5 Skills You Need to Become a Project Manager for Retailers

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: 5 Skills You Need to Become a Project Manager for Retailers.

By Tim Jefferson, freelance writer.

Retail is becoming more projects-oriented, especially as we move our businesses online and integrate new technologies into our work methods. Could project management be in your future? Sharpen up these skills!

1. Planning Tasks to Meet Completion Deadlines

In any big project, there are a multitude of tasks that have to be completed by specific teams. Some of them are concurrent, but others may overlap. Each task must be planned with a realistic timeline for its completion, and feeding into each task will be the various activities that make it possible for it to be done. The project manager uses tools like Gantt charts to simplify the presentation of a plan so that it can be understood easily and to allow for easy evaluation of progress.

2. Technical Know-How

It’s impossible to plan and manage a project if one has no knowledge of what goes into it. Project managers are usually deeply familiar with the entire process that goes into producing a desired result. In the retail context, a project manager should have a very strong understanding of retailing plus in-depth knowledge of other skills relevant to the projects he or she will oversee.

3. Communication Skills

Project managers act as go-betweens between the stakeholders who commissioned the project and the various teams who are working to complete it. They must also coordinate the efforts of different teams who are working on the same project as well as outside inputs they need to complete their parts of the project. It’s estimated that 90 percent of a project manager’s time is taken up by communication of one kind or another. They will inform, enquire, or negotiate, and the skill with which a project manager communicates will be one of the deciding factors in his or her success.

4. Tech Know-How

Whenever we’re confronted with a complex task, there’s a good chance that there will be technology that can be harnessed to make the task easier to manage. There are multiple software packages targeting project management, and the project manager must decide which ones are the most likely to be helpful in planning and coordinating any given project. In retail, helping to transform traditional businesses into tech-driven businesses is among the most important tasks requiring project management. Naturally, this will require an expert knowledge of the technologies that can be harnessed to serve modern retailers and their customers.

5. Problem-Solving

When working on complex projects, we can be sure that problems will crop up somewhere along the line. Project managers need the ability to identify and mitigate potential risks. They’ll also need almost superhuman troubleshooting skills. With the entire project depending on a series of interrelated tasks, one element that isn’t up to standard, or that is completed late, will impact the entire project. Project managers need to be able to identify problems as soon as possible and find solutions that will lead to satisfactory outcomes.

Not for the Faint-Hearted

Project management is far from being an easy job. It requires nerves of steel, an ability to think clearly and make good decisions, and it’s high pressure all the way. If you thrive on challenges, love complexity, are great at planning, and love solving problems, you will find project management to be a rewarding role.

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