The Importance of Soft Skills in Project Management

March 27, 2013 by Rose Cook

yinyangAs many of you know, FlexPro is highly focused on delivering Project Management (PM) services, specifically in the pharmaceutical industry. So I often get the question…”Should I go get my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification?” My answer is almost always…”Yes, but…” The “Yes” is because any additional education or certification in your field is always a plus. The “but” is because while I believe PM methodologies and tools are very useful, they alone don’t make you the best Project Manager!  

If you take a course in Project Management 101, the classic opening line is “What are the top 3 reasons projects fail?” And the answer is: Communication, communication, communication. And effective communication requires those softer skills we sometimes take for granted. I’ve witnessed the most highly credentialed PMs fail. Don’t forget to invest in the soft side.

My friend and former J&J colleague, Linda DeLuca, wrote a white paper entitled “Take the Lead: Superior Project Management through Savvy Interpersonal Communication”, which can be found here. As a communications advisor and coach, she talks about what makes a GOOD project manager GREAT, and has some excellent insight into why soft skills are so very important to superior project management.

One of my favorite tidbits from Linda’s paper is the concept that “Facts aren’t enough” when communicating. In order to be really effective (and be GREAT) , you must find ways to “relate” to people and even create an “emotional connection” in order to inspire action. Did I pique your interest a little? Take a look at the white paper. I promise it’ll be worth the few minutes of your time!

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