Top 10 "project management skills"

In one article, published by TechRepublic on 2003, authors identify and examine the 10 basic skills of project management:
  1. Define the project
  2. Plan the work
  3. Manage the workplan
  4. Manage issues
  5. Manage scope
  6. Manage risks
  7. Manage communication
  8. Manage documentation
  9. Manage quality
  10. Manage metrics
There are, also, another two importants skills to be considered:
  • People management
  • Contract and procurement management
Although, authors consider that 'people management' is a project “manager” skill, but not necessarily a project “management” skill.
And in the second case, because, in most organizations, the management of contracts and vendors is something that project managers need to know about, but aren’t responsible for. In most companies, a legal department and/or procurement department is responsible for these disciplines

Let's see in what consists each of these 10 top skills:

1. Define the project
Before the project work begins, as the project manager, you must make sure that the work is properly understood and agreed to by the project sponsor and key stakeholders.
You’ll work with the sponsor and stakeholders to ensure that the project team and the client have common perceptions of what the project will deliver, when it will be complete, what it will cost, who will do the work, how the work will be completed, and what the benefits will be.

2. Plan the work
When you define the project, you make sure that you have an agreement with the project sponsor on what work should be completed in this project. In this stage, you determine how the work will be completed.
This involves building the project workplan.
you can use the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Once all of the work has been uncovered, you can sequence the activities and identify dependencies between activities. At this point, the WBS has been converted to a Network Diagram.
Next, you add resources (workers) for each activity. You then add the effort hours, and the beginning and ending dates for each activity.

3. Manage the workplan
As the project manager, you must evaluate the workplan on an ongoing basis (perhaps weekly) and determine the current state of the project.
During this weekly review, you’ll update the workplan with the current state of work that is completed and in progress. You’ll evaluate the remaining work to see if the project will be completed within the original effort, cost, and duration plans. If it can, you are in good shape. If it cannot, you must implement corrective action

4. Manage issues
An “issue” arises when a problem will impede the progress of the project and cannot be resolved by the project manager and project team without outside help.
Issues management has two major components. The first is having a process to uncover issues, determine their impact on the project, examine alternatives, and bring in people to make the best decision under the circumstances. The second component of issues management is applying specific problem-solving techniques to resolve issues.

5. Manage scope
The purpose of scope change management is to protect the viability of the current, approved Project Definition.
During the life of a project, there may be a need for items that are different from, or not included in, the original Project Definition; this is to be expected. The project team will identify the new requirements and determine the impact to the project if the new requirements are included. The information is then taken to the sponsor for approval.

6. Manage risk
Risk refers to future conditions or circumstances that exist outside of the control of the project team that will have an adverse impact on the project if they occur.
Whereas an issue is a current problem that must be dealt with, a risk is a potential problem.
Proactive project managers try to identify and resolve potential problems before they occur. This is the science and art of risk management.

7. Manage communication
Properly communicating on a project is critical for managing the clients and the shareholders.
There are two levels of communicating on projects.
First, all projects should communicate status. However, if your project is larger, more complex, or more politically charged, you need a higher and more sophisticated level of communication defined in a Communication Plan.

8. Manage documents
Document management is an aspect of project management that many project managers take for granted until they’re inundated with hundreds of documents.
It’s better to estimate the volume of project and project management documentation you think the project will produce, establish the proper processes and rules to organize the documentation, and then manage the documentation during the project to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control.

9. Manage quality
Quality is represented by how close the project and deliverables come to meeting the client’s requirements and expectations.
Quality is ultimately measured by the client.
The project team should strive to meet or exceed the client's requirements and expectations.
The Quality Plan also contains the two general quality processes: quality control and quality assurance.

10. Manage metrics
Gathering metrics on a project is the most sophisticated project management process, and can be the hardest.
All projects should be gathering basic metric information regarding cost, effort, and cycle time. However, you must also collect metrics that determine how well the deliverables satisfy the client’s expectations and how well the internal project delivery processes are working. Depending on the results, you can undertake corrective action or process improvement activities to make the processes more efficient and effective.

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