7 Essential Skills for a Thriving Career in Project Management

by | Apr 13, 2023

Are you a novice in the field of project management or you’re already familiar with this type of job across industries?

The job of project management isn’t a piece of cake, especially in a world that is increasingly being influenced by technology. The way project managers accomplished tasks decades ago isn’t the same today.

Modern project managers ought to adhere to a range of contemporary management skills with the goal of delivering quality projects timely. Moreso, in a way that minimizes resource wastage and caters to business scalability. With that, project managers must remain flexible with a craving to also stay relevant.

This piece of content explores the top in-demand project management skills for those who would love to develop their careers in this field. Whether you’re in the construction, oil and gas, IT, finance, manufacturing, or business sector, here are the vital skills you can rely on to thrive career-wise.

7 Essential Skills for a Thriving Career in Project Management

Truth be told project management skills and requirements vary from industry to industry. Additionally, project management approaches and methodologies may differ from job to job. However, many of the project manager’s responsibilities will require mainly the following skills;

1. Leadership Abilities

Project managers are responsible for a number of things that stream from planning, procurement, and execution, to project delivery. However, all these facets of project management come with their own challenges. For project managers to manage the involved team members and complete tasks successfully, they must possess good leadership skills.

A project manager’s leadership skills can influence project completion in many ways. Good leadership skills inspire, motivate, and influence the involved parties to give their best. They also bring the best out of the employees. On the other hand, bad leadership skills disengage workers from the desired course of action.

Therefore, any modern project manager must ensure to develop a few quality leadership skills such as teamwork, effective communication, conflict resolution, and team building. These traits allow project managers to coordinate tasks, and people, and also remain reliable.

2. Technical Skills

In order to optimize efficiency, and employee productivity, and reduce time wastage, many business operations are becoming automated. Technology adoption is influencing the way workers to get things done and it is expected to continue doing so. This means that project managers must possess a range of technical skills.

Technical skills offer a project manager a higher level of influence on tasks and teams. These are generally specialized skills that allow managers to use machines, software, or devices. These smoothen work experiences, offer flexibility and agility. With that project managers must attain innovative technical skills as per their job requirements.

Project managers who desire to thrive in their careers can consider attaining experience with Kanban boards, Gantt Charts, and tools. There is currently a range of tools that project managers can leverage to succeed in their careers. Tools like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Hive, and Proofhub among others cater to better project management. Apart from workload management tools, time management tools can also help project managers succeed at their jobs.

It is also important for project managers to upgrade their technical skills in order to stay relevant. It can also make project management more effective. Therefore, project managers should ensure to remain up to date.

3. Strategic Planning Skills

Planning is an important aspect of business management. In simple terms, strategic planning refers to understanding an organization and deciding what needs to be done before time. However, as much as planning is a vital micro management function, it goes beyond that. Project managers require strategic planning skills in order to run projects effectively.

They must schedule tasks, assign responsibilities, procure, and manage project costs professionally. Project managers can also be responsible for aligning project needs with the available resources. In other words, they must be calculative.

Project managers with good planning skills are very reliable. They can influence management’s decision-making processes to achieve long-term goals easily. Good planning skills can also help project managers forecast future events and plan for them beforehand. If you lack good planning skills, it’s best to find ways of attaining them. You can consider a project planning course or start by planning your day. These mediums can help project managers remain accountable and more reliable.

4. Change Management Skills

Change is part of life and it is also certainly evident in the business realm. The way managers and employees used to get things done decades ago isn’t the same. Technology use is influencing many facets of life and business operation. With that, as businesses pace on with digital transformation, project managers must be ever-ready for change. Above all, they must have the ideal change management skills.

A change management process precisely refers to the systematic way of guiding an organization through a transition. It involves setting measures to help an organization move to a higher level with minimal downtime and resource wastage. For example, when a company is adopting new technologies. Project managers must ensure that the employees are informed and trained and that the required software, devices, or equipment are in place.

Change management largely involves planning, implementing, and controlling adaptations. Therefore, any project manager must develop innovative change management skills for better agility and adaptability.

5. Collaboration

The practice of working together towards a common goal is known as collaboration. Effective project collaboration can bind a team, and optimize productivity, and work experiences. More so, collaboration bridges gaps that may arise due to uncertainties. When project managers possess good collaboration skills it helps them coordinate the different elements of a project.

More so, it increases positivity among the team members. Good collaboration skills also lay a foundation for quality interpersonal skills. Above all, it offers a project manager a sense of humor. If you’re a project manager who wants to improve collaboration among teams, then work on your soft skills.

Skills like communication and emotional intelligence offer a competitive advantage to those in leadership positions. In fact, findings indicate that it’s emotional intelligence that sets high performers apart from their counterparts. Besides this, good soft skills can improve team relationships and reduce leadership stress. Project managers with good collaboration skills don’t struggle to deliver successful projects, they only work smarter.

6. Task Management

The small assignments that comprise a project are called tasks. These make up an execution phase and when accomplished, lead to a successful project. Task management is very crucial because it influences the quality of work delivered. This process generally involves monitoring a project through different stages.

Effective monitoring also leads to no or low resource wastage and ensures that the defined objectives are achieved. Project management software can help a project manager effectively assign, monitor, and track tasks. It can keep a project manager stay updated on progress even if off-site. All that a project manager must do is choose a project management software as per tasks and type of project.

On the other hand, a project manager must consider leveraging techniques that keep team members motivated in order to deliver their best. There are generally many employee engagement activities that project managers can consider utilizing, especially for office teams. Effective employee engagement boosts morale and productivity which helps a project manager thrive career-wise.

7. Project Budgeting

Apart from assigning and overseeing tasks, a project manager must engage in project budgeting. A  project manager must develop a budget for completing a project successfully. Depending on the type of project, a project manager may estimate how much a project will cost and inform the management. Or the project manager may be required to formulate a budget and deliver it to a client.

Whichever way, a project manager may collaborate with other departments like sales, logistics, or procurement to come up with the right estimate. Creating a project budget may also require a project manager to review historical costs, and data, or consult a financial manager.

Project managers may be required to understand the involved financial constraints, for example, when cash may be limited or underestimated. This means that a project manager must prioritize tasks and delegate resources wisely.


Project management refers to the use of techniques, knowledge, experience, and skills to deliver tasks successfully. Project management is essential in many areas of business and industries. Streaming from construction, IT, infrastructure development, technology deployment, and product development, all these activities require project managers.

However, the way project managers run projects has dramatically changed in the modern era. The type of project management skills influences project success dimensionally. Effective project management styles can help managers deliver projects seamlessly. But, inflexible management systems and rigid guidelines may affect project delivery.

With that, there is a lot that project managers must consider to establish a thriving career in project management. Leadership, funds, and communication are crucial elements of project management. However, research also shows that transformational leadership is more likely to help deliver successful projects. With that, there are generally many skills and considerations that can help project managers build thriving careers. But all in all, project managers must remain relevant by developing skills that align with current business needs.


Jessica Robinson

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