3 skills you need to succeed in Project Management
The Masters of Project Management (MPM) is a well-known program offered by the UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. This widely endorsed program is recognised by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is designed to enhance the knowledge, experience and careers of both aspiring and experienced project managers.
Courtney Krahe completed her Masters of Project Management in 2021. Starting as an Event Manager at Aerial UTS Function Centre, Courtney realised quickly that in such a small team, career progression was going to be difficult. At the end of her three-year tenure, she began to look at alternative career options that would utilise her current skillset but allowed her to progress up the corporate ladder. After a bit of research, she landed on Project Management. The program made sense: it allowed her to pivot to another industry while also growing and utilising her current skills.
I sat down with Courtney, who works in the Faculty of Health on the Evaluation of the National Diabetes Services Scheme. She has recommended the following three key skills for anyone looking to succeed in Project Management:
1. Communication Skills
In all projects, there will be a variety of important stakeholders and the project manager is the translational conduit between them all. An important skill for project managers is the ability take this technical information and translate it to someone without the technical knowledge. The number one thing for project managers, Courtney says, is the understanding that all stakeholders may approach things differently and it is a skill worth learning to ensure that everyone understands the same information to complete the project.
If you are struggling with communication, UTS HELPS provides language and literacy support to all UTS students.
Governance, Courtney says with a smile, is one of those things that project managers hate to do but is so important (and a great way to resolve tricky situations!). Governance as defined by the Governance Institute of Australia is:
“The system by which an organisation is controlled and operates, and the mechanisms by which it, and its people, are held to account. Ethics, risk management, compliance and administration are all elements of governance.” (X)
Like all things in life, it is important to not miss the finer details of your project. Understanding the contract, who to speak to in a particular situation, the potential ramifications of certain decisions whilst simply understanding the roles of those involved will allow you to stay ahead.
3. Time Management
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. The number one piece of advice I can give to any project manager is to understand your hard deadlines and then working backwards. You want to make sure that you include buffers as this will allow you a little bit more leeway in terms of submission dates as well as give you a little bit of wiggle room to make any last-minute changes.
Courtney expresses that these buffers are dependent on your industry as when studying MPM, a large percentage of her cohort came from a construction background whose delays were often associated with weather or things out of their control. However, when you build in contingencies, these impacts will feel less intense. Is there a rule of thumb for buffer? Courtney shares that in her previous role, they had a two-week buffer in order to manage all the resources needed.
Lastly, I asked Courtney what advice she would give to current students who are looking to undertake Project Management to pivot careers and/or industries.
She says to do your research, know your strengths, understand your niche and appreciate that a project could be more than just building a bridge—it could be evaluating a national scheme, implementing an IT system or even managing the Olympics.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels
Careers Community Coordinator
Nadine currently works as a Careers Community Coordinator at UTS Careers. She previously spent four years in the work integrated learning space and has now transitioned into employability and student career support. She is passionate about fashion, civil rights, hot pot and helping students find their way on their career journey.