks is an important component of a successful project. This means that project teams should understand the significance of relying on the subject matter experts (SMEs) throughout the various programs within the organization.
These are the people who possess an in depth understanding of the products and services being offered as well as the inner workings of specific work groups and even entire departments. Selecting the right people with the right talents and sufficient program knowledge is an investment in productivity that can lead to the best outcomes for the project. After all, Apple needed both the vision of Steve Jobs with the technical talent of Steve Wozniak to become a true company.
#6 Utilizing Modern Technology
Today, more so than ever, innovative technology and project management go hand-in-hand. From providing critical platforms for communication, to managing teams, to creating an environment where information sharing is a top priority, the best technology is a valuable asset that contributes to the overall health of the project.
Using a project management tool, like Gryffin, can help organize emails into tasks, set clear deadlines on tasks, and provide channels for discussion. The best part is modern technology allows teams to expand their reach–from the boardroom to the remote employee.
#7 Risk Management
Risk can impact any part of the project—from the budget, to stakeholders, to the overall quality delivered by business teams. And all projects are subject to some level of risk and uncertainty. This is why savvy project teams should be prepared for and anticipate unexpected events to avoid a crisis situation.
Skilled project management teams who take a proactive approach to risk management often fair better than their counterparts who do not understand the significance of handling and resolving such risks in advance. For example, budget is a big concern for businesses that want to make sure their spending has maximum ROI.
#8 Enforcing Cost Controls
Tied closely to risk management is the skill of controlling costs. According to the Project Management Institute, cost is a key performance indicator for projects and having the financial acumen necessary to keep a project’s budget under control is a critical skill that is directly related to the overall profitability of the entire endeavor.
To enforce cost controls, specific procedures should be set in place to ensure overspending does not occur. For example, monitoring the budget, considering unexpected expenses, and consistently comparing forecasts to actual costs are all important activities that can keep costs down and profits high throughout the life cycle of the project.
#9 Quality Control
Another important skill for business teams to master is focus on quality control. Quality control underpins effective project management because it ensures the expectations of all stakeholders are met. It is important that everyone is satisfied with the end results, but in order to get there meticulous planning, controlling and monitoring of all project activities must be done to keep the project on schedule, under budget and within its original scope.
Teams can master this skill by ensuring the products or services provided by the project during each phase actually match the quality requirements that were originally planned for from the onset of the project. If you have the budget, having a department just for quality control can save time and deliver a better product.
#10 Documenting Lessons Learned
Something go wrong? Documenting lessons learned provides an opportunity for everyone to understand what went well during the project versus what could have been done better. Understanding the details of a project’s performance and outcomes can help firms improve their processes and ultimately achieve improved financial outcomes. This will ensure future teams effectively manage and deliver projects that generate ample revenue, no matter the project’s complexity or setbacks.
Having the ability to recognize and properly leverage project management skills is one of the most strategic ways of guaranteeing organizational goals and objectives are met—including the company’s anticipated goals for revenue. Project teams who have the foresight to effectively work together while leveraging these crucial skills will ultimately lead their organizations to success.