Project Management Training: The Forgotten Skills
Project Management Training: the forgotten skills
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Project Management Training: The Forgotten Skills

Project Management Training - the forgotten skills

This is a supplementary article to Project Management Training: the Forgotten Skills. It includes a detailed list of skills that should be covered in each of the four skill areas

Skills for dealing with individuals

The types of skills project managers need for dealing with individuals include:

  • Networking: the ability to assess the quality of working relationships, to identify where better relationships are required in order to complete the project, and develop a wider support network
  • Building trust and rapport: developing a positive attitude in those who might be called on for support
  • Winning commitment to project goals: this isn't just a matter of having project goals; it is ensuring that everyone is sufficiently motivated to help the project manager deliver them
  • Listening: listening is a vital skill at all times, to recognise developing risks.
  • Counselling skills: the project manager doesn't have to become a counsellor, but these skills can be used to overcome personal emergencies: it is like the sports trainer running onto the pitch in the middle of the game to help an injured player get back into the game as soon as possible. Some project managers take the view that 'personal problems should be left at home', but at extreme this attitude is both unrealistic and detrimental to the delivery of the project.
  • Appropriate use of power: Project managers' relationships of power are often very complex. Power needs to be used appropriately, otherwise they can lose the goodwill of people vital to project success.
  • Delegation: This is a basic management skill, but a vital one.
  • Conflict Management & Negotiation: Conflict can be a very good thing. When it is managed well, the project manager will win respect and commitment, and find better solutions to problems. If it is managed badly, it can engender resistance or even opposition to the project goals.

Skills for dealing with small teams

The types of skills required for managing the core team include:

  • Diagnosing a team's state of development (eg: using the Tuckman model, or Forming/Storming/Norming/Performing)
  • Planning interventions to improve collective performance and progress development
  • Building joint ownership for common objectives
  • Managing the differing personalities and the team roles they play
  • Developing and maintaining team processes
  • Integrating new people into the team, managing team exits
  • Ensuring continuity of communication flow, and sharing of experiences
  • Improving relationships and encouraging bonding, where appropriate

Dealing with Team Islands

The project manager needs to be able to:

  • Recognise when team islands are occurring
  • Recognise their causes (often the In/Out syndrome, creating barriers between two groups due to 'boundaries' in the environment or 'markers' that separate individuals)
  • Understand and use the various tactics that help overcome team islands: eg: removing boundaries and markers where possible, building individual relationships across team islands, establishing commonalities of objectives, experience or identity.

Large projects/cultural change

The skills needed to develop a large project culture include:

  • Communication: an awareness of the unique problems of communicating in a large project environment, and how to pre-empt or overcome misunderstandings
  • Role models: the role of the project manager and core team in setting an example for others to follow
  • Cultural Change: in larger projects, how project culture can be designed, measured and changed.

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