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John P. Reiling, PMP: Management Skills and You – Hard Skills versus Soft Skills

Like “soft skills”, management skills are best learned over time. But depending upon where you are in your career, you will need to place different emphasis on developing your hard versus soft skills.

You can start by envisioning your desired end state. Since you have an interest in project management, you need to have great management skills, but you alternatively may be very technically oriented. In any case, your end state will include some combination of the hard skills – analytical frameworks, tools, and techniques – and soft skills – like leadership, team building, and communications.

In the end state, if you set your sites on a highly management-oriented position, arguably 80-90% of your success will be due to your soft skills, and 10-20% will be due to those hard skills. However, be mindful that earlier in your career, this will skew toward more hard skills, until you master them and advance further, at which time the soft skills will tend to dominate.

If, on the other hand, you opt to go a more technical route, building stronger expertise and technical skills, your end state will be one of deep technical expertise. Your success will be due in large part to your hard skills. consequently, you will need to provide greater emphasis on those core skills throughout your career.

In either case, it is helpful to be mindful of developing both your hard and soft skills througout your career, and at the same time to know which to emphasize at any stage of your career.


John Reiling, PMP

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1 comment to John P. Reiling, PMP: Management Skills and You – Hard Skills versus Soft Skills

  • Very True. Even if you are very technical oriented person, after certain level, soft skill becomes an essential for success. One can never work in isolation. Whenever you interact with your partners, clients, colleagues, supervisors or subordinates, your soft skill is the one that will make the impact. In project management job soft skill is a must to navigate through the complexity and achieve customer satisfaction.