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The Top Soft Skills of a Project Manager [Project Management Fundamentals]

[fa icon="calendar'] 03-Sep-2020 11:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Project Management

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A good project manager needs to develop both hard skills and soft skills. 

While hard skills are all about knowledge and execution according to project management standards (e.g. knowing how to create a project charter, how to do agile etc.) and are easier to learn, soft skills need years practising and mastering. 

Some people are born with a natural ability to be great project managers, others need to cultivate their soft skills more. 

Regardless, to be a great project manager, today we will cover the top soft skills that you need. 

This is a continuation of my series on project management fundamentals - if you missed the previous topics, here's what we've covered before: the differences between projects and operations, projects, programmes and portfolios, the DARCI model for stakeholder engagement, how to run an effective project kick-off meetinghow to create a project charter and how to create a work breakdown structure.

Now to the top soft skills of a project manager.  

The Top Soft Skills of a Project Manager [Project Management Fundamentals]

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How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure [Project Management Fundamentals]

[fa icon="calendar'] 03-Jul-2020 09:30:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Project Management

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Today, we continue with our project management fundamentals series. 

So far we've covered the differences between projects and operations as well as those between projects, programmes and portfolios, the DARCI model for stakeholder engagement followed by how to run an effective project kick-off meeting and lastly, how to create a project charter

Now, we'll look at another crucial piece of project management and probably my favourite one as I love looking at the details and planning the execution - the work breakdown structure or WBS. 

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is basically the breakdown of all deliverables into smaller components. The goal of the WBS is to organise the project team so they can work in manageable sections. 

The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) by the Project Management Institute (PMI)defines the WBS as a “deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team.”

The WBS starts with the end objectives and then divides them into smaller components (called work packages) again and again in terms of size, duration and responsibilities until they can't be broken down any more and until they allow to complete all the steps necessary to achieve the objectives.

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How to Create a Project Charter [Project Management Fundamentals]

[fa icon="calendar'] 06-May-2020 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Project Management

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The most important document when you're at the very start of a new project is the project charter.

This is what we will look at today as part of my series on project management fundamentals - if you missed previous posts, we've so far covered the differences between projects and operations as well as those between projects, programmes and portfolios, the DARCI model for stakeholder engagement and how to run an effective project kick-off meeting

Now, let's get into our topic for today.

What's a project charter? 

The project charter is the formal, relatively short document that describes the most important thing about your project - its objectives, benefits to be achieved, the scope incl. key deliverables and timelines, the people to be involved, KPIs for the project and any known/expected risks. 

According to PMBOK, the project charter officially authorises the project and as such, you can begin working on it as it gives you the authority to do so as the project manager.

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How to Run an Effective Project Kick-off Meeting [Project Management Fundamentals]

[fa icon="calendar'] 23-Mar-2020 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Project Management

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We've so far covered quite a few topics around project management - the differences between projects and operations as well as those between projects, programmes and portfolios, the DARCI model for stakeholder engagement.  

A very, very key thing for any project, is its kick-off or the meeting that gets the project team together to get the project started. 

Most kick-off meetings are actually not always effective. Often, that's due to lack of proper preparation or because they're not taken seriously and performed super fast. 

Your kick-off meeting should be long. It's probably the longest meeting you'll run during the entire project. It could even be a whole day or two if your project's length is a year or more. 

But how do you run an effective and productive kick-off meeting?

As a PMI member, I have access to ProjectManagement.com and recently watched a great webinar on that topic so I want to share with you the key learnings. Here we go:

How to Run an Effective Project Kick-off Meeting

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How to Earn Stakeholder Commitment in a Multicultural Setting

[fa icon="calendar'] 14-Feb-2020 07:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Project Management, Cultural Differences in Business

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To be a successful project manager, one of the key skills you need to have or need to acquire is stakeholder management. This is yet another of the project management fundamentals.  

That's especially important because often you'll be the person responsible for the execution and the success of a project and you'll have a team of people who will be doing the work but they won't report into you directly. 

Being able to influence is crucial so that your team can follow your guidance and requirements, but it's also important even before you start your project - you need to be able to get stakeholder commitment so that you can get the resources you need for your project and have the buy-in of key people in the organisation that will support you in case of difficulties because you'll need to have convinced them of the importance of your project. 

There are typically five strategies for gaining stakeholder commitment. I learned about them from a paper on PMI written by Bill Richardson.

We'll cover them briefly in a second but what I'll also do is to spend time on looking at how these strategies might have to be adapted based on cultural differences.

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