Project Manager Skills and Competencies

Project Manager technical Skills and Competencies

Project management is a popular field of business. Its popularity is increasing every day as the size and complexity of the projects increase. Today, most of the projects are more sophisticated and should be performed in an uncertain environment. This is what makes leadership and management more important. Project managers must possess leadership skills and competencies to manage and complete their projects successfully. They must have technical and business skills as well as social ones. Each skill makes a contribution to the leadership so that it is difficult to decide one skill more important than another. It is also difficult to say which of the competencies fit the project manager best to meet the particular requirements of a project. This article discusses the most important project manager technical and non-technical skills that every project manager should have.

Project Success and Project Management

There are many factors that make a contribution to the success of a project. One of the most important factors among others is the effectiveness of the project manager.

Effective project management becomes more challenging in today’s projects which involve many changes and getting increasingly complex. In an organization, the project manager is one of the most important people to deliver a project successfully.  Since the project manager’s performance and project success are strongly linked, the effectiveness of the project manager is essential for any project’s success.

In other words, lack of project manager leadership causes project failure and losses. In order to understand the link between the project success and project manager, project management technical and non-technical skills and competencies should be analyzed.

Project Manager Skills and Competencies

There are many factors affecting the success of a project. The characteristics of the project, business environment, location of the project, team characteristics, technological uncertainty, and other elements have impacts on the project’s goals.

Many writers, researchers, relevant literature, books, and papers give groupings of project manager technical skills and competencies in different forms. They group skills considering technical ability, detail-orientation, leadership, management issues, etc. However, all the projects do not involve the same types of deliverables and they can not be managed with the same type of project manager skills and competencies.

Effective project managers must possess a broad mix of skills and competencies which are related to process, resource, and team management. Communication and planning skills are as important as technical skills for decision-making.

What are the Most Essential Project Manager Skills?

Having project management skills is a must-have for professionals who are authorized to take a project from initiation to completion with more efficiency. Project managers deal with issues, problems, systems, processes as well as people every day. Therefore they need a variety of skills to perform the project. Below are the nine skills that project managers need. Certainly project manager skills are not limited to the following nine but below are the core skills.


All the managers are not leaders vice versa all the leaders are not managers. Leadership and management are two different but complementary terms. Leaders set a vision, inspire people and guide them towards success.


Project managers negotiate with the customers,  contractors, stakeholders, and team members throughout the life of the project. Negotiation is an everyday business for a project manager. Therefore having well negotiation skills is invaluable for any project manager.


One of the main responsibilities of a project manager is to complete the project on time. A project manager must have the ability to control the duration of the project and the activities. Therefore scheduling is a core skill for an effective project manager.

Cost Management

A project manager is responsible to complete the project on budget by meeting the stakeholder’s and the client’s requirements. For effective project cost management, the first thing to do for a project manager is to create a baseline budget and track the project’s cost performance. This is the only way to decide if the project is over or under budget during the execution phase.

Risk Management

All the projects involve risks that have the potential to affect the project’s objectives. Some of the risks may have positive effects, some of them have negative. A project manager can not complete the project without managing and controlling the risks effectively.


Communication is one of the most important skills of this list. For many project managers, project management is all about communicating with people. A Project manager with a lack of strong communication skills is not capable of expressing his/her ideas to the team members. A project manager must also establish good communication channels between the project team and the customer organization.


Coaching is a process of guiding the team and improving their performance. Project managers with coaching skills focus on helping the team to unlock their own potential.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving

Project managers who have critical thinking skills are able to make good decisions to solve problems. They analyze the pros and cons of solutions to problems before choosing the right of them.

Quality Management

It is the project manager’s responsibility to deliver the products with the right quality levels written in the contract. Therefore quality management is an important skill that all project managers should have.


A project manager is responsible for evaluating project information and report them to high-level management. Reporting is an essential way of conveying information to stakeholders. A project manager without reporting skills can not express the current status and the issues of a project. Hence, he/she can’t get support from stakeholders as it should be.


Leadership is a popular and interesting topic in project management. Project leadership has a wide range of meanings. It is clear that successful project management requires effective leadership. The environment within which projects are performed may change and the types of projects may change from one to another. Therefore a static set of project manager skills and competencies can not be applicable to every type of project and business. Project managers who have the required combination of technical and non-technical skills and competencies for the project are the most effective ones. No matter what your role is, improving your skills and competencies makes a contribution to your organization.

See Also

Project Coordinator Skills and Responsibilities

Project Management Dashboard

Leadership Styles

External References

Effective project leadership

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