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7 Must-Have Project Management Skills for IT Pros

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Jan. 16, 2013
A good--or bad--project manager can make the difference between a project coming in on time and on budget and it being a failure. How can you spot a good project manager? CIO.com talked to experts and IT executives to find out.

Skill No. 4: Know how and when to negotiate."Project managers must be excellent negotiators," says Brock Boddie, an associate program director at Huge, a global digital agency. "You're very often dealing with people who have divergent interests from your own or who appear to have no interest in understanding what you're trying to accomplish and why they should help you or fully participate," he says.

"A good project manager will invest time to understand and negotiate these relationships and figure out these stakeholder's interests, so that she can triangulate what will make her project continue to move forward. Without these negotiating skills, you may spoil or ignore these critical relationships, making project success highly unlikely," Boddie says.

Skill No. 5: Be detail-oriented. "Project management is all about the details--big ones and small ones," says Aziz Kara, head of Product Management and Design at Xtreme Labs, a mobile app and product developer. Therefore, project managers must be "meticulous about managing the details of every project and the impact each detail may have on the overall project success. Details can make or break a project, and the effective PM recognizes that."

Skill No. 6: Recognize and solve problems quickly."Inevitably, there will be times when problems and obstacles arise that involve immediate solutions," notes Michael Pesochinsky, cofounder and vice-president of GovernmentBargains.com, a free site that compiles and provides information about government auctions. "How a project manager handles these problems will separate him from the others."

Skill No. 7: Possess the necessary technical skills. To be a good project manager, you "must have solid knowledge of the platforms, software and programs that your company regularly works with, even if your job is not actually technical," says Joel Gross, the founder and CEO of Coalition Technologies, a Web design and marketing firm.

And "a great project manager needs to have enough technical knowledge about areas of the project to be able to assign themselves to some of the tasks," adds Bob Herman, the owner of Tropolis Group, which provides IT, mobile and social media management services to companies. Why? "Assigning yourself to some of the project tasks and successfully completing those tasks on time helps you earn the respect you need to successfully manage the project team."

 

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