Streamlined success: Essential project management skills for business leaders23 Apr 2023
Effective project management is key to the successful outcome of any task a team takes on. That’s why most organisations have dedicated project managers who have refined their project management skills over time. Although project managers (often called PMs for short) often have the sole responsibility of overseeing task completion, project management skills should be practised by business leaders, too.
This article will explore why project management skills are important, which are the most relevant, the ways in which you can enhance them, how technology fits into project management, and tangible actions you can take to improve project outcomes and a few case studies. Let’s dive in!
The importance of project management skills
Project management skills are central to ensuring that high-quality deliverables are produced on time and in line with clients’ expectations. Business leaders who want to remain competitive in today’s dynamic work environment must focus on how projects are managed from the beginning to the end. A project that gets off to a rocky start isn’t likely to cross the finish line, so emphasis should be placed on every stage of the project completion journey to ensure total oversight from start to finish.
Essential project management skills
Every business leader should possess several key attributes, such as the ability to:
- Communicate effectively with colleagues across all departments.
- Delegate tasks based on everyone’s needs and abilities.
- Manage time (their own and that of others).
- Assess and mediate risks at every level of the organisation.
- Solve problems and think laterally.
How to develop and refine project management skills
Business leaders must dedicate themselves to lifelong continuous learning in the real of project management. New findings and best practices emerge almost every other day, and leaders should take the time to make themselves familiar with them. They can also look to mentors for guidance. And, as with most concepts, the best way to learn is by doing, so team leads and business execs should get hands-on experience by working alongside project managers to see how their organisation works in action.
The role of technology and tools
Gone are the days of pen-and-paper checklists and meeting minutes. Competitive organisations utilise digital project management tools like Asana and Trello to automatically create accurate and reliable data, paper trails and estimated completion dates. These are helpful for real-time monitoring and audits after the fact.
Best practices for leading successful projects
As mentioned earlier, project management should concentrate on the project’s entire lifecycle, from its inception to its completion. It should involve:
- Setting clear objectives and goals.
- Aligning all stakeholders both at the project’s outset and throughout its duration.
- Fostering a culture of collaboration to create synergy and harmony during the project.
- Holding regular check-ins and meetings to monitor project progress.
- Reallocating and redistributing resources (personnel, time, budget etc.) as necessary.
- Establishing metrics and key performance indicators before project take-off and using them after the project has been completed.
Real-life example – John Zimmer
If you’re looking for a case study of a business leader who has excelled in project management with a visibly positive impact on their organisation, look no further than John Zimmer. He collaborated with Logan Green in 2012 to create Lyft, a wildly successful ride-sharing and e-hailing company. Both he and Green were intimately involved in the company’s creation from the very start, with Zimmer even leaving his full-time job to focus completely on their new venture. Ten years after its inception, he is still the company president, and the business is now worth four billion US dollars.