PMP Exam Tip: The Project Manager’s Essential Interpersonal Skills

A successful project manager must have many different types of skills. Those that come to mind immediately are the technical skills that we need to put together a project plan, schedule, budget and all of the necessary documentation. It is also important for us to have the conceptual skills needed to “see” the project as it is being developed.

 


However, those skills won’t ensure a successful project unless the project manager is able to complement his / her technical skills with many different types of interpersonal skills.

These essential skills include the following:

  • Leadership
  • Team building
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Influencing
  • Decision making
  • Political and cultural awareness
  • Negotiation


Being able to call upon and apply these skills at the right moment in your project can help ensure success. We will review each of these skills in our upcoming weekly exam tips.

 

PMP Exam Tip: Interpersonal Skills a PMP Needs: 1. Leadership

In the coming weeks, we will be reviewing the 8 interpersonal skills that the PMBOK Guide calls out specifically, which a project manager needs to possess. We begin with leadership.

Leadership is one of the important skills that a good project manager must possess. The reason for this is that in many cases, the project manager doesn’t have any authority over the team members for a project. This means he or she must manage the project through leadership.

Although it can be more difficult to manage through leadership rather than authority, it is usually more effective because it is built on trust and respect.

A leader is especially important at the beginning of a project to define the vision of the project and communicate this vision to the team. This helps all of the team members to get on board with the goals of the project. Good leadership skills will also keep the members inspired and motivated to do their best work.
Unfortunately, leadership is difficult to teach from books (or tips like this one). You can learn the basics from the written word, but then you need to show that you “have it” by applying it on the job. For the PMP exam it is important that you recognize situations that require leadership and that you are able to select the appropriate action.

 

PMP Exam Tip: Interpersonal Skills a PMP Needs: 2. Team building

(In Appendix G, the PMBOK Guide discusses Interpersonal Skills for the project manager. We are currently reviewing these one by one in our weekly PMP exam tip.)

Team building is another essential skill for a good project manager to possess. The nature of a project is that there are people from various different departments involved. In most cases, these people have not had the opportunity to work together and they may not even be familiar with each other’s departments. If the project manager isn’t able to turn these individuals into a team that is focused on the same goal, the project may not reach it’s potential.

Although some of the individuals or sub-teams involved in the project will complete their tasks independently, they will need to feel as part of the team. When a decision needs to be made related to their part of the project, their focus must be on what is best for the project, not just what is best for them and their departmental problem. A feeling of belonging to a team that solves a problem for the whole company (and doesn’t play departmental favorites) goes a long way.

Also, building a team where each member is comfortable in reaching out to the others will ensure small details don’t turn into larger issues later in the project.
It is therefore essential, that project managers not only know the tasks and processes that are involved in building a team, but that they have the skill and finesse to apply them appropriately.


PMP Exam Sample Questions


1)The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com - The answer is at the very bottom:


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You developed alternative schedules based on best-case and worst-case scenarios on your project. You want to keep these alternative schedules stored in your project documents, in case of changes in project resources. Where would you store alternative schedules?

A.) Schedule Baseline

B.) Schedule Data

C.) Project documents

D.) Project scope statement

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Hint: Alternative schedules are part of one particular output of the Develop Schedule process. Look at those outputs to see where alternative schedules are located.

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All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at http://www.free-pm-exam-questions.com. We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.


2)The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com - The answer is at the very bottom:

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Tim is the project manager working on an electronic manufacturing project. In his project he wants to establish a warranty for some of the precision parts he is buying. What risk response strategy is he using?

A.) Mitigate
B.) Avoid
C.) Accept
D.) Transfer
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Hint: Tim is shifting the negative impact of the risk.
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All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at http://www.free-pm-exam-questions.com. We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.


3)The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com - The answer is at the very bottom:

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A custom jewelry manufacturing company took up a project to design and manufacture a necklace for an affluent personality. While in execution, during a metrics analysis meeting, the project team started to analyze the reasons for variations in the project's key performance metrics. The concern was the cost of quality that had been increasing for the past seven weeks. The first milestone (design of the necklace) is supposed to be delivered in another two days and the project manager is not comfortable with the trend. The team performed an analysis and identified that most of the defects seen surfaced during the requirements phase. Despite the deficiencies that surfaced during the requirements phase, the design activity was still started. Though the tasks were clearly defined with objectives, the business analyst had been released with a good performance rating. There was no way the details on requirements could be gathered except from the requirements document, which was not complete.

Which of the following failed in the above scenario?

A.) Setting expectations and team performance assessment
B.) Setting expectations but not team performance assessment
C.) Only team performance assessment
D.) WBS decomposition

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Hint: The teams assessment was not performed properly
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All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at http://www.free-pm-exam-questions.com. We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.


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