19 Jul 2013

Competencies for Project Managers

Article on - Competencies for Project Managers

In order to excel in our jobs as Project Managers, we should use project management training to gain competency and improve our skills in three different areas:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Tools and Techniques
 Let’s examine each area in more detail:

This refers to our ability to relate with, manage, and lead the people involved in our projects. The skills required fall into three different areas of competency:
IQ -      Your basic level of intelligence and ability to solve problems
MQ  -  Your ability to manage and communicate with other people
EQ  -   Your level of emotional awareness, self-knowledge, and ability to relate to others

There are many processes available to Project Managers. For example, there are processes for creating a Project Charter, for producing the Project Work Breakdown Structure, Network Diagram, defining a budget etc etc. One useful source of processes, as used on many projects globally, is defined in the Project Management Institute (PMI) “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” (PMBOK® Guide). The book contains a very thorough description of all the processes involved in running a project.
These processes are grouped together in order to help us understand how the processes may be used. The groupings are: Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing.

Tools and Techniques
There are very many tools and techniques for us to use that will help to get the project work done more efficiently, for example telephones, email and video conferencing communications tools. There are software packages for designing work breakdown structures and scheduling projects, and even the humble word processor and spreadsheet can all help us in our jobs.
Perhaps one of the most difficult areas is “People Skills”. Having a great plan (‘process’) and all the latest tools and techniques will not help much if you cannot inspire and motivate your team to perform.
Our suggestion is that you seek out the project management training that will help you to improve in all three areas above. This is the biggest thing you can do to empower yourself, especially when jobs are difficult to find. If you are already an expert in management and software tools, then you should consider a soft-skills course in how to negotiate, how to influence, or become more self-aware.

After all, if you don’t know your own motivations, strengths and weaknesses, then how can you manage others effectively?

Contributed by: Peter James Gilliland
Peter is a Director and Founding Partner of ePM Training Services Pte Ltd. He is an experienced professional consultant, trainer and facilitator with over 25 years of experience leading complex engineering projects in the mobile radio and telecoms infrastructure industry. Peter and his partners provide consultancy and training services to help companies and individuals complete their projects on schedule, within budget, to achieve their goals and maximize customer satisfaction.