In today’s business environment, projects are the means by which work gets done, and it’s the vehicle teams use to deliver on an organization’s strategy and objectives. It should come as no surprise, then, that project skills are in high demand. Many organizations are creating or investing in established project management offices (PMOs).
Project-based work is on the rise across all organizations, meaning some projects are even being managed by non-certified or “unofficial” project managers. While promising, this much opportunity can attract challenges.
As a senior project manager or head of a PMO, it’s important that you assess your teams for skill gaps that may be inhibiting or preventing project success. For many certified project managers, the technical skills are likely there and well-honed, but the struggle is likely in developing and practicing relational or “soft skills.”
If you recognize any of these occurrences in your teams, you likely have a relational skill gap:
The reality is, soft skills are a misnomer; they are often the hardest skill gaps to diagnose, and even harder to address. Given the communications gaps that also fall under the soft skills umbrella, it might be hard for your team to articulate what their challenges even are. All of which forms a self- perpetuating cycle of good project teams failing to make the leap to great project teams.
We know organizations are executing more projects to get more work done—but they are also managing bigger and increasingly transformational projects. This shift in project scale requires a shift in project leadership—and explains why there is a greater demand than ever for technically adept project managers to also master the relational skills that can inspire teams and push a project across the finish line.
When you think of great project leaders, what abilities come to mind? Because your project leaders are ultimately the ones taking you from good project management to great project leadership, it is important that they possess the skills required to drive that kind of transformation.
We’ve identified several key skills your team needs to improve performance:
Managing a PMO and being responsible for all of the projects that contribute to your organization’s success is not an easy job. It’s certainly not made easier when the moving parts and dynamic personalities at play test the limits of your team’s relational skills. The first step in getting off your project plateau and moving your team from good to great is realizing that there are barriers inhibiting project success. If any of the points above have resonated with you, your team might have a skill gap. While instilling relational skills may feel like an adjustment, it’s one that will help you create the culture you need to predictably and repeatedly execute successful initiatives.
Much like technically skills, the best approach to developing relational skills in your team is to invest in targeted training. This training not only benefits the organization, but it signals to talent that you are making an investment in their future and offering them the skills they need to advance in their careers.