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Necessary Skills For a Project Manager

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According to Kathy Schwalbe's "Information Technology Project Management," a project manager is essential if a project is to be a successful endeavour. Of course, a project manager must strive to embody a skill set that will set them apart from other project members and stakeholders.

One primary skill that a project manager should have is the ability to anticipate and oversee the project in its entirety. Such a skill requires thorough planning and the foresight to see possible risks that could be problematic. Schwalbe makes notes of these possible project issues, or constraints, in terms of scope, time, and cost: the triple constraint. A project manger has to oversee the project as a whole, this means recognizing and appreciating the value of long-term goals. The scope anticipates the the expectations of the customers and sponsors as well as the end result. Additionally, a project manager has to be able to schedule and manage a time line. Lastly, the cost of the project must be anticipated and tracked in a manner that holds everyone accountable. Though my experience is limited, when I worked as Repair Parts Petty Officer, I was in charge of managing small, short-term projects. As the leader, I had to write a plan that oversaw the scope of the project, manage my time as well as the time of my workers, and have all costs approved prior to enacting any part of the plan. The difficulty in all of this came when I had to seek approval from multiple sources, the communication process proved difficult, and delayed the project.

Another skill that is essential for a successful project manager is the ability to communicate well with all other agents involved in the project. A manager must "facilitate the entire process to meet the needs and expectations of people involved in project activities or affected by them" (Schwalbe, 2014, p.9.). For any leader, it is imperative to have great communication and mediation skills in order to manage human resources well. When a project is in motion, and even before then, there are many human variables that affect the project's success. The ability to facilitate purposeful and fruitful discussions, that yield results, is crucial to a project. A manager has to put aside personal opinions and biases in order to remain objective and respected, especially in order to meet the expectations of the customer and investors. In relation to running projects as a manager for Repair Parts, I soon realized I had to stifle my frustrations with the project delays and continue to facilitate communications between various stakeholders who needed to approve project costs. In hindsight, I wish I had done more research and gained the upper hand in the process to avoid delays.

A project manager has to guarantee he or she is informed of all knowledgable areas in regards to the project itself. This implies that research is conducted and case studies reviewed so that all angles of the project can be anticipated and analyzed. By gaining all possible knowledge, the quality of the project will be improved and the likelihood of pleasing all stakeholders involved. In my experience, I now make sure to communicate with others who've held similar positions so that I can gain first hand knowledge of all possible outcomes/scenarios for the project in question. Since I've intentionally sought out knowledge, the efficiency and quality of projects I've handled has greatly improved. As a result, my bosses have been much more pleased and eager to let me handle more difficult and pressing projects.

Schwalbe, K. (2014). Information technology Project Management. 7th Ed. Boston, MA. Cengage Learning.

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The author makes a good point that a project manager "must strive to embody a skill set that will set them apart from other project members and stakeholders." By being able to evaluate the entire project and anticipate needs, the project manager is apt to be better prepared for potential issues and ready to address them. Critical issues that affect the success of the project include the ability of the project manager to complete the project within the scope, time and budget of the project. These items must be managed throughout the length of the project, with the project manager engaging in ...

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This solution, complete with APA formatted reference, discusses the role of the project manager, is a response to a post.