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I think the best way to attain PM skills is to work on different kinds of projects in different industries. This will expose you to situations that will force you to learn new skills, as well as new ways to implement previously learned skills. I became a contractor so I could do this very thing, and I'm glad I did. I only wish I could work in even more industries.
As for the best skills to attain, I believe PMs need all the 'basics' (scheduling, communication, budgeting, contract management, etc.) so they can confidently manage projects in any situation. The project methodologies and technical skills a PM should use differ between projects, so I couldn't say which are best to learn.
Eric rightly mention working on different projects will expose to things and also ready for uncomfortable conditions and handle them based on the situation. You have to have clarity and confidence on basics to be an effective PM
I do agree with Eric. Having diversified experience of domains, projects, clients/countries definitely helps to grow in project management career. Learning project management methodologies, tools and techniques is basic; but adopting and tweaking the techniques as per the situation is a must have skill for a top PM and of course, be ready to learn upcoming tools/technologies.
I would say practice, practice, practice.
I think you need to be expose to has many situations you can in different size project different industries.
Staying within a close group often doesn't trigger challenge so to develop new skills.
Yes, on top of practice and just working projects - finding a great PM mentor is the #1 way, to me, of really building those PM skills. Being the secondary PM on a project, supporting the Sr. PM, is a great way to learn their techniques, get access to templates and materials that work for them, and learn their tips and tricks. The caveat here is that they need to be a really great one. Overall though, always stay hungry to learn from anyone and you'll grow!
Agree with Eric.
Communication skills - You’ll need a level of charisma to inspire your team members and to explain work processes to stakeholders. Project management communication comes down to being clear about goals, concise about expectations, and concrete about quantitative results.
In other words, communication is at the heart of project success. But improving communication is trickier than it sounds.That’s why there are the Three Cs of Communication: Be Clear, Be Concise, and Be Concrete. With these three Cs, you will be able to better communicate your goals to your team, and your team will be able to give you the feedback you need to better manage them.
The first thing is to understand that there are not TOP PM skills because to consider some skills "TOP" will depend on the context where you will use it. I sustain (because my personal experence and others experience) that a PM can manage any type of project. So, now that some words becomes buzzwords, here comes two of them. A PM (a human being in general) must behaive with Agile approach. Agile is a way of thinking and bechaive with focus on client and quality. When you behaive Agile you gain into Agility wich is the ability to react to environmental changes and create environmental changes. The last one is critical to survive, grow and develop.
Being agile enough to adjust the PMBOK principles according to the project / stake holders' demands and being good at communication are the prerequisites for becoming a good (if not best) PM.
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