Companies have a huge demand for skilled project managers. With a shift in work patterns, most critical business interventions are actually cross-functional complex projects. As managers grow in the hierarchy, the requirement of world-class project management skills becomes even more important.

That’s why, as a PM,  it is essential to refine the most in-demand project management skills to improve your performance. To help you hone your skills on a world-class level, we have listed 6 most powerful project management skills along with:

  • Top free and paid project management courses
  • Best project management books for book lovers
  • Most popular project management certifications

So let’s get going

6 Effective Skills That Will Help You to Become a Great Project Manager:

1. Critical Thinking

A project manager’s normal workday is full of challenges, conflicting data, a variety of mismatched ideas, and other operational issues. In such a situation, the PM is expected to keep stress aside, think critically, and deliver whatever is best for the project and organization. 

Thus, it is very essential for PMs to learn how to think differently and practically so that you quickly resolve day-to-day challenges. 

Practice the Following Ways to Become a Critical Thinker

  • Work on analytical skills to understand what information is available and how you can make the most out of it
  • Focus on your interpretation skills to think about the solutions which you can suggest from the available data
  • Try to back your inference and conclusions 
  • Always try to look for other possibilities and expand your visions
  • Develop problem-solving techniques

Which Courses Can Help?

  1. Ready, Set, Future – Introduction to Futures Thinking
  2. Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age
  3. Converting Challenges into Opportunities
  4. Design Thinking for Innovation
  5. Logical and Critical Thinking

Recommended Books for Avid Readers

  1. Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty Paperback by C. Todd Lombardo
  2. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

2. Statesmanship

As mentioned earlier, project managers have a demanding job and hence tricky situations will keep popping up. Hence it is imperative for project managers to learn the art of being diplomatic, negotiate well, and actively collaborate with others.  

Practice the Following Ways to Groom Statesmanship

  • Learn how to negotiate and put both the parties in a win-win situation
  • Groom reasoning skills to handle adversarial and counterproductive situations
  • Learn to be diplomatic and tactful
  • Observe others body language, unspoken words, and actions
  • Learn the art of managing conflicts, and handling the contradictory situation

Which Courses Can Help?

  1. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
  2. Conflict Resolution Skills
  3. Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By

Recommended Books for Avid Readers

  1. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher
  2. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Kerry Patterson
  3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert B. Cialdini

3. Prioritizing

During a project, multiple things are happening at the same time and as a PM, it is your job to manage your team, work, and client requirements. In such a busy working schedule, you must know how to prioritize work and align it with the business objective.

Practice the Following Tips to Manage Your Time and Prioritize Work

  • Identify important task which is inclined with the business goals
  • Perform an 80/20 work analysis
  • Make a checklist of urgent tasks and put sort them keeping in mind the delivery dates
  • Learn how to effectively handle operational tasks
  • Have a regular discussion with your team and understand the problems they face 
  • Learn the art of delegating 

Which Courses Can Help?

  1. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity
  2. Project Initiation
  3. Modern Productivity – Superhuman Focus In A Distracted World
  4. Introduction to Operations Management

Recommended Books for Avid Readers

  1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  2. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy 
  3. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr

4. Process Management

In product management, it is crucial to effectively manage processes that include a compilation of related and structured tasks. These processes define the course of successfully delivering a specific product, service, or a certain goal. It also includes thinking about the semantic and logical frameworks to accomplish the product life cycle. 

Follow the Following Tips to Learn Process Management Skills

  • Think systematically and divide project management efforts into phases
    • Initiation
    • Planning
    • Execution
    • Monitoring & control
    • Closure
  • Learn how to prepare business case documents
  • Conduct a feasibility study and define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
  • Clearly discuss and communicate processes with other stakeholders
  • Learn some essential skills like
    • Business Process Modelling
    • Data flow diagrams (DFD)
    • HIPO model (hierarchy + input-process-output)
    • Data Modelling
    • Functional Modelling – IDEF0 (integration definition language 0 for function modelling)

Which Courses Can Help?

  1. Lean BPM – Lean Business Process Management Change Skills
  2. Project Integration Management
  3. An Intro to the Technical Processes of Project Management
  4. Project Management Processes Drawn Out!
  5. Six Sigma Tools for Define and Measure

Recommended Books for Avid Readers

  1. Project Management: The Managerial Process (6th Edition) 6th Edition by Erik W Larson 
  2. Operations and Process Management: Principles and Practice for Strategic Impact 5th Edition, by Nigel Slack

3. Risk Management

Every project manager will agree to the fact that effective risk management comes with experience and your bad experiences give you the right learning. Also, the faster you identify the risk the smoothly you can manage it or mitigate it completely. But, along with experience, it is essential to understand the pattern of risks as in the process of product development and delivery, risks can adversely affect people, processes, technology, and resources. 

Follow the Following Tips to Effectively Deploy Risk Management Skills

  • Use a risk assessment tool for taking timely measure to mitigate the risk by considering the following elements:
    • Risk event
    • Risk timeframe
    • Probability of risk
    • Impact of risk
    • Factors causing risk
  • Prepare a ‘Risk Matrix’ to determine your project’s ‘Risk Tolerance’
  • Learn to identify the triggers of risk
  • Acknowledge week points and jump on fortunate opportunities
  • Identify all the secondary risks that can arrive from an existing risk
  • Calculate the possible quality and quantity impact of risk 
  • Plan Risk Responses and take ownerships to mitigate risk

Which Courses Will Help?

  1. Project Risk Management (PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition-aligned)
  2. Risk: Modeling and Management
  3. PMI and RMP
  4. Risk Management
  5. Risk Management Tools and Practices

Recommended Books for Avid Readers

  1. The Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects by Project Management Institute 
  2. Project Management: The Managerial Process (Mcgraw-hill Series Operations and Decision Sciences) by Erik Larson and Clifford Gray

6. Project Management Tools

Most of the companies nowadays use Project management software and tools which are helpful in various tasks. These tools help in relieving product-related administrative workload.

Most of the project managers use tools for:

  • Task management
  • Backlog management
  • User story tools for story mapping
  • Team collaboration 
  • Agile reporting 
  • Analytics 

Some of the most popular project management tools and software you must know are:

  • Basecamp 
  • Asana
  • Podio
  • Work Zone
  • Jira
  • Trello
  • Microsoft project

So, before picking any tool, you must identify your problem, look for a tool that can solve that problem, and learn the ways to effectively use the tool. 

Which Courses Will Help?

  1. Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 Course
  2. Agile Crash Course: Agile Project Management; Agile Delivery
  3. Certified Agile Project Manager – Online Classroom
  4. Project Management Principles, Practices and Systems

Recommended Books for Avid Readers

  1. Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams by Terry Schmidt
  2. THE PERFECT LITTLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT: The World’s First And Only COLOR-CODED, STEP-BY-STEP Project Management Instruction Book!!! By Jackson Pallas 
  3. Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project by Tom Kendrick
  4. The Project Management Tool Kit: 100 Tips and Techniques for Getting the Job Done Right by Tom Kendrick

Which Project Management Certifications You Must Acquire?

Now that you know the skills which you need to introduce in your workspace, it is time to plan and seek essential project management certifications benefits in bagging a good job and handsome salary. 

Consider Taking 5 Best Project Management Certifications:

  1. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  2. Project Management Professional (PMP)
  3. Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB)
  4. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)
  5. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
Certification Eligibility
CAPM
  • High school diploma,
  • Associate’s degree
  • 1,500 hours of project management experience 
  • Or 23 hours of project management education
PMP
  • Four-year degree
  • 4,500 hours of experience in leading project, 
  • Minimum of 35 hours of project management education

Also, Every credential holder must maintain a certificate for which 60 professional development units (PDUs) per each three-year cycle is essential.

CSSGB
  • Hold proven experience of three years (full-time paid position) in at least one Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge areas
  • Internship experience does not count
CSSBB
  • Must finish two projects which have signed project affidavit
  • If only one project is completed, with a single signed affidavit, then an additional three years of experience in at least one Six Sigma Body of Knowledge is must
CSM
  • Must be compatible with Scrum
  • Must take a two-day CSM training course

Check out this article to read more about popular PMP certification.

The Parting Note

We hope this comprehensive list of most in-demand project management skills will help you in advancing your career. Also, do let us know which skill you want to master and how will it help you at your workplace.