Kangan Institute Blog

7 Ways to Improve your Project Management Skills

What is the difference between a good project manager and a great project manager? Here are four great ways to beef up your project management skills.

Active listening
Being an active listener is one of the main components of a great leader. It means tuning out the world around you and focusing on being present in the moment as you listen to a suggestion, complaint or comment. Most people will tell you that they are great listeners, but as a project manager, you need to show off your best active listening skills.

Active listeners combine what a person is actually saying with their body language. If one of your team members comes to speak with you, pay attention to how they are standing and where they are looking. Are they meeting your gaze? Are their arms crossed?

Do not let other distractions enter your mind when you are listening. Block out environmental factors and background noise, and do not use the time your team member is speaking to formulate your response. Once your team member is done speaking, rephrase what he or she just said to show you were listening and that the two of you are on the same page. Use phrases like, "What I am hearing..." and "It sounds like you are saying..."

What active listening boils down to is simply paying attention. You are paying attention to not only what your team members say, but also what your customer wants and what your team members can do to make that happen.

Perfect your balancing act
When you are assigned a project, you have a budget, a team and a deadline. Your overall goal is a simple one: complete the project using these resources within this time period and within this budget. Now you must weigh the scales and decide who is doing what and where your budget is allocated to.

Balancing a budget and project resources takes time and practice. Create a document or spreadsheet and list out what is required to complete the project. Seeing everything before you will better help you visualise your goal.

Using your project management tools, set the project up and make sure everyone can see the objectives and steps in the process. Each team member should be able to look up his or her own tasks to complete and have access to any useful documents or data. They should also be posting regular updates and informing you of any costs incurred.

Seek feedback
Receiving meaningful feedback and constructive criticism is one the best way to improve your project management skills. Ask your supervisors, ask your colleagues and ask your customers. All of them will have differing opinions that you can then use to improve your performance.

Choose to ask those who will give you honest feedback, and do not be afraid of criticism. If someone does give you negative feedback, do not dismiss it, but be sure it is coming from a good source.

Get qualified
If you feel like you’re falling behind in your work, a formal qualification in project management will give you the best opportunities to start or progress in your project management career.

Having a qualification will show your employer or potential employer that you are capable. More specifically, they will be aware that you possess a set of skills based on the qualification that you attain. For example, the Diploma of Project Management at Kangan will ensure that you’re able to lead development as well as implement and evaluate a complete project as it progresses through its lifecycle.

These are the skills employers look for when they are considering hiring or promoting you.

It is no secret that project managers are in high demand. By improving your skills, you can empower your team to achieve their and the organisational goals to and become an invaluable asset to your company. It all starts with you.

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