all articles

3 Skills Self-Taught Project Managers Commonly Lack

date icon

I’m a  self-taught  project manager. All the project management skills I have, I learned either on the job or through online resources. And I was good at my job, too. I was promoted twice and recognized as the top employee in the department two years running. But there are certain skills I wish I had when I first started out. And after observing and talking with other similarly self-taught colleagues, I realized that many of us had the same gap in our knowledge.

Project Management-Level Planning

“Planning” is one of those grossly underestimated project management skills. After all, everybody plans to some degree, right? But planning a marketing campaign or software development project is a lot more complex and far-reaching than planning a weekend at the beach, even though they share the same basic principles.

I thought I could get away with  winging it  through my first two projects–which I did, but only barely. I had to learn how to make detailed planning documents and  charts  to stay organized, and not just keep things in my head. Other self-taught project managers had different levels of organization and planning, depending on their experiences, but more often than not they’d never planned complex projects from the ground up.

Technical Proficiency

It’s kind of a given that project managers who come from outside an industry like software or engineering often don’t have the same technical skills as their team members. But even if they do, they can also lack technical knowledge on hard project management skills and concepts. I’m talking about the various  project management methodologies, techniques, and tools that formally-educated project managers would have been taught. Unless the self-taught project manager does his own research, he wouldn’t know the difference between PM methods and how best to use them.

People Management

One of the worst assumptions I made was assuming that getting along with my team was the same as managing them. A lot of rookies I’ve talked to still carry that assumption, too. We didn’t know anything about  motivating people  or managing conflict, even though we’ve seen it from the other side as employees. Good social skills will allow you to survive this part of the job, but you need management training if you’re going to really excel.

These missing skills are only a temporary setback. Skills can be learned in a variety of ways: on the job, through a mentor, or even through formal project management training later on. The important thing is to be open-minded and flexible under pressure.

Follow us

Find Out How Easy Project Management Can Be!
Try for Free

Related Posts

post cover
Best PracticesPM 101

12 Project Management Hacks

post cover
PM 101

4 Essential Steps of Project Portfolio Optimization

post cover
PM 101

What are Project Controls?

Nice! You just took the first step to achieving game-changing results.

To ensure your demo is tailored to your team’s specific needs, we're connecting you with a product specialist to better understand your requirements.

support illustration

Schedule a 10-minute meeting to start your trial

The calendar is loading... Please wait

It’ll take you 8-minutes to see
Easy Projects features in action:

  • Project Management
  • Financial Management
  • Resource Management
  • Custom Reporting
  • Artificial Intelligence
happy illustration

Nice! You just took the first step
to achieving game-changing results!

Create your account right now. Have a great start with your 14-day trial!

For the best experience please access Easy Projects from a desktop PC or tablet or download Easy Projects app at