Soft skills in project management


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The report summarizes the results of a study on the importance of soft skills in project management. It was conducted in November and December 2012 by PM Experts. You are welcome to read!

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Soft skills in project management

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Piotr Plewiński, PMP Chairman of the Board at PM Experts PMI REP Program Advisor EMEASoft skills are an inherent part of a projects life. They strongly influence our style of work and itseffectiveness. This subject matter is frequently covered at various conferences, in the press or onthe Internet. It results from a necessity to teach project managers and project team members skillsnecessary for an effective cooperation with project stakeholders. Its also emphasized by the fact, 2that the new fifth edition of PMBOK® has been expanded with a tenth knowledge area -stakeholders management. One of the founders of Project Management Institute, Russel Archibald,whose commentary on our report is to be found below, also draws attention to the importance ofsoft skills in project management. The need to continuously improve soft skills in projectmanagement environment is also reflected in the results of our survey, in which 74% of therespondents claim that soft skills are essential for a successful project. We are pleased to presentthese results in this report. I would like to thank all our respondents for taking part in the survey.Your opinions and comments are a valuable contribution to the development of Polish projectmanagement community. Enjoy! Russel Archibald, PMI Fellow Co-founder of PMI®, with the membership card number 6. His presentation was a part of an opening meeting on October 9th, 1969. A project and program manager with 60 years of experience. He began his career as a project manager, to become a companys project portfolio director, and finally a PM consultant. He has delivered projects in 16 countries, on 4 continents. In 1989 he was awarded the title of an honorary PMI Fellow.The core project management capability within any enterprise resides at the individual project level,and its effectiveness is a combination of two major factors:• The project manager’s authority, individual capability, knowledge, and project team leadership;• The ‘project controls’ capability in defining, planning, estimating, and controlling the projectobjectives, scope, cost, time schedule, risks, labor, and other required resources.Certainly a good project manager must understand and fully utilize the project controls capabilitieswithin their organization, and the project controls function (which usually resides within a PMO) mustunderstand that they fully support the project manager and are vital to achieving project success.From the very first paper presented at the founding meeting of the Project Management Institute onOctober 9 and 10, 1969:Managing projects requires two basic categories of skills which are relatively new, at least in someindustries. These are:• Skills in managing projects, and• Skills to operate and develop the project management systems which support the ProjectManager.These skills must be developed in each organization concurrently with the systems, but wefrequently have failed to recognize this fact.Soft skills in project management 2013
  3. 3. PM Experts survey results1. Relevance of soft skills in project management 3Results of the survey show that 74% of the respondents consider soft skills to be very relevant for asuccessful project, while only 1 % consider them irrelevant.2. Soft skills challenges in project managementThe main soft skills challenges in project management mentioned by the respondents are related toeffective communication with stakeholders and motivation of project team members (including thosenot directly reporting to the project manager).Soft skills in project management 2013
  4. 4. 3. Soft skills in project managementAmong 15 soft skills suggested in PM Experts survey, seven were identified by respondents asmost relevant in everyday project tasks. The responses are presented in the diagram below. 4According to the respondents the most relevant project managers skills are: communication (96%),decision making (79%) and motivating (70%).Aside from skills provided by the survey creators, the respondents mentioned the following skills,which they considered relevant for project management:Soft skills in project management 2013
  5. 5. 4. Soft skills training needs for project managersPM Experts survey presented potential training topics to the respondents. The diagram belowshows seven most relevant topics chosen by the surveys participants. 5Out of eleven suggestions, the respondents chose training courses that develop skills needed forproject management challenges. The most popular topics were: communication on the project(64%), motivating project team members (57%) and project team building (49%).Soft skills in project management 2013
  6. 6. Survey methodology:The survey has been conducted by email on MySurveyLab platform in November and December2012. The participants included 115 project managers and human resources employees from awide range of companies active on the various Polish market sectors.The survey consisted of 10 questions (open and closed). In closed questions the respondents wereasked to rate the value of certain skills and trainings - from the most relevant, to the least relevantfor a project manager. In open questions the respondents were asked to name additional skills andtrainings that they consider relevant for a project manager’s work.Soft skills, for the needs of this survey, have been defined as theoretical knowledge, practical skills, 6personal attitudes and traits. Examples of skills mentioned in the survey included: communication,inspiration, proactivity, holding meetings, negotiations, time management, problem management,decision making, solving conflicts, emotional intelligence, presentation skills.Authors of the report: Urszula Siemienowicz, Agnieszka Lisiecka and Martyna Samołyk.Soft skills in project management 2013
  7. 7. PM Experts is a consulting and training company, that has been active on the Polish market since2004. Our mission is a comprehensive support of business organizations in developing their projectmanagement maturity. For nearly ten years we have been conducting trainings, implementingproject management methodology and running projects commissioned by our customers. Theirprosperity is our key success factor.Our activities are based on accreditations from the largest international branch organizations, thatpromote professional project management - Project Management Institute (PMI®) and APMGGroup. We are the only Polish company accredited as a PMI® Registered Consultant.Our merits are: 7 • Ten years experience on the Polish market, reflected by many successes and references from our customers • A group of trusty consultants, project management practitioners with international project management experience • PMI® Registered Consultant Accreditation • PMI® Global Registered Education Provider Accreditation • APMG® AccreditationSoft skills in projectPM Experts Sp.2013o. Copyright by management z o.
  8. 8. 8Address:PM Experts Sp. z o. J. Ch. Szucha 800-582 WarszawaPhone numbers:tel. + 48 22 395 64 20tel. + 48 22 395 64 25fax + 48 22 300 10 17e-mail: info@pmexperts.plwww.pmexperts.plSoft skills in project management 2013