We developed Verto’s cloud-based software to make the work of project managers easier. Because we know what a complex and demanding role it can be.


We understand how busy you are. That you’re managing people, resources, finances and time. You’re reporting on progress and outcomes. And you’re monitoring and evaluating your projects every step of the way.


With all this responsibility, to be effective project managers need to have a broad range of skills. We think there are five key ones that provide the foundation for all the others. These skills are also transferable, so whatever type of project you manage, they’re relevant to you.



  1. Effective project managers can communicate well


Communication is effective when the person receiving the information finds it easy to understand, knows why it’s relevant to them and is clear about any response they’re expected to make.


So whether you’re sharing information verbally or in writing you should be thinking about who you’re communicating with and why.


For example, what’s the best way to communicate something? Does everyone need a whole report or would a summary be enough? What do you want people to do once they’ve had the information?


Get this right and it’s more likely people will listen to you and read what you send. Get it wrong and you could end up being ignored.


And remember, communication works both ways when you’re talking to someone face-to-face. So be aware of your body language and use it to let people know you’re interested and listening.



  1. Effective project managers can lead


Although you may not be making key decisions about a project, project managers do have a leadership role. You need to inspire people to commit to the project and then help maintain their energy and enthusiasm throughout it.


You also need to lead by example. You help set the tone for how people communicate with each other. You make it the norm for people to stick to deadlines. You show how working to the processes you’ve agreed help keep the project moving forward and running smoothly. And, by accepting responsibility yourself, you help others do the same for the tasks assigned to them.



  1. Effective project managers can negotiate


Most projects involve different organizations, different specialisms and a wide range of people, all of which are likely to have competing interests and priorities. As project manager you need to make sure these differences are overcome so the project has the resources and commitment it needs to succeed.


To do this you need to be an effective negotiator. You have to balance the needs of the project with the needs of the different people involved, maintaining their support and the project’s momentum. Not an easy task, but an essential one.



  1. Effective project managers can manage risk


Effective risk management is being aware of everything that could go wrong and having plans in place so you can respond quickly if the worst does happen. As a project progresses the risks can change so the risk management plan must change too.


As an effective project manager you can’t ignore or hide any potential risk. And you need to monitor your project carefully so you know when risks become more likely and when they pass.



  1. Effective project managers can manage meetings


Any project, however small, is going to involve meetings. However much we may moan about them, meetings are vital to keep everyone informed and connected, to make decisions and to keep a project moving forward.


To be an effective project manager you need to recognize this and manage the meetings you run carefully. For example, you need to keep to the agenda you’ve set, only invite the people who need to be there and don’t try to cover too much in one meeting.



Because well-run meetings are so important to a project’s success, we’re going to look in more detail at how to manage them in a future post.


To find out more about how Verto can support your project management please call us on 0844 870 8785 or message us here.


PS: If we were to include a sixth skill we think it would have to be a sense of humour!