Skills You Need Before Becoming a Project Manager

by Andrew Arena on LinkedIn

Are you considering a career in construction project management? If you are, then there are some specific skills that you should become familiar with as you develop your skills as a leader. If you are already a project manager, then honing these skills will give you new opportunities to increase the size and scope of projects that you work on. Here are just a few tools you will need:

  • An extremely good sense of organization. Being a construction project manager means dealing with multiple moving parts all at the same time. From the foreman to the architect, the project manager is ultimately responsible for making sure that tasks are completed on time so that the project stays on track. While you may not have to supervise each and every person on the project – and no construction project manager does – you do need to have a focus on organization and a sense of what to do and when it needs to get done.
  • Financial dexterity. Many companies have a controller or bookkeeper who manages a project’s budgeting and payments. That said, it is critical for construction project managers to understand how budgets are created, how dollars are allocated and how to analysis the basic costing of the project. If you don’t have a basic understanding of cost accounting, taking an online class, course work at a local community college or a weekend seminar can make a big difference in your level of understanding construction cost accounting.
  • An ability to communicate effectively. Communicating openly and directly, respecting others input and disarming the argumentative types provides a proactive solution to completing your project and will keep you on track to a successful completion. This translates into leading from the front to keep construction moving. Every construction project manager spends a good deal of their time talking to others. Learning effective communication skills will help you manage more effectively.
  • Basic negotiation skills. Working to get a project moving forward through change order negotiation can be a challenging task. What will you do when you’re at the table ready to review and negotiate a change order? Know your scope of work like the back of your hand. Preparation is everything. Put yourself in the shoes of the person your negotiating against and think of counterpoints they may bring up. Try to think like them so you can counter their every move. The proper preparation can make the difference between making money and losing money at the table. Ask your senior manager or direct supervisor to sit in on change order negotiations they are doing so that you can experience how they work. Starting with small sum change orders and working your way up to larger sum change orders is a great place strategy for developing your negotiation skills.
  • Being technologically savvy. Technology has made construction project management much easier. With the advent of software packages (like Construction Pro Manager!), contractors and project managers on a day-to-day basis can manage and track construction generated documentation more efficiently. Like a carpenter uses a hammer to frame a wall, so does a construction management professional use technology to manage their project related documentation. Technology is a great tool to stay organized during the construction process.

Learn these skills for the best project opportunities and career options.


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