Why transversal skills are fundamental in Project management?

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Mar 19, 2021

Being a project manager means knowing how to make us of up-to-date technical and specialized knowledge: playing such a role translates into how to juggle all aspects of coordinating, planning and monitoring a project.

But alongside these specialized skills, a resourceful project manager should be able to manage knowledge and skills related to “knowing how to be“, even more in such a complex and changing scenario as that of research projects.

To better understand what the soft skills are, we interviewed Giacomo Franco, Past President, Project Management Institute Southern Italy Chapter. He has always been passionate about the managerial application of the right mix of project management techniques, coaching, knowledge management, complexity management theories, psychology and neuroscience applied to the organization and Artificial Intelligence.

Giacomo Franco is going to be a speaker of the 2021 ISPM edition.

Mr Franco could you please tell us more about soft skills?

Being successful in any type of job means having technical skills but, more importantly, deliver transversal skills to any kind of job. These were first identified as “Soft Skills” by the US military in the 1960s. They include experiences related to “knowing how to be”, for example, the ability to work in a team, knowing how to relate to other members of the organisation, knowing how to communicate adequately, etc.

Among the others, what are the most important skills for a project manager?

Leadership and team membership, two skills that complement each other and must be expressed simultaneously by the project team leader and all team member. The ability to build trust is essential.

Considering the challenging time we are in, how much these skills influence the management of a research project?

We are living in a complex historical period where the world is turning into a project economy. Pandemic has destroyed social relationships and organizations, forcing them to transform. Transversal skills are the ABC to possess to carry out a job increasingly project-oriented. Thus, the only way for companies to survive is to possess a high level of self-knowledge to support transformations and external pressures while preventing projects from being wrecked. 

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