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10 Core Project Management Skills and Competencies by 2021

Jerri Coningham

Project management is an essential skill for any modern business environment. An indicator of the market’s demand for project managers is the constant increase in their salaries worldwide.

The responsibility for project management is not only the job of project managers. It’s a competitive market, and you have to expand your competence and skillset across spheres continually.

Let’s deep in to dive 10 Key Project Management Skills & Competencies by 2021

Sometimes functional managers or department heads assume the project manager’s duties, but they don’t get the title. Suppose you’re someone setting foot into the world to know about project management or an accidental project manager being handed the responsibilities of one. In that case, you need to have the following set of skills to manage projects.

1. Leadership skills

This is perhaps one of the essential skills aspiring managers need to master in project management. You have many options for leadership styles to use in motivating and leading your team. Any effective leader knows when to delegate tasks to the team members and when to take control.

Project managers must be aware that there is a difference between managing and leading. Management is following specific established processes and project management methodologies and ensuring others follow them too.

2. Effective communication

This soft skill is essential for effective leadership. It doesn’t matter how great your vision is or how inspiring you want to make your team members feel; it won’t change if you cannot communicate your point clearly.

Furthermore, project managers often spend significant time dealing with stakeholders and third parties such as contractors and vendors. Therefore, project managers need to practice better communication skills.

3. Planning and strategic planning

This skill is crucial for any project manager. All typical project manager tasks, like organizing and prioritizing tasks, monitoring progress, and making decisions based on the situation, require a certain level of a project plan.

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Cost management is another crucial skill. Every project has a financial constraint. With proper planning, you can ensure that your project remains safe from unnecessary delays in project and budget shortages.

4. Management of teams

Project management requires that you are organized and can manage people. You must use all available resources efficiently and make sure your team is the best resource they have.

People from different departments often work together in project teams. However, it’s challenging to bring people together and assign tasks based on their expertise.

5. Time management, scheduling and planning

“Time” is not only what we want to use most. It is also what we do worst with. Project managers and non-project managers have been practising time management for an extended period. Even the simplest tasks require good time management. This is why you’ll need it for your projects.

Modern project managers are equipped with a variety of tools to manage this vital task. For example, many project management applications come with project scheduling and tracking features.

6. Task management skills

All these skills must be interconnected, as you will have seen. Your project tasks will not be clearly defined and organized. The project can fail quickly or take too long.

As a project manager, it is your job to recognize which tasks can and cannot be accomplished simultaneously and which tasks have dependent tasks. A project manager who can identify these little details and design the most efficient system can be distinguished from others.

7. Risk mitigation

No matter how simple a project seems, risks will always exist. Many things can go wrong. A task that appears simple could end up causing significant problems. As a project manager, you must reduce the risk of failure and plan accordingly.

Skilled project management professionals can often spot potential problems in advance and suggest a way to mitigate them.

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8. Expert negotiation skills

You need to know when you should compromise and when you should stand firm for everyone to win.

This job requires you to make compromises and get what you want. You’ll have to find a middle ground with your company’s management to get the necessary resources, negotiate achievable timelines in the project, handle other stakeholders, and expertly manage your team.

9. Critical thinking

Critical thinking can be a valuable project management skill. It will allow you to stay positive, even in times of trouble. It is vital to be able to make crucial decisions in a structured manner. This objective approach allows you to make decisions that aren’t affected by external forces.

Being a good manager requires critical thinking. Even with careful planning, surprises may happen. Therefore, it’s crucial to save everything possible for the project to go smoothly.

10. The right tools

Modern project managing is not an easy task. First, you need to have the right skills and tools. Second, you should be able to identify and evaluate the right project management software for your requirements.


It can be challenging to manage multiple responsibilities simultaneously when you are responsible for a project. However, this burden can be lessened if you keep your mind in check and improve your skills.

Project Management software manages the project and checks for performance as well. It automates & streamlines all the daily tasks and improves efficiency. Projects can be created and tasks can be assigned to individuals and managed through a single portal. Ultimate Business System (UBS) offers project management software that ensures efficient project management in the organization.

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