Project Management Skills for EU Funded Projects
Managers involved in preparing and implementing EU funded projects, such as Horizon Europe, face significant challenges, including having their project application approved and then successfully managing their projects. A manager’s success is closely related to the skills and competencies required to handle effectively different each phase of the project cycle.
Although the title project manager seems pretty straightforward, the role covers more than just keeping projects on track. A project manager has several functions, including planning projects from conception to their implementation. In addition, a project manager is responsible for mapping out timelines, assessing project risks and opportunities, and executing each phase of the project’s life cycle.
Other functions of a project manager include creating, allocating, and managing the budget, communicating with all stakeholders, and troubleshooting problems and challenges. In addition, a project manager for EU funded projects is responsible for delivering and maintaining the end product or service and using software for research and innovation projects.
The responsibilities of a project manager sound huge. Fortunately, however, there are practical project management skills that can help ease these responsibilities.
11 Essential Project Management Skills
What are the skills necessary for finishing a project on time and under budget?
Although the skills discussed in this section are essential, they are not exhaustive. Nevertheless, the list covers the core competencies required.
Technical Skills Required of a Project Manager
Technical skills, also known as hard skills, are tangible and measurable abilities that an effective project manager needs.
1. Planning And Forecasting
Skilled planning is necessary for proper project management. However, it can be pretty challenging because it requires that a project manager makes educated guesses about timelines and the essential resources.
Thus, the need for forecasting. When making predictions and estimates, project managers have to use the information they have.
2. Risk Management
As with all projects, Horizon Europe projects have their risks. The risks could be the unavailability of a resource or a delayed approval from your client, setting your timeline back by a few days.
Project managers navigate risks and anticipate them, helping them try their best to avoid such risks.
Studies show that companies successfully complete only about 2.5%. the projects they take on. The rest go over their schedule, budget, or both.
Since project managers know the financial constraints that they need to work within, they should use their budgeting and financial management skills to deliver winning projects within such constraints.
4. Tracking And Monitoring
Project management is more than completing an EU project; it is about achieving a successful project. If project managers are not up to date, completing a successful project will be difficult.
Project managers must use performance tracking and monitoring skills to ensure their Horizon Europe project follows the plan while supporting the broader business goals. Otherwise, the managers will make modifications when necessary.
5. Meeting Facilitation
In a typical project process, a project manager leads meetings, including kickoff meetings, retrospectives, and status updates.
6. Subject Matter Expertise
A project manager may work in various industries, including construction, IT, and everything in between. Although it is not strictly necessary, basic familiarity with the industry and the type of EU projects to be managed is helpful for the project manager.
Having expertise helps project managers estimate costs, timelines, and resource requirements accurately.
Soft Skills Required of a Project Manager
Studies show that most employers find soft skills as an essential factor when making hiring decisions. This section discusses must-have soft skills for project managers.
Project managers are also project leaders and sometimes team leaders. The project manager sets the team’s vision and ensures everyone is on board and motivated to complete each phase of the Horizon Europe project.
Being a leader requires getting buy-in from the project team members and the executives. Project leaders are also responsible for equipping people with the time, tools, and resources necessary for handling their to-do lists.
Communication skills are one of the essential skills for project management. This skill is inclusive of both written and verbal communication.
Project managers are responsible for regularly informing their team members and stakeholders about the project plan, budget and timeline. They also need to provide updates on the project’s progress.
Completing an EU project requires a village. Therefore, a project manager needs to rally team members around the project’s vision, coordinate tasks, and ensure all team members work together effectively.
A project manager needs to be a skilled collaborator to do all these. Collaboration skills also include conflict resolution because there will be unavoidable, occasional project-related disagreements.
10. Time Management
A project manager’s time will have numerous demands placed upon it, especially when the manager is the point of contact for several departments and team members.
Time management is an essential skill for project managers because they must manage their time and the time and capacity of the EU project key players.
11. Problem Solving
Project managers encounter issues on a daily basis. As much as we try to prepare for all risks, there will always be an unexpected issue that no one could have predicted.
Problem-solving involves aspects of many other soft skill sets: communication, creativity, decision-making, and comprehensive analysis... and as such it’s an essential skill when handling all aspects of a European funded project.
The primary steps used in the problem-solving process are:
Identify the problem. This requires analysis of the current situation, identification of the problem and assessment of who the problem is affecting. This step also involves looking at any contributing factors that are directly influencing the problem.
Generate solutions. This stage involves brainstorming, prediction, and forecasting. Complex problems are rarely able to be solved by a single alternative, and so considering multiple alternatives can enhance the value of your ideal solution.
Select a solution. This step can take some trial and error as not all alternatives are obvious. This step also requires strong decision-making skills.
Implementation and monitoring the solution. After one solution has been selected, it’s now time to implement it to the problem. Feedback channels should be built into the implementation to continue seeing progress.
As stated earlier, this list of essential project manager skills is not exhaustive and could be extended to include other soft skills such as organization and adaptability.
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The fate of any project lies in the capabilities of the project manager, and the same goes for EU funded projects. Whether you are at the early stages of your project or you have an EU project in progress, it is important to get its management right. This article has offered the must-have management skills your project needs to succeed. All you have to do is implement them to have a successful outcome.
About the Author
Katia González is co-founder of Getuplead, a digital marketing agency for SaaS and B2B tech companies, and a former CMO and marketing director of subscription-based startups.