3 Core Competencies of a Project Manager

The project manager leads the project team to meet the project’s objectives and stakeholders’ expectations. He works to balance the competing constraints on the project with the resources available. 

Project managers need to act on different levels. For example, a project manager can gain influence and respect of stakeholders and management when they demonstrate the linkage between the corporation’s business goals and the project. On the other hand, they gain influence and respect of the team when they can identify with the team’s goals and align these goals with the corporation goals.

The three main Competencies of a Project Manager are:




It includes the knowledge, skills, and behaviors related to specific domains of a project, program, and portfolio management and the technical aspects of performing one’s role. 
According to the latest researches, the top project managers consistently demonstrated several key skills including, but not limited to: 
  • General management skills: Leadership, providing vision and direction, coach/mentor the project team, issue and conflict resolution, effective decision making, negotiation, and communication
  • Project Management technical skills: project management fundamentals, project management tools and techniques and project management software
  • Industry skills: Breadth (not depth) in specific application/industry knowledge, lifecycle management

Project managers should be knowledgeable enough about the business to be able to:

  • Explain to others the essential business aspects of a project; 
  • Work with the project sponsor, team, and subject matter experts to develop an appropriate project delivery strategy
  • Implement that strategy in a way that maximizes the business value of the project.



For a project manager, it is important to have experience in managing teams and projects.

Different organizational cultures require a different emphasis on the experience of a project manager.

  • A project manager should have a strategic approach: understand and address inter-dependencies and real issues
  • He should have a precise definition of the requirements (tested by actual customer requirements) and timetables
  • He should also have experience managing to deliverables and milestones: on time/within budget/meeting business needs
  • A project manager should prove the ability to handle troubled teams/projects and bring them to success and demonstrate experience with projects of similar size and scope



When it comes to personality, a great project manager should have the following characteristics:

  • Aptitude, flexibility, and ability to adapt to change and cultural realities
  • Confidence and commitment
  • Pro-active, can-do attitude
  • Open-mindedness
  • Trustworthy
  • Creative

He should also improve his people management skills in different areas:

  • Build and manage interpersonal relationships
  • Ability to influence and win respect
  • Know when NOT to manage
  • Politically sensitive
  • Active listening
  • Role model
  • Fairness

Although certification does not qualify a project manager by itself, it does give an indication of the person’s knowledge of concepts and methodologies. It also shows that the candidate is dedicated to the profession.


  1. Udo, N. & Koppensteiner, S. (2004). What are the core competencies of a successful project manager? Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2004—EMEA, Prague, Czech Republic. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
  2. PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

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