Global Flipchart #9
September 2017 |
Why facilitation skills are key to project management success
As a project manager who also teaches project management, I’m often asked: what are the most important skills to succeed as a project manager?
I usually stress the importance of communication and documentation. Getting these two aspects right is critical to the success of a project - and a project manager. But managing communication and documentation well are just ingredients necessary for project success.
Now I think about it, the overall role of the project manager is to facilitate achievement of outcomes. So to be successful, project managers must be facilitators at a high level and a more granular level.
At a high level, a good project manager enables a group to create a common goal for their work, enables the team to work collaboratively, and encourages healthy team participation.
At a more granular level, much of the day-to-day work of a project manager requires facilitation:
- facilitating the project kick-off meeting
- facilitating development of the project scope
- leading project planning and scheduling
- spearheading efforts to troubleshoot and problem solve.
With this in mind, the kind of skills you need to be a successful project manager are some of the same skills you need to be a good facilitator, like the ability to:
- listen and empathise
- understand the objectives of the participants
- create a safe and inclusive environment
- set and enforce behavioural guidelines
- give clear instructions
- manage time.
The absence of any one of these skills can put a project on shaky ground.
So next time I’m asked what the most important skills for a project manager are, I will say communication and documentation - and good facilitation skills.