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Keeping Your Project Management Skills Current

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/30/2011

Do your project manager skills need a little revamping? Have you kept up with the newest project management tools? Jean Scheid takes a look at keeping your project management skills current so no one starts to question how valuable you are.

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    How Valuable Are You?

    No Values by Thomas Hawk 

    If we look at the Pareto Principle that states twenty percent of the people own eighty percent of the wealth and then look at Dr. Joseph Juran's definition of the 80/20 rule, we get this:

    "Twenty percent of something are always responsible for eighty percent of the results."

    So how does that fit into how valuable you are as a project manager?

    Take a look at your typical day. Are you in a frenzied state with your hand in every part of every project? Are you delegating or are you interfering? Are you acting as the queen bee or a worker bee? All of these questions are important when looking at your current project management skills. From time to time, every project manager needs to ask themselves the question, do my project manager skills need revamped?

    If you are involved in each project at every single level, you aren't really managing. You aren't delegating. What you are doing is making your team nervous and even fearful. While some employees do need to be given that extra push, it shouldn't be your job to push everyone. If you're doing this, you've lost the hold on your management skills, so how do you get them back?

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    How to Keep Your Project Manager Skills Current

    First off, how long has it been since you've taken a look at your skills? In our Project Management Media Gallery, we've provided a great outline of basic Project Management Skills that includes the planning cycle, Gantt charts, and management methodologies along with many other topics. If you read through this and are lost, your skills need some fixing.

    • Get Certified - Visit the Project Management Institute and get certified. There are many levels of project management certification and chances are if you show an interested in continuing education, your boss may even help with tuition expense.
    • Network - When is the last time you and your project manager buddies got together to talk about Six Sigma or dealing with difficult employees? Make that phone call and set a date.
    • Newsletters - Subscribe to project management newsletters like Mind Tools to keep on the forefront of what's new in project management.
    • Seminars - Attend seminars such as ones offered by Achieve Max, Inc. Seminars are a great way to brush up the skills you haven't used in a while and learn new ones.
    • PMBOK Guide - Have you read the book A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge? Now in its Fourth Edition you can even download the book from the Project Management Institute or buy a used one from places like Amazon.
    • Read - Read all you can about project management. Create scenarios and see how they work with your team.
    • Articles - Take a look at Brighthub's Rhonda Roberts article, What is the Value of PMBOK? Take a look at Gary's A Roundup of the Top Ten Project Management Books.
    • Seek Advice - Remember your mentor? Everyone has one so reconnect with yours. Be honest about your skills and have your mentor evaluate you. Take your mentor's advice on areas where you need to improve.
    • Talk to the Boss - Your boss didn't just get handed the job as top dog. Pick his or her brain about how they got to the top.
    • Take the 80/20 Rule to Heart - Allow your team to be the team you trust. Delegate and oversee. Listen and be prepared for tough questions.