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7 Key Skills Needed for Best PgMP Certified Program Manager

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If we were to talk about Program Management, then the best example I could see is from the acclaimed Golden Globe Award winner movie “The Martian”. If “The Martian” had been keen on getting a PgMP Certification, I am sure they would rank as one of the Best Program Managers in the “business”.

There are two different but simultaneous projects going on in The Martian. One is the survival project of Mark Watney, and the other is the project aiming to save him. The members of the ‘remote’ team helping him are trying their best to achieve their goal. This is an excellent example of the importance of communication between the team, even if they are far away!

Lesson for the program managers: Right skills and a dedicated team which believe in the project can save you!

Okay, maybe that is a bit of a stretch out of the imagination, but you cannot deny that a genuinely great Program Manager gets things done. Grab your notepads; now, we will discuss the critical skills needed for being the best PgMP certified program manager. 

1. Leadership and Teambuilding

Is there anything more vague and less quantifiable than being told to “be a good leader”?

We have to start with the God Father of them all – leadership. It is a bit of a dicey skill in that some believe you’re born with leadership skills and that they can’t be taught. But we think everyone has the ability to learn how to apply proven leadership skills and techniques. After all, what is the substitute?

Undeniably, no list of critical skills would be complete without this vital skill. Although we may tire of repeatedly listening and reading about the necessity for such competencies, the reality of the matter is that these skills are more critical now than ever. Everyone remarks that competent program managers are challenging to find; programs are becoming denser. The virtual nature of work requires skilled program managers who can work across cultures. Thus, having such skills as the talent to build relationships, organize and empower team members, and join forces with different functions in the organization are increasingly crucial to overall victory.

2. Communication

Communications really go hand-in-glove with leadership. You cannot be an efficient leader if you’re not able to convey what it is you need your team to do. Like leadership, communication is a constant on lists such as this; however, we are not just talking about being able to give a clear, articulate presentation. In today’s ever-connected world, program managers need to be a lot like Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, and a man who knew how to connect with people. Known as the “Great Communicator. Such skills as being able to communicate with stakeholders, communicating priorities and constraints, and communicating effectively using all methods, are vital to the effectiveness of any program manager.

So considering it’s a skill you’ll rely on many times a day, every single day, in lots of diverse formats (face to face, email, instant messaging, video conferencing — the list goes on), it seems pretty prudent to say that the importance of people skills to program management success can’t be overlooked.

3 Influencing and Negotiating

Being good at negotiation is sort of a subclass of communications, but it earns its own room here. Negotiation is not simply haggling for the best price from a vendor or contractor, though that’s surely part of it. Leading a project means you are in constant negotiations.

influencing and negotiating is about getting what you want and need for the program. It is all about getting people to say “yes.” Influencing peoples’ behaviour requires negotiation and trade-offs. It is an art that is established over many years of practice. Programs operate in a diplomatic environment, and so the program manager who is politically savvy, and knows how to do internal lobbying, will eventually be more successful than one who dislikes the notion of politics and “playing the game”.

4. Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are inescapable in a person’s day-to-day life. And when they happen, the idea is not to try to prevent them but rather to resolve and manage them in an effective manner.

In program management it is a given that we will have to deal with conflict. There will be conflicts concerning personnel, the program’s priority, the component projects’ priorities, and stakeholder needs and issues. The program manager who handles conflict, who addresses it head on, who doesn’t run from it, will be rewarded because it will speed up decision-making thus causing the program to move forward. Those who do not address conflict, who let it agitate, will also be rewarded, but in a different way. There will be a constant and unbearable feeling of dissatisfaction, which ultimately can lead to disaffection among team members.

5. Excellent Analytical Skills

Analytical skills refer to the ability to collect and analyse information, problem-solve, and make decisions. Program Managers who possess these skills can help solve a company’s problems and improve its overall efficiency and success.Because most programs generate huge volumes of financial, statistical, metric, and other forms of data, the program manager must be able to—promptly and thoroughly—gather and incorporate information; extract and integrate obligations; and summarize program conclusions. Although one does not need the daunting analytical skills of, let’s say, a Michael Burry, any program manager responsible for a major initiative needs to be extremely competent in this area.

6. Stakeholder Management

Program managers with superior diplomatic skills will work to manage anticipations; understand stakeholder objectives, needs, and requirements; and seek to work in partnership with them to get the job done. After all, programs exist because there are stakeholders. Without stakeholders, the program manager and his or her team have no role to play in the organization. So long as one has to deal with stakeholders, one should have the skills necessary to do so in only the most proficient way.

7. Planning and Resource Management

When all is said and done, one of the most important roles the program manager plays is resource management; and, without an all-inclusive plan identifying what needs to be done and when (and for what cost), it is almost impossible to do a good job identifying, assigning, and distributing resources. The program manager must be able to develop a variety of plans (risk, cost, contingency) and then assess, match, and manage resources to execute those plans.

Read more blogs on Program Manager

A Guide To Becoming The Best Program Manager

Overview of Stakeholder Engagement in the Program Management

 

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