Hard and Soft Skills of a Project Manager
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Project Management Skills
Like many project managers around Australia, you may be looking to improve your management skills. However, project managers are continually faced with the dilemma of what type of skills are most beneficial, hard or soft.
What are ‘Soft Skills’?
Technically, soft skills are generally associated with a person’s emotional intelligence, their personality traits, social actions, communication, spoken language, habits, friendliness and other attributes which effect and characterise relationships with others, both internally in the organisation and externally, like clients.
Soft skills are important, particular in roles with a heavy ‘people-focus’ and compliment the hard skills required to perform a job. They also contribute to the success of an organisation.
Soft skills can mostly be attributed to personality and relationships and include:
• Commitment to success
• Emotional literacy
• Emotional intelligence
• Life skills
• Commitment to excellence
• Communication generally and interpersonal communication skills
• Social intelligence
• Social skills
What are ‘Hard Skills’?
On the other hand, hard skills are defined as technical skills and are not interpersonal or relationship associated. Hard skills are focused on an individual’s skills set and ability to perform a certain job, including the tasks and activities associated with it.
Project Managers are generally required to have the following hard skills:
• Ability to create a team culture within the project itself.
• Manage all processes and procedures, particularly those relating to the Change Control, Documentation and Risk and Issues Management.
• Ability to prepare a structure plan, including product structure and work structure (including all activities to be completed and the breakdown of when these will be completed. The budget should also be incorporated into the specific actives and monitored accordingly).
• Create and prepare achievement reports.
• Implement relevant project management guidelines to assist team (this may be manual or though specific project management software).
• Be in control of the budget to ensure the project is on schedule and will be completed within the monetary limits.
• Manage the project itself (either manually or with appropriate software) to ensure the completion will be on schedule and delivered as decided.
These skills can be taught both on the job and within accredited training like a project management course. Throughout a project management course, you will learn to apply project management techniques, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications and risk management techniques as well as the skills to implement contract and procurement procedures.
Mastering Both Hard and Soft Skills
Becoming the best project manager you can be includes mastering and finding a balance between both hard and soft skills. As a project manager, you are required to exhibit leadership skills and have the capabilities to delegate (as opposed to micro-manage) certain aspects of the project.
Have you ever had a great project manager? OR what about a not-so-great project manager…? Let us know what capabilities and skills you think are most important to project management in a comment below!
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