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Essential Skills for Project Managers… and Then Some
09/30/2015
Alecia Chandler's picture
Author:
Alecia Chandler

On time. Under budget. Within scope. This is the foundation for success of every project manager. But what about client satisfaction? Today's project managers need to have the ability to wear multiple hats at varying times throughout a project for the project to truly be successful.

In my earlier days of project management, I recall stressing over every dollar of the budget and having my RAID log updated with every single action, decision that was made. Don't get me wrong - no discredit to the trilogy intended; however, when the focus is so utterly granular, the big picture becomes hazy. We lose the ability to anticipate our client's needs and proactively guide the project to the ideal end state. In addition, as organizations adopt the agile practice, it becomes increasingly difficult to capture virtually every detail of the project. 

Through years of firsthand experience as well as watching others falter, it has become clear to me that the key to starting a project on the road to success is to identify the key strengths and weaknesses of the project team and bridge the gap.  In building a partnership and gaining the trust of your client, it creates a neutral environment for the project to flourish. But it doesn't stop there - our equilibrium can quickly be thrown off balance if we aren't cognizant to the client's perception.There's a great deal to be said about a person's facial expressions, gestures, voice tone, etc. - all of which provide better insight than the spoken word - in addition to needs that may not be asked outright or that the client may not even recognize as a requirement themselves. Having the ability to recognize a change in perception and "read between the lines" empowers a project manager to prevent unnecessary risk to a project and ensure client satisfaction.

Put your hats on project managers - keep the trilogy in sight, and listen to your client.

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