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How Can I Assess My Project Management Skills?

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True professionals are always assessing themselves and striving for self-improvement, and this applies to project managers as much as it does to other fields.

Project managers need a wide array of skills if they are to perform their jobs effectively. Communication, people management, risk assessment, technical knowledge, and organization are just a few. If you are going to improve, then you need to know where your weaknesses are. But how do you find that out?

Look in the Mirror

You should take the time to think back to previous projects and their outcomes. What went right? What went wrong? What could I have done to improve the process or avoid mistakes? This exercise teaches introspection and self-awareness. You’ll be able to take the lessons learned and apply them to future projects later on.

Of course, not everyone can be objective when it comes to ones own performance. Your judgment could be colored by either overconfidence or a limited perspective. Its probably safer to look elsewhere for an evaluation.

Questionnaires

Being self-critical isn’t going to be very helpful if you don’t know the right questions to ask. Questionnaires and surveys help in this regard by providing relevant, thought-provoking questions about your project management skills. Some questionnaires tabulate your responses and score you. You can find questionnaires like these on the Internet and at Project Management training seminars.

As useful as these questionnaires are, they are still limited by your own self-assessment and the associated psychological blind spots. Also, while they are good at poking holes in your performance and showing your weak spots, they don’t offer much in the way of career advice.

Ask for Second Opinions

If you want to improve your performance, its often a good idea to ask those that your work directly affects. Co-workers are great for getting straight, no-nonsense answers about your performance and where it could be improved. Just make sure you only approach those whose opinions you value and trust. Acting on advice from a worse performer than you may not help much in improving yourself.

The best source for second opinions would be your direct superior. The key thing here is to not be shy about soliciting feedback, and show that you are open to honest and constructive criticism! Evaluating their team/department is part of their job, and they probably have a better perspective on your performance than you do. In fact, performance evaluations were created specifically to provide this kind of feedback. Good managers may be able to provide you with solid career advice, and help develop your skills in the direction you want to go by offering additional training and more opportunities.

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