The IT Project Manager Playbook: Skills That Will Set You Apart 2024

The IT Project Manager Playbook: Skills That Will Set You Apart 2024

The field of project management is rapidly and dramatically evolving. The skills needed to deliver effective projects have also changed due to technological advancements (AI, looking at you) and the development of project management tools, processes, frameworks, and best practices. Hard project management skills alone won’t cut it in 2024. To successfully manage projects in 2024, an IT project manager must possess well-developed soft skills and well-rounded personal and professional attributes. It’s critical to upskill yourself through project management training in the areas where you lack these abilities.

In this article, I will provide a comprehensive list of in-demand project management skills and advice on cultivating them to advance (or even start) your project management career.

Key Takeaways 

  • An IT manager requires soft skills for team leadership and management and hard skills for defining, planning, and controlling the project.
  • Certifications for project management include Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), Associate in Project Management (APM), BVOP Certified Project Manager, and more.
  • Hard skills include Reading, Writing & Arithmetic, Process Management, Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Scheduling, and much more.
  • Soft skills include Critical Thinking, Communication, Leadership, Diplomacy, Coaching, and more.

Who Is an IT Project Manager?

This being a field I have ventured in, I will simply define an IT project manager as a person who oversees the planning, executing, and delegating responsibilities related to an organization’s information technology (IT) pursuits and goals.

IT project managers can work in various industries because computer technologies are used by almost every organization.  Some organizations set up IT project management offices (PMOs) to oversee the completion of large-scale undertakings.

What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

As an IT project manager, you will be in charge of planning, organizing, allocating resources, budgeting, and successfully implementing an organization’s unique IT goals. Such projects may include:

  • Software and app development.
  • Hardware installations
  • Network upgrades
  • Cloud computing and virtualization rollouts
  • Projects in business analytics and data management
  • Miscellaneous IT Services

To ensure compliance and governance, as an IT project manager, I had to collaborate with various organizational teams, including hardware, software, networking, business data, service management, help desk support, and information security. These are teams all IT project managers are bound to work with.

For each of these projects, an IT project manager will lead the following phases:

  • Initiation: The project goal is determined, and the project is established.
  • Planning: IT project plans are expected to require frequent updates, hence it is often assumed that planning would occur in cycles.
  • Execution: During execution, the team, led by the project manager, works on the tasks outlined in the project plan, with the ultimate goal of completing the project deliverables. TechTarget reports that “the project can shift to project planning as needed throughout project execution.”
  • Monitoring: According to TechTarget, the IT project manager “monitors and controls the work for the time, cost, scope, quality, risk, and other factors of the project.”
  • Closing: Closing occurs at the end of each phase and the project. It guarantees that all work has been completed and accepted, and ownership passes from the project team to operations.
See Also: Which Technology Career Is Right For Me? (Take 2 Career Tests)

How Does One Become an IT Project Manager?

Being in an IT project management position, I had to develop a combination of technical and soft skills. This is the same with all expert IT managers. While a solid technical background is required, job descriptions also specify non-technical skills such as task management, scheduling, and presenting thorough planning.

Educational prerequisites. Candidates for IT project management positions should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a similar profession. While certain positions may accept individuals with an associate degree or equivalent experience, a bachelor’s degree is often recommended.

Employers may demand or prefer advanced degrees in business management or professional project management certifications, such as Project Management Professional (PMP) or ScrumAlliance Certified ScrumMaster. I personally started out my career with certifications, but having a degree when it comes to project management gives you an advantage.

See Also: TECHNICAL DEGREE: Best Tech Degrees & Their Benefits

Skills

Employers typically search for people with the following technical and soft skills:

  • An advanced understanding of computers, computer systems, software, and network technologies.
  • Communication and leadership skills; 
  • Analytical problem-solving abilities.
  • Proven project management skills.
  • Experience with one or more project management methodologies. 
  • Organizational and time management skills;
  • IT project management certification 

Top Project Management Certifications

  • Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)
  • Associate in Project Management (APM)
  • BVOP Certified Project Manager
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Certified Project Director (CPD)
  • Certified Project Management (CPM)
  • Certified Project Manager (CPM-IAPM)
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
  • CompTIA Project+
  • Master Project Manager (MPM)
  • PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
  • PRINCE2 Agile Foundation/Agile Practitioner
  • Professional in Project Management (PPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Program Manager Professional (PgMP)

IT Project Management Methodologies

IT project managers sometimes use project management methodologies or frameworks to guide activities. This was one of the strategies I quickly had to comprehend in this field. Popular project management methodologies for IT projects include the following:

  • Agile is a system based on short delivery cycles. It is frequently used for tasks where speed and flexibility are critical.
Read more: AGILE ENVIRONMENT: Definition, Benefits and Examples
  • Waterfall methodology.  Work moves successively between defined phases and workstations. In the Waterfall model, work moves to the next phase only once the previous one is completed.
  • Scrum. Scrum focuses on transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Scrum promotes iterative development, accountability, and teamwork. Work is divided into brief “sprints.”
  • PRINCE2 involves extensive early-stage planning. This project management framework brings together practices from many backgrounds and sectors.
  • Traditional project management draws on ideas from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), a guide organized into three project phases: inputs, tools and procedures, and outputs.
  • Lean. Focuses on decreasing resource waste and improving process efficiency.

Skills to Develop if You Want to Be Set Apart From Other PM

Project management combines soft and hard skills crucial for project success. It requires soft skills for team leadership and management and hard skills for defining, planning, and controlling the project. Without these skills, a project will likely fail, as stakeholders may not align on objectives and deliverables within the budget and timeline. Therefore, project management requires a combination of both. Here are the core soft and hard skills I employed that allowed me to excel as an IT project manager.

Project Management: Hard Skills and How to Develop Them

The simplest way I can explain project management hard skills is that they are all about competence and reflect your practical technical ability: tools, techniques, and techniques you can use. Here are a list of hard skills for project management.

  1. Reading, Writing & Arithmetic
  2. Process Management
  3. Project Initiation
  4. Project Planning
  5. Project Scheduling
  6. Documentation
  7. Task Management
  8. Project Control
  9. Risk Management
  10. PM Tool Knowledge
  11. Technical Skills

Now let’s go over them one after the other.

#1. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

A good project manager must possess advanced reading, writing, and math skills, such as comprehending technical issues, writing a clear project brief, and verifying budget and expense math. These skills are crucial but can stagnate if not regularly used.

How to Develop Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Read frequently—you can read anything to keep your skills sharp—but I’d recommend any of these books to project managers:

  • Project Management Jumpstart by Kim Heldman (4th Edition)
  • Project Management: Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Greg Horine
  • Project Management for Non-Project Managers by Jack Ferraro
  • The Lazy Project Manager by Peter Taylor
  • Project Management For You by Cesar Abeid

Even 30 minutes of reading daily will help keep that region of your brain active.

Improve your writing. Invest in a program like Grammarly, which provides personalized feedback depending on your writing objectives (for example, do you want to be informal or informative?) and standard spelling, punctuation, and wordiness corrections.

Learn fundamental arithmetic with applications like BBC Teach or Khan Academy. Nobody expects you to memorize complex trigonometry equations, but knowing basic addition and subtraction is useful, as is practising the ability to solve more difficult multiplication and division problems.

#2. Process Management 

This is the ability to map and regulate important operations inside a project ecosystem.

What are your key company and project management processes? For many, business processes comprise the following:

  • Resourcing 
  • Invoicing
  • Project launch
  • Project Delivery 
  • Budgeting
  • Reviews, reports, and evaluations.

Process management is a method of cataloguing all of these processes, gaining a bird’s-eye view of everything, and disseminating information about each item as needed.

How to Improve Process Management Skills.

If you’re having trouble grasping the scope of process management, you are not alone, I struggled a little too. Process management, by definition, demands the balancing of many spinning plates. Excelling at process management is a surefire way to differentiate yourself as a project manager, but it may be daunting.

If you want to improve your process management skills, numerous training certifications are available. Consider taking night classes or a work-at-your-own-pace program that does not interfere with your job routine.

#3. Project Initiation

Starting projects effectively ensures that everyone understands the vision and strategy. 

Before a project can begin, someone must take the first step—a pitch, a formal project initiation document, a plan, a launch, a discovery session, or simply be curious enough to spot an area of the organization that could benefit from development.

Why start a new project? According to an AIPM and KPMG Australian Project Management Survey from 2018, the most commonly reported reasons include renewing infrastructure, compliance or regulatory reasons, and developing a new product.

As a project manager, you are frequently tasked with launching a project. Projects are the PM’s domain; therefore, learning how to initiate them and get them off to a good start will benefit you.

How to Develop Project Initiation Skills

Initiating a project requires a variety of sub-skills. It includes obtaining buy-in and alignment from the team and all stakeholders, setting up project tools and paperwork, acquiring or assigning the necessary resources, and conveying a project vision to the appropriate parties.

One of the most difficult skills to master is communicating your project so that all necessary parties are aligned and invested. It might be even harder if you’re a nerdy introvert like me. Here are a few tips on how I overcame it.

First, teach yourself how to develop a compelling project proposal. This is an important step in getting your ideas rolling.

Knowing how to create an exceptional project proposal will teach you the fundamentals of project initiation, specifically how to identify a problem and provide a solution you are best suited to manage.

Next, learn how to kick off projects—prepare, lead, and follow up on a project kickoff meeting—to ensure the project begins with the best possible chance of success.

#4. Project Planning

Designing a course that matches objectives while remaining within rules and regulations. 

Proper planning involves all levels, from macro to micro. There’s the large-scale obvious planning: to establish meeting plans, statements of work, estimates, schedules, resource plans, and briefings.

There’s also the more mundane: arranging your day, deciding who you’ll talk to first, and figuring out how you’ll have time to keep your status paperwork updated. 

Your ability to plan well will directly impact the project’s success. Trust me, no matter how competent you are at execution, a proper project strategy- including plans for success and disasters- is required to succeed.

How to Strengthen Project Planning Skills

The trouble about project planning, and “planning” in general, is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, to develop this talent, you need to broaden your study by reading various sources and listening to diverse experts.

#5. Scheduling

Having the ability to assemble the most suitable individuals for your project at the right moment.

Project scheduling involves setting up a calendar that outlines who is doing what and when. This could be anything from a work breakdown structure in Excel, a Gantt chart in your preferred project scheduling application, a separate project management calendar, or another type of project schedule. Anyone that suits you best. I personally prefer to use Excel and an actual schedule notebook.

Project managers will be responsible for setting project milestones, stating when activities must be completed, and identifying which tasks depend on others.

The power of good scheduling is that it defines who represents your team at different times, on different days, and for various tasks and deliverables.

Being a pro-scheduler prevents you from common scheduling issues such as last-minute changes, staff confusion, “clopen” shifts, and excessive overtime/on-call practices.

A project manager must divide their team’s workforce to meet all roles, duties, and responsibilities. If people are needed on-site over the weekend, a project manager will decide who will work each shift.

How to Develop Scheduling Skills

One of the best ways to learn the art of project scheduling is to study your preferred project management methodology (whether waterfall or agile) and understand what “scheduling” means in that context.

#6. Documentation Development 

Documentation is recording your method of operation so that others may access, verify, and reproduce it. Knowing how to write adequate documentation is only half the battle for a project manager; you must also know how much is required to avoid wasting time and energy.

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development recommends “working software over comprehensive documentation.” What does this mean? Well, documentation is required, but don’t go overboard. You will be tempted, I was, but don’t! A functional product is always the highest focus.

How To Improve Documentation Development Skills

This is a bit of a shortcut I used, but you can use other people’s project docs to save time and implement best practices without figuring everything out from scratch. There are numerous templates, charts, agendas, checklists, and the like in DPM Membership.

However, if you are completely new to the project documentation, you will benefit from training such as The DPM School, which can teach you when, why, and how to complete the most crucial project documents.

#7. Task Management 

It requires a particular skill set to navigate task management in a way that informs and guides different sorts of employees with varied approaches to learning. 

Task management can take many forms, including making lists, using text editors, using technologies such as Kanban boards, creating spreadsheets, team-based approaches, and even plain pen and paper.

Excellent task management will increase productivity, minimize errors, and keep everyone informed; thus, it is up to you, the project manager, to choose the appropriate task management technique for the circumstances.

How to Improve Task Management Skills

A lot of task management involves trial and error. It also requires a willingness to upgrade to a more accurate solution if your existing task management process or tools are becoming insufficient.

As a result, you should avoid investing a lot of money in task management training. It’s a nebulous skill that will alter daily as your project’s requirements progress.  Work on this skill through basic practice, and supplement your knowledge with free lessons and guides to gain deeper insights.

Several free tools, such as Task Management Training – Getting Organized for Success, can help you improve your tasking skills.

#8. Project Control

A project manager’s responsibility is to keep their project(s) on track while staying within budget.

Almost every project will put these imposed restrictions to the test. Scope creep, unexpected roadblocks, and other entanglements will attempt to test the limits of these time and cost restrictions. I once watched a project of mine spiral out of control because of these limits. Yes, it was one of my first gigs as a project manager, and yes, I, too, once failed to deliver. So, know that I am speaking from a place of experience.

Project control involves gathering data and analytics from your project tracking tools and dashboards to forecast and shape a specific project’s financial and time requirements.

Once constraints have been determined, the PM must ensure that things do not spiral out of control on the route to completion.

Any project manager knows no project is ever “100% complete.” There is always more to do, build, and fine-tune. Proper controls help to put boundaries around a project so that it does not become stuck in developmental limbo.

How to Develop Project Control Skills

A wonderful resource I recommend is the DPM Podcast episode, Control Your Projects Better With These Project Controls, in which Maik Stettner discusses his personal experience with delivering on budget, meeting deadlines, and other aspects of project control.

#9. Risk Management 

Effective risk management requires experience—knowing what could go wrong. And being humble enough to seek counsel from your staff. The first step is to detect risk; the earlier you do so, the higher your odds of avoiding the risk.

Risk identification must be followed by a plan outlining how to address it. This includes assigning a probability, a cost, and an owner, as well as applying mitigation methods appropriate to the risk and the client’s appetite for things going wrong.

Whether you perform these tasks in a dedicated risk management platform or a simple spreadsheet, the skill to acquire is the capacity to identify risks before they become issues and devise effective mitigation measures to eliminate the possibility of them becoming issues.

How to Develop Risk Management Skills

How do you improve your risk management skills as a project manager, aside from personal experience? For starters, you can draw on the experiences of others to learn from their mistakes (and accomplishments). Learn from the best, and use their mistakes to fuel your learning.

Numerous risk management books are available, providing a safe approach to improving your practical abilities before putting them to the test in the workplace. Read Paul Hopkins’ Fundamentals of Risk Management or James Lam’s Implementing Enterprise Risk Management to get started.

#10. PM Tool Management 

A project manager can only accomplish so much with their own two hands. That’s why they need a software toolkit to support them.

Fortunately, there is a PM tool for every task, work style, team layout, and departmental need.  There are dozens of project management tools available to meet any purpose.

Over a quarter of survey participants in the Project Success Survey identified “the use of project management tools” as a vital aspect of project success. PM tools are not only valuable for reducing administrative workload, but they are also a necessary component for success.

How to Improve Your Skills in Using PM Tools

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning any project management technology’s complexities. Instead, you will want to focus on:

  • What problem do you need to solve?
  • What tool is best for that?
  • How best to use that tool

And if you want to understand the types of tools available to you, check out these great tools I uncovered.

1. Monday.com — Best for its capacity to be customized for almost any workflow

2. Smartsheet — Best for teams with asset-proofing needs

3. Hub Planner — Best for team scheduling, capacity planning, & requesting work

4. Zoho Projects — Best PM tool for its low price point, user-friendly interface and mobile version

5. Visor — Best for real-time collaboration with unlimited viewer-only accounts

6. FigJam by Figma — Best for remote team collaboration

#11. Technical Skills

A project manager’s technical skills can quickly elevate them from amateur to expert. Can you wireframe a product using various techniques? Do you have basic design skills? Do you read or write code at all?

These are some of the most important hard skills since they are tangible. If you know C++ or HTML5, you could simply demonstrate it with a practical example. However, these skills can be extremely difficult to perfect.

As a PM, you will have to be a jack-of-all-trades with a focus on one or two areas. A wise practice is ensuring you have at least two distinct intersecting skills. As a result, you will stand out as a niche specialist that clients needing your services cannot do without.

How to develop technical skills

Of course, technical project management skills can be obtained online through:

  • Countless free resources, including these free coding resources.
  • Casual paid courses, such as this Wireframe Overview on Lynda.com,
  • Traditional college/university courses, such as the Computer Science program at the California Institute of Technology

You must decide how much coaching you require, how much competence you want to develop, and how many technical skills you like to learn.

Developing Soft Skills in Project Management and How to Do So

Soft skills (interpersonal skills) are personal and professional skills. They’re soft because you’re not running a machine, and there are no set steps or a “correct” way to go about them.

Here are a list of soft skills in project management

  1. Organization
  2. Teamwork
  3. Prioritization
  4. Research
  5. Creativity
  6. Critical Thinking
  7. Communication
  8. Leadership
  9. Diplomacy
  10. Coaching

Let’s go over them one after the other.

#1. Organization 

Whether you’re planning resources or converting a sloppy project proposal into gold, organization is THE distinguishing characteristic of a smart project manager. You simply cannot do without it.

A lack of organization harms your team’s motivation, morale, and capacity to complete tasks. A project manager with a personal organization approach will complete more tasks, feel less pressured, and be an excellent leader.

How to Develop Organizational Skills

There are entire communities dedicated to certain organizational strategies. Just consider how popular Marie Kondo’s “tidying up” self-help strategy has become, with a best-selling book and now a Netflix special. At this point, the organization has taken on a religious sense. 

There are two aspects to organization: organizing your SPACE and your WORK. According to Marie Kondo, living in a clean and organized environment has psychological benefits.

Not to mention that most people’s initial assessments of your organizational skills will be based on what they see in your actual environment.

Then comes the difficult part: organizing your task list, team, thoughts, tools, process, errands, routines, and everything else while being flexible when the plan changes.

#2. Teamwork

Teamwork is something that a project manager must both learn and teach. As a project manager, you must be adaptable and dependable in your interactions with staff, clients, suppliers, external contracts, customers, and anyone else who shows up in their inbox every morning.

Behavioural science and psychology both support the positive influence of teamwork. In my journey through IT project management, I’ve learned that working together has ignited innovation, fostered happiness, supported personal growth, prevented burnout, developed specialised skills, increased productivity, encouraged taking worthwhile risks, reduced stress, and boosted creativity.

How to Develop Teamwork

There are two techniques I recommend for “learning” teamwork skills:

  • Theoretical understanding of what it means to work in a team and the advantages of successfully navigating teamwork.
  • Fun, in-person exercises for your team to enhance trust, understanding, and comfort.

For theoretical understanding, check out the cutting-edge research being done on teamwork. My latest suggestion is “The Science of Teamwork. “

#3. Prioritization 

As project managers, we must decide and communicate how others spend their time. However, we must also be conscious of our own time management.

Steven Covey’s quote, “The enemy of the best is good,” particularly applies to project managers’ time management.

The difficulty is that important tasks are often overshadowed by urgent tasks. If necessary, conduct an 80/20 analysis of your present responsibilities. So, if you only have a limited time in the day, how can you ensure you set aside time for vital tasks?

Successful project managers also value their teammates’ time, so being able to interpret the body language of those in the room is essential for staying on track.

How to hone Prioritization Skills

First, consider where you are spending your time. If you haven’t already, use a simple time-tracking application to identify and analyze your spending patterns. Are those your priorities?

If you’re unsure, consider this quote:

“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Refer to Eisenhower’s well-known prioritization matrix mapping to improve your prioritisation skills. His work distinguishes between urgent, significant, and neither activities.

1. Important and Urgent (highest priority)

2. Important but not urgent.

3. Not important, but urgent.

4. Not important and not urgent (lowest priority).

Using the matrix mentioned above, you will learn the fundamentals of “sorting” tasks into categories that determine whether you complete, assign, or lay them away.

#4. Research

The ability to thoroughly investigate and comprehend the big picture.

Effective project managers must know ‘just enough to be dangerous’ about all of the tasks that their teams complete.

To conduct intelligent and informed conversations with clients, team members, project stakeholders, and suppliers, you must be familiar with the platforms and systems used by your teams and their capabilities and limits.

It is worthwhile to try to develop expertise in all aspects of the project lifecycle, including strategy, service design, product design, creative concept, user experience, design, content development, front-end development, back-end development, QA, hosting, content delivery networks, SEO, analytics, CMS, social media, and media (yes, even banner ads).

Regarding digital, the most important subject matter expertise skills to acquire is virtually everything. If you can be the designated expert on everything from Apache Solr and algorithms to Weibo and web hosting, not only will your team and agency appreciate you, but so will your clients.

How to Develop Research Skills

Libraries, particularly postsecondary libraries, are a reliable source for research practices. For example, read Georgetown University Library’s 15 Steps to Good Research.

#5. Creativity

Creativity is a skill that machines and AI cannot replicate. Machines and wild animals may be capable of building, entertaining, and performing, but nothing can channel creativity like humans. This makes it a useful skill.

How to Develop Creativity

Ultimately, it is up to you to choose your preferred creative style. Would you like to build, design, write, paint, or meander? There are numerous ways to increase your creativity, including changing your habits, spending time outside, pursuing a hobby, playing with creative supplies, and listening to (or making) music. I personally prefer drowning in music most times.

I also highly recommend watching John Paul Caponigro’s TEDxDirigo presentation, “You’re A Lot More Creative Than You Think You Are.” Caponigro is an accomplished fine artist who has contributed to Photoshop User, Apple.com, and The Huffington Post.

#6. Critical Thinking

You’ve probably heard of “critical thinking,” but can you explain it? Do you understand what it is and how to access the areas of your brain that excel at it? The Oxford Dictionary defines critical thinking as “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgment.”

PMs are frequently challenged with contradictory data, incompatible concepts and facts, and errors in common logic. The defining characteristic of a critical thinker is the ability to dissect what we see, think, hear, and feel to determine what is best for the current scenario.

There are seven critical thinking skills, which I’ve simmered down to their most fundamental essence:

1. Analysis: What information is available?

2. Interpretation: What does the data suggest?

3. Inference: What conclusions can be drawn?

4. Explanation: This is an elevator pitch for the above.

5. Self-regulation: Am I mistaken about something?

6. Open-mindedness: Are there any alternative possibilities?

7. Problem-solving: What’s the next step?

How To Improve Critical Thinking Skills

According to Harvard Business Review, three behaviours might help you enhance your critical thinking: questioning all assumptions, discovering reason through logic, and diversifying your ideas by attempting to understand things from an opposite perspective.

You might want to try these INC.com exercises for better critical thinking. Udemy also offers critical thinking tasks and a related online course.

#7. Communication 

One of the most important skills for project management is the ability to communicate effectively—understanding and being understood.

Great communication is the foundation of any relationship, and the efficacy of a project manager’s communication affects not only the project team but also the client and stakeholders.

However, good communication does not just happen. It begins with devoting the time and effort necessary to get to know your team well and developing an effective communication plan and related communication tools that connect with the various personality types.

For me, this has meant adapting the communications strategy from project to project, simply because we may have different team members for each project, and a specific communication system or structure may not always work for everyone.

The most important communication skill to develop is listening, being clear, and ensuring your message is understood. Almost any obstacle may be overcome when information is delivered with the correct messaging, at the right time, to the right person, and through the right channel.

How to Improve Communication Skills

Communicating effectively under ideal conditions with perfect communicators is simple—but projects rarely benefit from ideal conditions, and no one is a flawless communicator.

I’ve mainly focused on teaching communication skills in various scenarios, such as troubleshooting client complaints to resolve problems (practice in The DPM School) or conducting challenging interactions more effectively (DPM Member webinar).

Aside from these targeted communication-strengthening activities, I have to say: just put yourself out there. Attend events, meet new people, get out of your comfort zone, and network enthusiastically. Each discussion you have will teach you something about effective communication.

#8. Leadership 

Years of project management experience have taught us that outstanding leadership is necessary. 

Our leadership position entails leading and managing teams, which includes creating the vision, motivating the team, and improving your team’s lives through coaching and inspiring others.

However, being a leader entails more than just establishing a positive team atmosphere; we must enforce procedures and keep everyone on track.

We understand that we have the final say on what our team works on next and ultimate accountability for whether the project fails or succeeds.

Make sure you are leading, not just managing. That involves setting up a vision and a road map for success and serving and empowering your team to achieve it.

How to Develop Leadership Skills

Leadership is difficult to develop independently but requires time, experience, and persistent effort.

Still, no book or training will transform you into a leader overnight, and no online course can provide actual leadership qualifications.

To get started, look for leadership-oriented seminars with presenters you believe have something valuable to contribute. There are conferences dedicated to improving leadership abilities, which is a wonderful place to start.

#9. Diplomacy

 The ability to persuade, negotiate, and collaborate in challenging conditions.

Project management is similar to politics in that it brings together a diverse set of people, many of whom have opposing interests, and we must bring these various interests together to achieve project objectives. In other words, a successful project manager must be a skilled negotiator.

Budgetary, resource allocation, and timetable discussions can become confrontational and counterproductive if not handled tactfully. The greatest project managers understand how to compromise and maintain a firm stance without jeopardizing their professional relationships.

Finding that middle ground—working out compromises so everyone involved feels like they’ve won—is the most important negotiation skill to acquire!

How to Develop Diplomatic Skills

There are numerous books about diplomacy, some theoretical and others more practical. You can begin with a classic, The Power of Tact by Peter Legge.

This book discusses how to remain calm in stressful situations, dispute resolution skills, negotiation tactics, and being a positive influence on others around you.

You should also read Nicholas J. Cull’s Public Diplomacy, which discusses five key aspects of public diplomacy: listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, exchanges, and international broadcasting.

This book offers advice via the lenses of international relations, communication studies, psychology, and contemporary practice, emphasizing what it all means in an era of “Global Engagement in the Digital Age.”

#10. Coaching

Every PM is a coach because they must bring out the best in their teams and products. Coaching is an inverted kind of teaching that aims to help the subject learn rather than communicate information.

Coaching focuses on a person’s unique needs and abilities, allowing them to reach their maximum potential. This could include providing constructive comments, setting positive expectations, finding areas for growth, listening to concerns, and allowing (even encouraging) mistakes.

How to Develop Coaching Skills

How do you become a great coach? One approach could be to train oneself. Work with a mentor or professional life/career coach, and take note of what and how they accomplish things. Pay close attention to what works well and what falls short.

TheCoachingToolsCompany.com provides various free tools, such as exercises, popular inquiries, a newsletter, and goal-setting templates.

You might also look for career coaches and invite one of them to your company for an all-day coaching session with your employees. You can also track professional instructors online if they have a blog, videos, or podcasts.

How Much Do IT Project Managers Make?

According to Indeed.com, the average IT project manager’s income is $99,476 annually. While this is the average salary for all IT project management positions, pay for specific roles may differ depending on geographic region, experience, education level, certifications, and industry.

How to Include Your Project Management Skills on Your Resume

In your project management resume, emphasize the project management skills you’ve developed and proof points that demonstrate your mastery.

Use the list of hard and soft project management skills above to showcase the ones you’ve mastered in your CV. These may involve project planning, risk management, flexibility, leadership, and negotiation.

Presenting proof of such skills on your CV will help you stand out to potential employers. So, quantify your accomplishments with numbers or percentages wherever possible to provide a clear picture of your impact.

For example, to demonstrate your project management skill competency in project planning and control, you could provide proof such as “Managed a $500,000 project budget and delivered the project 10% under budget”.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does an IT Project Manager Require Coding?

Even if you aren’t going to develop any code, technical project managers still need to be aware of the resources their software engineers are utilizing. Different software frameworks support various features and times for development. While some frameworks, such as Ruby on Rails, provide rapid concepts for easy feature roadmaps, they cannot withstand large quantities of user interaction. Delivering solid, dependable features and software on time or under budget requires understanding the benefits and drawbacks of various software tools.

Is an IT Project Manager Different From an IT Manager?

Compared to project managers, IT managers often oversee a wider area. An IT manager is in charge of finishing operations, development, and projects; a project manager is only for projects. A project manager typically answers to an IT manager.

Is IT Project Manager a Good Role?

Although project management is not a simple or easy profession, one of its key benefits is acknowledging and rewarding your hard work. You will undoubtedly be happy with this rewarding professional path.

Can Anyone Be an IT Project Manager?

According to job descriptions, a bachelor’s degree is occasionally required in computer science, business, or a similar field. A degree can increase your employment prospects and provide valuable knowledge. Remember that if you have sufficient relevant experience, you can still work up to become an IT project manager.

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