How to develop your personal skills for project success


By Randall L. Englund, MBA, NPDC, CBM

Utah, USA


Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI Fellow

Madrid, Spain

Project managers are a very special breed of people, requiring a complete set of skills, especially those “soft” personal skills so necessary when dealing with people. The uncertain project environment forces project managers to adapt to circumstances and deal with them. We strongly believe the only things not flexible in life are stones. However, sometimes excessive project manager flexibility can damage him or her because other people may abuse that situation and create negative project results.

Project managers are in great demand, and we believe that will increasingly be the case as the need for effective technologists continues to soar. Good project managers are trained, not born. We believe the right project managers are people who want to be in that position. They develop a more complete set of skills through experience, practice, and education. They become better project managers each time they successfully deliver a project. They learn new techniques and apply them on their projects. They learn lessons—sometimes the hard way—to be better managers and leaders in the future, both when dealing with individuals and with teams. They become savvy networkers.

Dealing with Individuals

Project managers need to deal with people. Only in very few organizations can the project manager choose his/her team members. Usually available team members are assigned to the project, and probably not all of them are skilled enough (Englund, R. L., & Bucero, A. (2012); The complete project manager).  So project managers need to develop skills that include:

  • Networking:  The ability to assess the quality of working relationships, to identify where better relationships are required in order to complete the project, and develop a wider support network.
  • Building trust and rapport:  Developing a positive attitude in those who might be called upon for support.
  • Winning commitment to project goals:  This is not just a matter of having project goals; it is ensuring that everyone is sufficiently motivated to help the project manager deliver them.
  • Listening:  Listening is a vital skill at all times, especially to recognize emerging risks.
  • Counseling skills:  The project manager does not have to become a counselor, but these skills can be used to overcome personal emergencies.
  • Appropriate use of power:  Project managers’ relationships with power are often very complex. Power is necessary and needs to be used appropriately; otherwise, the goodwill and productivity of people vital to project success are lost.
  • Delegation:  This is a basic management skill and a vital one in a project environment. Some project managers, often those who come from a technical background, run into difficulties when not delegating sufficiently or appropriately.
  • Conflict management and negotiation:  Conflict can be a good thing. When it is managed well, project managers win respect and commitment and find better solutions to problems.


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Authors 

flag-spainalfonso-buceroAlfonso Bucero 

Madrid, Spain 

Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI Fellow, is founder and Managing Partner of BUCERO PM Consulting.  Alfonso was the founder, sponsor and president of the PMI Barcelona Chapter until April 2005, and belongs to PMI’s LIAG (Leadership Institute Advisory Group).  He was the past President of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter, and now nominated as a PMI EMEA Region 8 Component Mentor. Alfonso has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Universidad Politécnica in Madrid and is studying for his Ph.D. in Project Management. He has 29 years of practical experience and is actively engaged in advancing the PM profession in Spain and throughout Europe. He received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award on October 9th, 2010 and the PMI Fellow Award on October 22nd 2011.  Alfonso is an International Correspondent and Contributing Editor for the PM World Journal in Madrid. Mr. Bucero can be contacted at [email protected].

flag-usarandall-eglundRandall Englund

California, USA 

Randy Englund is an executive consultant for the Englund Project Management Consultancy and is a Professional Associate for the Stanford Advanced Project Management (SAPM) program, specializing in converting strategy into action and effective project management offices.  Randy is co-author of Creating an Environment for Successful Projects (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Creating the Project Office (2003), and Project Sponsorship (2006).  He learned most of his lessons as a senior project manager at Hewlett-Packard and General Electric.  He now provides coaching to management and teams about their project management culture.  Contact him via email at [email protected] and on the web at www.englundpmc.com.