The Fundamental Project Management Skills You Must Have in 2021

May 25, 2021

A good-or bad- project manager can draw a line between a successful project delivery or a failure!

Do you know over 90% of companies around the world use standardized project management practices? With the advent of 2021, the project management niche is expected to reach new heights. When the goal is to take a project from conception to completion seamlessly, you must possess vital project management skills.

Right from project onboarding, planning, execution, controlling to successful delivery, the best project managers have what it takes to get the job done! Not to mention that with the ongoing pandemic and remote working, project management has become a challenge for many. Project managers now have a higher responsibility to keep an open line of communication and ensure collaboration between teams.

Let's quickly move ahead and understand about fundamental skills you'd need to boost project management and stay relevant:


Developing leadership skills is imperative for the success of any project. Leadership can help you 'Know The Way', 'Go The Way' & 'Show The Way'. It doesn't matter if you're in IT, Manufacturing, or other business domain. It is your leadership qualities that will assist you to plan, coordinate & oversee the project development effectively.

Not just that, leadership boosts confidence among team members and boosts their morale too. Some of the leadership qualities are inspiring people, lucid communication, negotiation, future-proofing talent, and strengthening inter-department ties. You can always kickstart your project management career and before that you must know about new PMP Exam Changes 2021.


One of the biggest problems project teams often experience is 'communication gaps'. If you want to be a project manager someday, you must possess superior communication skills. You'd be spending most of your day communicating with people from development teams, human resources, IT & higher-ups.

When it comes to project development, communication is about clearly defining goals, responsibilities, performance metrics, setting expectations, and recording feedback. One should note that projects often fail since managers don't articulate the vision. Every stakeholder and team member should be clear on requirements from Day 0 onwards.

To achieve the same, project managers might consider the following:

  • Daily Scrums
  • One-to-one meetings
  • Weekly reporting of project progress/status
  • Maintain a record of backlogs, pending action items and track the same

Emotional Intelligence:

When it comes to leading a project, building a lasting relationship with stakeholders, keeping the teams engaged that too during the toughest of days, not many people possess that panache! To stay up to the expectations of the future workforce, project managers must possess soft skills and emotional intelligence.

Project managers must promote the following amongst the teams:

  • Empathy
  • Fun
  • Creativity
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Persuasion
  • Motivation

Your technical skills might have got you the first promotion, but it might not guarantee the next. You should inculcate the emotional element for efficiently coaching teams, managing stress & fruitful collaborations. A report by Harvard Business Review also emphasizes a higher degree of emotional intelligence in project management.

Problem Solving:

In terms of project management, problem-solving points at detecting potential problems in advance or as they come and provide quick resolutions. Project managers must have backup plans and alternative options in place to keep the boat sailing. Since even a day's delay can hamper on-time delivery of a project, project managers must be an expert of risk analysis & mitigation.

With the changing technology trends and remote working around the world, project managers should be ready to deal with unexpected problems and make sure a minor bug doesn't turn into a major setback. How you relate and interact with people revolves around the fact that how quickly you can solve their problems! An ideal project manager is the one who has the readiness to add value to the project.

Time Management:

Someone has rightly said that 'Time is Money'. In today's fast-paced world, every minute spent effectively can draw a line between a successful closing or a missed opportunity. For any project manager, a timeline sits at the core of the project. Over the course of a project, you will have to assign tasks, take estimations, keep the individuals accountable, and deliver on-time.

You'd be enthralled to know that there are applications such as Toggle & Harvest available in the market for time management and productivity improvement. Project managers can do real-time tracking, add estimates, generate accurate invoices for clients, generate timesheets & get the job done. A great manager knows how to keep a check on time, analyze it, and make smarter project-related decisions to drive results.

Risk Management & Mitigation:

Not every day of the project would be bright sunshine. There will be days when you and your team might have to encounter unidentified issues. A project manager must explore, identify, analyze & mitigate the risks before it hits the project. Often we know the risks involved that are easy to handle with a well-thought plan.

However, if you're dealing with uncontrollable risks, then you should put strategies in place that can at least, minimize the effect of the risk. A manager can only do risk management and mitigation if he knows the domain inside out. Therefore, you will need to be a subject matter expert of the niche. Risk management will increase the sense of accountability, give you an edge over others, and ensure successful project delivery.

Gone are the days when project management was a piece of cake. Today, with projects running on agile development, ever-changing client requirements, and remote teams working on it, project management skills are truly becoming most sought after.


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Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes educational content periodically for LearnPick UK and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.

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