Key skills for project managers

Via Project Management Tips, Melanie Franklin shared the current themes that recruiters are looking for in project manager candidates:

  • Knowledge and understanding of best practice
  • Technical project management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Specialist knowledge in a relevant industry sector
  • certification

The first two points are obvious, they are often called the “hard skills” and are related to the tools, methodologies and techniques of project management.

Interpersonal skills, often called the “soft skills”: since managing projects is all about getting things done through other people, your skills in dealing with people are of immeasurable value.

The third point refers to the technology areas at the core of the project, as software development, chemical processing, or commercial construction. Skills are proficiency in the core technologies, industry knowledge and so on.

In the table below I’ve detailed the skills above and compared with the identified ones from an older survey among successful companies (where hiring qualified people was found to be the single most important success factor in the companies studied) and which are more oriented towards soft skills than hard skills.

from recruiters from top companies
Knowledge and understanding of best practice Experience in project management
How scope is presented and checked and how often.
Requirements gathering
Change management and
managing the impact of those changes
Cost management
Quality management
Risk management
Delivery on time Willingness to do what it takes.
Planning Organizational skills.
Ability to collaborate and cooperate.
Ability to solve problems.
Ability to see the big picture.
Ability to work well with the customer.
Interpersonal skills Excellent communication skills.
Leadership ability.
Valuing of team members.
Positive attitude.
Creation of a positive team/project environment.
Specialist knowledge in a relevant industry sector.

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