Essential Project Management Skills

Revised and Updated by Seth Preston on: July 8th, 2020

Project Managers are integral pieces of any CRO, especially considering PM’s are the key-link between the CRO and Sites, Sponsors, Review Boards, Labs, and so much more.

As a project management professional, you’re a leader working with teams that are made up of complex individuals in many different roles. Project Associates, Monitors, and many others utilize your knowledge on a day-to-day basis. Because of this collection of needs, you’re a dedicated professional and know how to read body language, negotiate, and be a master at a myriad of other skills.

How do you do it all?

For some, it comes natural. For many, the traits and skills of a Project Manager are forged throughout their career; many begin in other roles, and via career advancement and continuous learning, they make the switch into the world of Project Management.

But, what skills do they need?

While there’s no simple recipe for a Project Manager, there are some key-skills that can put you at the front of the pack. Whether you’re looking to make the jump into Project Management, or want to hone your current arsenal of abilities, these are the skills we hold valuable:

 

1. Communication

It’s estimated that roughly 90 percent of a project manager’s time is spent communicating. That sounds wrong at first, until you realize how many people route their communications to and from their team of PMs. It’s essential that project managers can effectively convey vision, ideas, goals, and issues—as well as produce reports and presentations, among other things. Communication is a broad topic, so it’s difficult to approach it from an all-encompassing angle.

2. Leadership

Leadership has always been a buzzword in the project management industry, and with good reason: If you can lead, you can deliver. But most importantly, leadership is often what is missing in the project manager’s arsenal of highly developed technical skills. If you’re a project manager, I can guarantee you have felt the need to improve yourself as a leader at some point. When timelines are approaching, teams are stressed, PMs can pull together a rally and meet deliverables with a smile.

3. Team Management

Besides leading a team from a strategic perspective, project managers also need to manage from an operational point of view. An effective team manager excels at administering and coordinating groups of individuals by promoting teamwork, delegating tasks, resolving conflict, setting goals, and evaluating performance. Leadership is about inspiring others to walk with you; team management makes sure your team has the right shoes.

4. Certifications

A Bachelor’s degree is not your golden ticket anymore.

The amount of Americans who have a bachelor’s degree is estimated to be around 26%. This is pushing more and more professionals to obtain their PMP certification or similar certifications to regain the competitive advantage in the job market. While no certificate or degree is the Wonka-esque golden ticket, they can certainly round out an individuals resume and provide much-needed sustenance to a career.

5. Organization

Have you ever heard that you cannot give what you do not have? Organization goes a long way in the clinical research field. In fact, entire trials can begin to crumble if organization is ignored. Maintaining an organized method of operation is imperative to both your career, and the studies you impact.

6. Risk Management

If you can predict and create solutions to issues before they arise, you increase your chances of delivering projects successfully.  Risks by definition are not urgent; as a result, many project managers fail to consider risks as seriously as they should.

Project management skiillset infographic


Project management is a job that demands a varied and vast skill set. Start by honing your practices in each skill set, and keep adding and incorporating them into your work.

At Trial Runners we have an excellent Project Management team to help you conduct your study. Please feel free to contact us.