CPD tips - Ways to improve your project management skills

CPD tips - Ways to improve your project management skills

19 Jul 2023

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Being able to deliver on successful projects is essential to achieving business goals and can provide many advantages regardless of organisational size or industry. The required skills to manage a project efficiently are highly valued in the workplace and can apply to a variety of roles. In this CPD article, we will look at the benefits of developing a project managing skillset, as well as offer some simple tips on how you can improve your project management.

What is Project Management?

According to the Association of Project Management, “a project is a unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits.”

Project management involves numerous methodologies, techniques, and tools that organisations use to manage projects effectively. A project manager must balance the schedule, quality, and budget to achieve the desired goals and outcome. They are responsible for creating a shared vision, ensuring that all tasks are being completed within a timeframe necessary for the successful delivery of a project.

What are Project Management Skills?

If you are a project manager, you will be working with a team to achieve a goal. Most projects are complex and multi-faceted, encompassing a wide amount of skills and responsibilities to initiate, plan, and execute from start to finish. Many of the skills required in project management are transferable between roles and can generally be broken down into the following:

Behavioural / Soft Skills

Leadership: If you are working with a team you need to know how to influence others and inspire them to work efficiently with you. Being able to delegate effectively ensures that everyone understands what’s needed to stay on track. This will boost productivity and help to deliver a successful end result.

Organisation skills: If you are working with a number of different teams or external stakeholders, it is vital that you can keep track of and relay important information to them throughout the project’s life cycle, and so strong organisation skills are valuable.

Problem Solving: When carrying out a task or project, it is essential to be able to break down the problem, find the issue and then be able to come to a resolution. It is important to solve the problem quickly and ensure that progress on the project isn’t affected.

Best project management skills

Communication Skills: You need to be able to communicate clearly what the desired requirements and outcomes and are with internal and external teams, and what is expected from each person. Miscommunication can cause delays, missed deadlines, leading to possibly going over budget.

Team Building: If you are working as a team, everyone must be able to cooperate and understand the goals for the project. You may need to resolve differences due to culture, background, or other reasons. Your objective is to get the project completed on time, to budget and ensure high quality.

Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution: As a project manager you may be coordinating with external teams to ensure any conflicts are resolved and deadlines are met. It is critical to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them before the project begins. But, it is also important to realise that everyone is human and delays or mistakes can happen.

Technical / Hard Skills

Tools: Project Management software, or even Excel and Microsoft can keep you organised and offer a visual representation of how far along your project is. This can ultimately be used to save a lot of unnecessary headaches and help to identity any problems before they occur.

Technology: Different industries will use varying technologies and software. While a project manager will usually have a similar skillset, the technology used in each area can vary. To work as a project manager, you must be confident in understanding and utilising this technology if you want to ensure a successful project.

Methodologies: There are a number of methods of project management used in the professional world. Whilst one isn’t necessarily better than the other, different industries have preferences based on what they have found to be the most effective. Make sure you are aware of these and have working knowledge of the common methodologies used in your line of work.

Benefits of Having a Project Management Skillset

There are a multitude of areas where the ability to manage can be useful. Many of the same skills required will be valuable if you are managing a small team, leading a large-scale project, or if you just want to become more efficient in your current role. Here are some of the key benefits of having a project management skillset.

1. It will make you more productive. Applying time management, scheduling and organisational skills will give you the scope to switch focus between different tasks and get more work done. Software tools can help you track to-do lists and ensure priority tasks are dealt with, so nothing gets forgotten or falls through the cracks.

2. Risk Management. No job will be perfect and no project goes completely smoothly, but if you know each stage of the project management process, you should be able to react if something goes wrong and be able to fix it. If you can respond in a positive manner to alleviate issues, managers or clients may look more favourably on the situation.

3. Learn from previous projects. Everything in life is a learning curve and project management is no different. With experience you will be able to standardise your approach, which will give you more time to monitor each project’s performance and to communicate more effectively with stakeholders to ensure all expectations are being met.

4. Better Employment Prospects: Developing your project management skills through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can enhance a CV, leading to more employment opportunities and a better salary. As projects are transient, this will also allow you to change industries, roles, or work in different countries. Even if you’re not acting directly as a project manager, having this skillset will increase your value as you can implement this knowledge in your own career.

Developing a project management skillset

Tips to improve your Project Management Skills

Working towards developing the skills highlighted in this article will bring us all a step closer to improving our project management. Additionally, there are a few other simple ways for increasing our project management abilities that include:

Tip 1: Complete project management CPD training

Learning from experts will ensure you have the most up-to-date knowledge and build familiarity for the correct terminology and when to use it. CPD training courses can be a useful way to learn how to manage and coordinate a team as well as develop other project related skills. You can read more here.

Tip 2: Start using tools for your own to-do list

Setting your own personal goals or keeping a to-do list online can help you to get used to any new software and improve on organisational skills. This will allow you to prioritise tasks by importance, and to not waste time on those that don’t require your immediate attention, which will be essential when taking on projects.

Tip 3: Sign up for newsletters and blogs from experts in the field

Successful people are often happy to share their expertise and life stories. While practical experience is key, learning from a mentor in your field and those that have a wealth of knowledge in your chosen area is an invaluable way to get helpful tips that you can apply to your own career.

Tip 4: Learn to analyse your own work

At the end of every project you should have a debrief to reflect on what went according to plan or what didn’t go well. Looking at your own work objectively and seeing how you could have done better will ensure a cycle of improvement and lead to greater success in future projects.

Tip 5: Study different methodologies

Examining the methodologies commonly being used will give you a rounded viewpoint so you will be able to find one best suited to your preferences or your organisation’s needs. Different industries or external stakeholders may have specific methods of project management, such as Six Sigma or Agile, for example.

Tip 6: Real World Experience

If you are looking to build a career in project management, you will have to start small before being made responsible for larger projects. Having successful experience will build confidence in your abilities, whether that’s being involved in community, sports groups, side projects, volunteering, freelance work, or looking for opportunities within your current organisation.

Where to find CPD Project Management Training Courses?

Having the right tools and skillset can make all the difference in the success of your project. Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or just starting in your career, CPD project management training will give you the confidence to continually develop yourself in this area. By taking a CPD training course, you can learn from the experience of experts in their field, who will be able to help you towards improving your project management skills.

There are a wide range of accredited project management courses encompassing varying subjects that may be beneficial to undertake. You can search for these in our CPD Courses Catalogue, and there are also numerous educational events, eLearning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars, which have all been formally CPD certified.

How to become an accredited CPD provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, workshops, eLearning or educational events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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