Project Management

6 Increasingly Essential Skills Project Managers Must Master

Kenya Chapter

Stephanie is a project process specialist, trainer and mentor. She is the Lead Consultant at Jaeger Consultants Ltd in Nairobi. Stephanie specializes in the human aspect of project management and leadership, and encourages discussion and feedback. She also writes regular blogs on

When I changed my career to full-time project manager in my mid-40s, I quickly realized that the technical skills (preparing timelines, Gantt charts, plans and other artefacts) are only one of the pillars of project management. I discovered that a second pillar is managing people, which includes mentoring and encouraging people to give their best.

This was confirmed when the fifth edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) introduced stakeholder management as its own knowledge area—and again when PMI introduced its initial Talent Triangle®, which had leadership as one of its three sides. Leadership is all about working with people and helping bring out the best in them; this requires soft skills.

Project management is not about giving orders and telling people what to do when. I realized early in my PM career that if you want your team members to give their best, you need to work with them and help them grow. Globally, project managers are being seen more and more as leaders, not subject matter experts. Their job is to bring people together, build strong teams and remove obstacles from their path.

Modern leadership requires a totally different set of skills than traditional “management.” I firmly believe this trend will continue—and with more and more of the technical side of project management being …

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