Perfecting project management skills: Insights and methods

Perfecting project management skills: Insights and methods
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 29 February, 2024

In today's work environment, a skilled project manager is essential for success. Project management involves tasks such as leading a project team or communicating effectively. Project success, cost efficiency, and overall achievements can depend on how well project managers handle their responsibilities. Honing your project management skills can set you up for success when managing projects or pursuing a project management career. 

Here, we explain some essential project management skills and the important role they play. We'll explore how these skills keep projects on track, ensure timely completion, and optimise the use of resources. Here's what we'll cover:

What are project management skills? 

Project manager skills are essential abilities that are crucial for leading a successful project. Let's take a closer look at the important factors that make up some key project manager skills:

  • Leadership: Being a good leader is a basic skill in project management. Project managers and team leaders need to encourage and guide their teams. Leadership skills mean setting clear goals, motivating team members, and resolving challenges between members.
  • Communication: Project managers coordinate between stakeholders, the project team, and other parties. So, it's essential that they know how to communicate clearly and directly. The ability to explain complicated concepts in simple terms is useful. They must be able to communicate the goals and expectations of the project as well as provide updates and changes.
  • Time management: The best project managers and schedulers are good at managing time. They use resources well, make realistic schedules, and achieve goal deadlines. Good time management stops delays and keeps projects on track.
  • Risk management: Thinking ahead and dealing with potential problems is crucial. Project managers identify and assess risks. They create plans to handle threats that could compromise the project's success. Doing this ahead of time helps to reduce uncertainties.
  • Team collaboration: Projects involve teamwork. Everyone needs to cooperate to reach the same goals. Creating a good team atmosphere can lead to a successful project. Good communication and solving problems together can encourage teamwork.
  • Problem-solving: Sometimes, an unexpected problem may occur. A good project manager can think of new ideas to overcome challenges. It's important to be able to adapt and act in a timely fashion.
  • Technical proficiency: Different types of projects require specific tools. There are various software programs available, depending on your project type. A good project manager should stay updated on the latest management and time-keeping tools. 

Roles that use project management skills 

Key project management skills are essential for certain roles. Some examples of these roles include:

  • Project manager: Oversees the project, meets goals, and coordinates the efforts of the team.
  • Team leader: Leading and guiding a specific team or group of individuals toward project objectives.
  • Project scheduler: Creating and maintaining project schedules. A project manager ensures that the team completes tasks on time.
  • Risk manager: Identifying, assessing, and managing potential risks that could impact the project.
  • Communications manager: Facilitating clear and effective communication between team members, project stakeholders, and other relevant parties. 

The importance of project management skills 

A group working on a project at work

Project management skills are crucial for successful project delivery. They ensure projects stay on track and reach successful completion. Let's explore why these skills are so vital: 

Keeping projects on track 

Think of a project as a well-organised plan. While critical thinking and problem-solving are skills all professionals could benefit from learning, they're particularly useful in the project management discipline. You can't "win" at critical thinking, but you can practise approaching problems logically instead of making decisions based on your emotions. Project management skills act as a road map to guide the team. The best project managers set clear goals and create realistic timelines. They also ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction. 

Completing projects successfully 

The main aim of any project is successful completion. Project management skills help project managers and team members deal with challenges. They also help them adjust to changes and focus on the end goal. 

Organising projects 

Projects can be complex. There are often lots of tasks and team members. Good organisation skills, task management, and clear project planning can reduce chaos. This can decrease confusion, lower stress, and improve the project. 

Managing resources 

Each project has limited time, money, and people. Project management skills help make the best use of these resources. Project managers distribute tasks while keeping an eye on the team. They keep the project moving forward by ensuring everyone works to their best ability. This strategy reduces the strain on resources. 

Communicating effectively with team members 

Good communication skills keep a project running smoothly. Project management skills stress the importance of clear and open communication. Good communicators explain goals, give updates, and handle concerns well. This communication can help a team work well together. It also reduces misunderstandings and makes the team stronger. 

Project management skills examples 

Here is a variety of hard and soft skills to develop that can improve your project management skills: 


Project managers monitor budgets to make sure the team doesn't run out of money. They have to work out how much things cost and use resources efficiently. Project managers ensure their financial decisions match the goals of the project. 

Risk management 

Risk management is about identifying potential problems that might affect the project. Good project managers predict challenges and create strategies on how to deal with them ahead of time. Acting in advance reduces the impact of the risk. 


Organisation is the skill of structuring and coordinating various project elements. Project managers use organisational skills to create project plans. They allocate tasks and establish timelines. Good organisation can help everyone understand their roles and responsibilities and ensure the project can progress seamlessly. 

Time management 

Good time management ensures projects stay on schedule and finish on time. Successful project managers put tasks in order of priority. They set realistic timelines and keep track of progress. This skill stops delays and uses resources well. It also keeps the project moving forward. 


Negotiation means finding arrangements that everyone can agree to. Project managers often confer with team members, project stakeholders, and other partners. Good negotiation skills help people work together and solve problems. They can also achieve outcomes that benefit everyone in the project. 

Quality Control 

Quality control is an essential aspect of any project. The project manager must ensure that project deliverables meet the required quality standards. Having knowledge of quality control tools like Six Sigma and Lean methodologies can give you an edge in managing and delivering high-quality projects. 


A project manager must also constantly evolve, learning how to leverage the newest technologies available to successfully lead a project to completion. Being good at solving problems can help you handle project challenges. The best project managers use creative and analytical thinking. Strong problem-solving skills mean you can find solutions to unexpected issues and overcome obstacles. This keeps the project on track and ensures successful completion. 

Project management skills matrix 

A project management skills matrix is a grid or chart. It provides a view of the project team. The matrix is a comprehensive snapshot of each team member and their skills. Teams can use it in different ways, but many use a skills matrix to: 

Map skills 

The primary purpose of a skills matrix is to map out the abilities of each team member. This involves identifying and listing the specific skills relevant to the project. For example, you can use a skills matrix to assess your team members’ aptitude in the skills listed in the previous section.  

Manage and plan 

A project manager can use the matrix to identify skills and plan effectively. A project plan (sometimes called a project charter) is a blueprint of the key elements your project needs to succeed. They can use this information to understand the skill set of each team member. Then, they can assign tasks that align with individuals' strengths. This ensures that people have duties that match their abilities. At the fundamental level, a project plan captures business requirements and project scope while sequencing activities and resources 

Ensure effective use of team members 

The skills matrix ensures that project managers make effective use of their team members. Project leaders can make informed decisions about resource allocation. It also helps avoid bottlenecks by distributing tasks based on expertise. 

How to improve your project management skills 

Man presenting a project recap with graphs in the background

In this section, we'll explore actionable strategies to enhance your project management skills. We'll provide valuable insights for continuous improvement and successful project execution. 

Practice and intentional focus 

Practice project management in your daily tasks. Set specific goals, plan your activities, and apply project management principles. Intentional focus allows you to refine your skills through hands-on experience. 

Take classes or courses 

Consider enrolling in courses that develop hard and soft project management skills. Many online platforms offer comprehensive project management courses. They cover technical, leadership, and communication skills. 

Use project management tools 

Embrace project management tools to streamline your workflow. Platforms such as Monday, Teamwork, and Trello can help with organising tasks, collaborating, and progress tracking. Learning how to use these tools can enhance your efficiency. 

Explore project management resources 

Use the resources that project management platforms provide. For example, Asana Academy offers tutorials and guides to enhance your technical skills. Use these resources to understand specific tools and methods. 

Reflect on previous projects 

Take time to reflect on past projects. Analyse your achievements and areas for improvement. Consider the challenges you faced and your successful strategies. Reflection is a powerful tool for continuous learning and skill refinement. 

Develop soft skills 

Project management is about more than just technical ability. Soft skills are equally crucial. Work on improving your communication, leadership, and teamwork skills. These attributes can increase your effectiveness in managing projects and interacting with team members. 

Set personal development goals 

Establish specific, measurable, and achievable goals. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your objectives. Setting personal development goals provides direction and motivation for continuous improvement. 


Project management skills are essential for successful projects. They provide structure and guidance for efficient completion. Abilities such as leadership, organisation, time management, and problem-solving are vital. They form the foundation for achieving project goals. 

Consider the impact of improving your project management skills. Remember, you can develop project management skills. You can improve through practice, courses, tools, or reflection. Each step forward benefits you and your projects.  


  1. What are the top 3 skills a project manager needs to succeed? 
    ⁠The top three skills a successful project manager needs are leadership, communication, and time management. A good leader guides the team, sets goals, and makes decisions. Effective communication ensures everyone is on the same page and minimises misunderstandings. Strong time management skills help meet deadlines and keep the project on track.  
  2. What are the four basics of project management? 
    ⁠The four basics of project management are initiation, planning, execution, and closure. During initiation, you learn what the project is about. While planning, you make a list of tasks, set timelines, and assign resources. In execution, you do the work according to the plan. At closure, you finish the project and analyse outcomes. 
  3. What makes a successful project manager? 
    ⁠A successful project manager needs a mix of leadership, communication, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. Leadership helps steer the team. Effective communication creates a cooperative environment. Adaptability is crucial for handling unexpected challenges. Problem-solving ensures efficient issue resolution. 
  4. What should be included in a skills matrix? 
    ⁠Successful projects need a mix of skills. Some examples of project management skills include leadership, communication, time management, and technical proficiency. A skills matrix shows team members' skills. It usually includes an ability rating. This can help with project planning, resource distribution, and effective allocation of team members. 

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