Essential Project Manager Technical Skills
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated January 22, 2023
Published June 21, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Project managers handle the implementation and completion of various projects. The successful management of these projects requires a variety of technical skills, also known as hard skills. Developing your hard skills can be an excellent way to succeed as a project manager. In this article, we discuss what a project manager is, why technical skills are important, and which project manager technical skills are essential to advance your career.
What is a project manager?
A project manager is responsible for planning and organizing a business's projects. Part of the organizational aspect of the job requires project managers to ensure that the strategic plan is going according to budgets and deadlines.
Project managers are involved in projects from the moment they begin to the moment they're complete. They try to find ways to lower project costs and increase overall efficiency. This profession requires candidates to manage the team involved in the project. This involves navigating interpersonal relationships and motivating employees to do their best.
Why are technical skills important for project managers?
Project managers require technical skills because they need to navigate all aspects of the projects they oversee. Technical work takes up a large portion of the work project managers do, which is why recruiters look for someone with valuable and relevant technical skills.
Project manager technical skills to develop
Here is a list of technical skills every project manager should have:
Knowledge of IT infrastructure
Project managers need to have extensive knowledge of IT systems to manage their projects efficiently. By having this knowledge, project managers can predict more desirable outcomes for projects and align projects with company values. It's useful to know about IT infrastructure because project managers frequently need to communicate with the IT department or other IT experts.
They'll also need to convey technical information to the marketing and sales departments on various technical components of their projects. Having knowledge of IT infrastructure allows project managers to relay this information to people who otherwise do not have this foundational knowledge.
Project managers should be able to do significant research because they need to understand every aspect of the project they're working on. Project managers perform research to review current project documentation, as well as past project documentation.
Project managers also need to answer employees' questions as and when they arise. They should research any information that pertains to the project's target audience. Adequate, effective research is essential to a project's success.
Knowledge of communication tools
A project manager needs to have the right form of communication if they're going to lead their team. By having the right tools in place, project managers can ensure that all team members agree and that they're receiving the same information.
There are communication tools available online that provide project managers with a space for their entire team to converse as a unit. These tools keep conversations focused and ensure that all employees are on the same page. Moreover, some communication tools also allow project managers to invite their clients or other companies to be part of important conversations.
Project managers sometimes need to be prepared to take significant risks while a project is being developed. Risk management requires project managers to predict risks by performing assessments. When performing risk assessments, they must determine the probability of a risk occurring, the outcome of these risks, and mitigation plans.
Another important aspect of project management is budgeting. Project managers need to manage budgets and finances to successfully new products and projects. During the initial stages of the project, project managers need to create a budget depending on available resources and needs. The project manager then needs to identify where funding can be allocated and where cuts need to be made to reduce overall costs. Once the project is underway, project managers will track expenses and costs to make sure the project is staying on track.
Knowledge of technology
Project managers need to be up-to-date with the latest innovations and technology. They should always be researching tools that can help increase their team's efficiency and reduce project costs. Investing in new technological tools will allow them to finish their project sooner and increase the team's overall output.
Technological tools available online provide project managers with an all-in-one platform to assign tasks, revise work, and track time. Using these tools allows project managers to increase productivity and efficiency.
Project managers need to know how to write technically. With this skill, project managers can draft any documents required for the project to succeed. For example, they may need to prepare risk assessments, develop outcome projections and develop budget analyses. In doing so, project managers ensure that involved parties can make informed decisions about projects.
Here is a list of some tasks project managers can perform with technical writing tools:
Project managers can collect data from previous projects and produce reports for resource allocation. These forecasts then provide outcome projections based on the data collected.
Project managers can track their team's progress by receiving status updates as tasks advance. Project managers are also provided with reports that track how the project is progressing along its timeline, which they can then compile to report to stakeholders.
Project managers can manage their budgets more effectively by setting budgets and time limits. If their project is nearing the end of these resources, the project manager will be immediately notified.
Some tools allow project managers to monitor risks associated with their projects and the potential consequences of those risks for the rest of the company.
Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation provide project managers and stakeholders with information about how a project is developing and can identify potential obstacles or successes. Monitoring a project's metrics allows project managers to understand the possible outcomes, efficiency and forecasted performance.
Monitoring and evaluation software collects project data so the project manager can report it to their supervisors and stakeholders. With this tool, project managers can also import data from external sources to contribute to reports.
Project managers need to plan entire projects from their implementation to their completion. In their plan, project managers include additional considerations like resource limitations, mitigation plans, and risks. Here are the steps involved in project planning:
Stakeholders: Project managers start their plans by identifying the project stakeholders.
Roles: The project manager identifies the various qualifications needed to complete the project. They can then determine which employees to recruit for the project.
Meeting: Here, project managers meet with their team and stakeholders to discuss factors like budget, resources, and the end goal of the project.
Project goals: Project managers need to identify their project's scope, budget and deadline. Then, they divide the project into tasks for individual employees.
Deliverables: Project managers divide deliverables between employees by matching employee qualifications to specific variables.
Timeline: With this, project managers will break the project down into stages with an expected due date for each one. There needs to be some leeway between stages should any obstacles prolong the timeline for any phase.
Assessment: Project managers perform assessments or analyses like risk assessments to develop mitigation strategies for any challenges that arise during the project.
Information handling: Finally, project managers will relay the information to stakeholders and team members to ensure everyone understands their role.
Some tools allow project managers to assign tasks to particular team members, gather information, and communicate with team members on a single platform. Team members are also provided with reminders when deadlines are nearing.
When developing projects for particular clients, it's standard practice to have a contract drafted. Project managers will play a part in creating and implementing contract development. They must know about the legal implications of the project, resource allocation and the role of the stakeholders. Contract managers may also include findings from their risk assessments in the drafted contract.
Knowledge of regulations
Project managers should have extensive knowledge of different regulations and policies. This is because various health and environmental challenges can arise throughout the project. As a project manager, you need to understand the parameters within which you can operate. This can prevent issues from arising in the first place or can solve issues more quickly.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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