The emphasis for many project managers within organisations is to further develop and build on their project management skills. This usually means attending a project management workshop, such as our two day Perfect Project event or maybe PRINCE2 or PMI or equivalent. These are really good project management courses and they will certainly help develop project management skills.
However; and it is a big however, project managers tell me they sometimes struggle to really understand client needs; they struggle to work in partnership with them ensuring that they understand some of the fundamentals of project management.
Well here is a possible solution. I have suggested many times that project managers should develop consultancy skills alongside their project skills. This often raises a few eyebrows. When however I explain my thinking, heads nod! So why do I suggest the need for consultancy skills and what do I mean?
Project managers have to formally contract with a client (internally or externally).They need to establish exactly what they are delivering. There is therefore a requirement for the project manager to have good diagnostic skills. This means asking questions, often difficult questions with subtle follow up skills required; following up from initial answers and of course listening.
Building relationships with the client is essential; add to the mix the fact that many projects involve change, dealing with and managing conflict, negotiating and influencing (procurement!) sharing a vision and you can see that the job of a project manager is all embracing; project skills and consulting skills.
As one project manager said; “it’s all very well to delivering the project however if we have alienated the client then its only half the job done.”
So book yourself on to a Consultancy Skills course and soon; it will make a great difference.