Apr 122016
project fundamentals

Some project managers just seem to have what it takes to be successful at what they do, effectively and efficiently delivering projects over and over again. Yet other project managers seem to struggle to achieve the same success. Of course, the type of project you are involved in has an impact as does the particular business area or industry. An industry which is constantly at the cutting edge of technology may reasonably expect to have less project success stories than an industry that tends to embark on predictable projects of a type they have completed many times before.  So we know the type of industry makes a contribution to the likelihood of success or failure but the skill, experience, behaviours and training of the project manager also have an effect. But is it possible to train anyone to become a successful project manager or are certain necessary attributes simply innate and cannot be taught?

What skills are required for a project manager to be truly effect in the role? What behaviours and attitudes do the most successful PMs have that set them apart from those who are less successful? It is, of course, a mixture of training, their experience, and their natural skills but in what proportions? Can good training make up for a lack of experience and natural skills – can training, in fact, effect a change in natural behaviours and attitudes?

With a range of professional training courses and accreditation available from the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification for novice project managers through to the highest level of PM accreditation the APM Registered Project Professional (APM RPP) there is no shortage of training available that seeks to do more than just teach project management techniques and tools. These training course also seek to change behaviours and attitudes and teach new “soft skills” such as people management and communication skills and are delivered in an engaging, practical way using a range of training materials such as podcasts and animated videos such as the one below.



Some of these soft skills come naturally to certain people who instinctively understand how to motivate a project team and how to develop a good working relationship by communicating openly and on a personal level. It may not be possible to completely change someone’s innate personality but the right training and role models in the workplace can help develop traits in a PM to make them much more effective at managing projects and the people involved on the projects.

The most successful project managers are good at:

  • planning and managing a project
  • monitoring and controlling risk and change
  • staying focused on the project goals
  • understanding the detailed tasks required

They are also natural optimists with great communication skills who are able to motivate a team to ensure the project is delivered at the right cost, within deadline and that it actually delivers on the anticipated business benefits.

In summary, a project manager requires time to develop experience, along with technical competence in PM techniques and tools; and soft project management skills such as confidence, optimism, motivational abilities and effective communication. Some project managers may start their career already with these soft skills but good project management training will help those less fortunate to learn how to develop these soft skills.

Oct 172013
project fundamentals

There are few career paths with more stability than that of a project manager. In the opinion of many top employers, project management skills even trump tech skills when it comes to the ability to place individuals as well as the longevity of employment. Technological skills can quickly become obsolete, but project management skills are evergreen – best practices may change but the fundamentals of project management remain the same. There is also a defined training a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) route for professional project managers right from the basic levels such as the APM Project Fundamentals qualification right up to highly advanced accreditation such as the APM Registered Project Professional APM RPP. The ability to manage to completion a series of complex, inter-dependent tasks will always be an employable skill.

Below are the basics of project management.

1 – Organization and multitasking

In order to be an effective project manager, you must learn how to lead many tasks at once. You should be a big picture thinker who understands how the smaller compartmentalized parts of a project fit together. People are much more likely to become energized when they understand exactly why they are doing what they are doing.

2 – Leadership skills

Believe it or not, leadership can be learned: Project managers are not born; they are made.

Team members are always looking for a leader; this is the nature of groups. As project manager, you are helping to take the load of leadership off of the more technically minded individuals in a project. They will look to you for the complete picture.

3 – Communication skills

In order to create synergy between employees of different disciplines, you must be able to speak the language of everyone who is involved with a project. Although everyone may be speaking English, the marketing department speaks in an entirely different lingo from the IT department. Left to their own devices, they will misunderstand each other at every turn, cutting down on the efficiency of the project.

4 – Learn when to negotiate

There are times to negotiate and times not to. Project managers must understand when to stand firm and when to give a little.

5 – Details, details, details

Although a project manager will be a big picture thinker, he or she must also be well in tune with the details of a project from all angles. Part of being able to communicate with employees from all departments is having a basic knowledge of their disciplines. The best way to learn this is to become as intimately involved as possible in the details of each department.

6 – Becoming a timely problem solver

Not only does a project manager have to solve problems, but he or she has to solve problems within the time schedule that the project allows for. Because the project manager will usually be the one who sets up the flowchart for the project, he or she will certainly be the most knowledgeable when it comes to the timeframe in which certain bottlenecks must be taken care of.

7 – Tech skills

A project manager must be ready to fill in for any department, kind of like an understudy. This means learning basic technical skills.

If being a project manager sounds like the career for you, then you owe it to yourself to consider the courses that are offered by Parallel Project Training. Parallel Project Training can give you the skill set that you will need to leverage your way into the company of your choice. People with the organizational and technical skills that you will have upon graduation are in short order and high demand by the best businesses in the world, and you will have the tools that you need to thrive within that environment.

The Parallel Project Training program is an APM accredited project management training company which keeps up with the latest skill sets and technologies that are relevant to employers in the modern business landscape.