In Project Management?

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In project management, what soft skills are the most important for success?

Soft skills for successful project management fall under client relations and staff relations. Here are examples of the most important ones. These were drawn from a seminar and reference guide I developed on “Effective Project Management for Consultants.” Effective Client Relations 1. Treat the client with respect, patience, tolerance, as an equal, as a benefactor, but never as an adversary. 2. Keep the client informed on project progress, approaches, budget status and problems. 3. Get the client’s input into job planning, data collection and analysis methods, and report and presentation contents. 4. Discuss findings and recommendations with the client before preparing final presentation or report. 5. Basic human relations principles applied to client relations. Be sensitive to the client’s needs and concerns. Help make the client look good. Show interest in the client persons as individuals. On occasion, let the client vent. Don’t make excuses for delays and problems. Always make the client feel you are in control. Effective Staff Relations 1. Lead, control and motivate to produce high quality products via the collective accomplishments of the team. 2. Need to be able to multiply yourself by delegating parts of the job to be done. 3. Get responsive sense of urgency throughout the engagement. 4. Develop a detailed work plan. 5. Set an example. Positive attitude. Be around at the end when a deliverable is due. Respect for the client. Emphasis on quality and meeting deliverables. Emphasis on expense control and staying within budget. 6. Build staff’s interest. Involve staff in project strategy sessions. Let team members assume some of your responsibilities. Let staff be visible to the client. Seek input and advice of staff, especially senior staff. 7. Basic human relations principles applied to staff relations. Show interest in staff as individuals. Be lavish in praise and moderate in criticism. Be sensitive to varying interests, skills and personalities. Don’t criticize staff to client or to other staff. 8. Make a concerted effort to develop staff capabilities. A major responsibility of the project manager. Delegate tasks. Let staff give presentations. Provide feedback on staff products. Discuss staff development needs with partner.

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Provide career guidance to staff. 9. Be aware of the needs of staff and manage staff. Be responsive. Be considerate. 10. Ensure that all aspects of the project flow smoothly and product is delivered. Be the first to identify the potential failure areas and develop plans to address them. 11. In a nutshell: 1. Create a positive work environment; 2. Provide an environment conducive to staff development and achievement; 3. Ensure a productive working environment; 4. Plan for continuous progress with no major disruptions. I know this is overwhelming for the reader and I hope they found it helpful.

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