For employers searching for project managers, it’s important to share one thing up front; the PM role requires both technical skills that can be taught and intangible skills that cannot. Technical training does not necessarily train the project manager in how to manage the nuances of a client or end-user relationship. It also doesn’t teach the PM how to handle stress or manage their time.
Project managers in any field are change agents. Here is the mix of skills you should look for in the best candidates for the job.
Tangible and Intangible Job Skills of a Project Manager
Truthfully, communication is both a tangible and intangible skill. The best project manager in the world can concisely communicate bad news, but the nuance and finesse they use to share the details could make or break the end-user relationship.
A project manager spends 90 percent of their time communicating where the project is to a variety of stakeholders. They must use these skills to bridge gaps between developers, end users and department heads. They must also be able to break down the steps in a process into actionable stages that everyone can understand. The PM must also be able to communicate all these things in writing and verbally.
Organization is primarily a teachable skill, but there is an element of intangibility there, too. That’s because the Agile or Waterfall methodologies are only as effective as the person conducting the process. Too, software to organize tasks is only as effective as the person using it. Project planning and organization are critical core skills that help PMs create an actionable series of steps to complete a project. But personal organization skills are just as important to the PM as professional organizational skills. If the PM’s life is in disarray will they really do a good job on a project? It’s possible, but generally these are crossover skills.
Leadership is another intangible and teachable skill. Leaders deliver projects. Leadership means the PM knows the art of change management and can muster the skills necessary to cajole, negotiate or crack the whip when necessary to get the job done. But the coolest part of a real leader is they rarely need to crack the whip; they have an intangible quality that makes people want to follow them. Good PMs don’t boss people around, they create an environment where everyone wants to complete their work properly. We all know leaders like that, and when you can find those skills in a project manager, it’s like the goose that laid the golden egg.
How to Find the Perfect Project Manager
Knowing the theory of project management without having these skills will lead to fail in any organization. But finding experienced project managers in today’s job market will be extremely tough. Fortunately, help is just a phone call away.
Blackstone Talent Group can help you find your next project manager who can bring together the mix of theory, experience and knowledge to get the job done. Contact us today.