There are many causes of project failure. There are external factors such as lack of resources, unclear charter or management support. The project team itself may suffer from communication problems, lack of planning and mutual accountability issues. Finally, the project leader may have leadership issues, inability to solve conflicts and is unsure how to focus on things that need team effort.

Although you cannot control some of the factors listed above, you can still reduce your project’s chance of failing by investing in yourself as a project manager. You can both improve yourself and your project team by sharpening your soft and hard skills. The two skills focus on different aspects of project management.

Soft skills make up your social graces, communication skills and relationship building techniques. They are vital for the project manager since 85% of his or her job is focused on communication. You can grow into a high performing manager by mastering these soft skills. Among the necessary qualities that soft skills can give you are influence, pragmatism, good organization and insight, being articulate, and empathy. Unfortunately, soft skills are hard to evaluate and thus harder to pass on to other managers.

Hard skills on the other hand are technical skills one should master as a project manager. They’re easier to define and can be easily taught to others. Project planning and the ability to identify the project’s critical path will help managers direct their team. Risk management is also needed to help the team know which project issue to prioritize. The manager should also have good evaluation skills such as variance analysis to ensure that the team maximizes their allocated budget. Finally, they should also know how to manage the project’s timelines and be able to adjust it based on the issues encountered by the team.

Fortunately, there’s no specific keywords needed to become better in project management. If there’s any word that you should keep in mind then it’s the “commitment” to change and improve yourself. Find people who have excellent hard and soft skills and try to visualize that you are doing these skills. You should also commit yourself to practice these skills constantly and monitor your progress.

Top 10 Reasons why Most Project Fails