Project Management (PM) and Facility Management (FM) are professions that have certain similarities. Both career paths are demanding disciplines with a keen focus on improving performance and productivity within budget and time constraints. Furthermore, both professions require a diverse set of skills in order to be successful.
Essentially, every maintenance task that FM teams undertake must have a start and endpoint, with a specified budget and deliverables – just like a full-scale project. If you are an FM and you’ve ever wondered whether acquiring some PM skills will help make you more successful, keep reading as we’ll discuss that below.
What Are the Major Project Management Skills?
Information from the Indeed platform shows the top 20 skills that are essential for project managers. Looking at the list, it appears that a successful facility manager will need all 20 of them to execute their roles and responsibilities.
However, in this post, we’ll focus on just 7 of these skills:
Whether they’re managing a facility spread across several locations or a smaller structure, strong leadership skills are a key requirement for successful FMs. Leadership skills will enable them to bring diverse workers together, form a cohesive team, and motivate these teams to achieve common facility goals.
Some of these leadership qualities are exhibited through confidence, positive reinforcement, trustworthiness, self-motivation, fairness, and organizational skills. FMs with this important project management quality can set positive examples and keep their teams focused on making progress regardless of workplace challenges and distractions that may occur.
During the course of a project, it can seem like the PM is resolving one issue after another on a daily basis. This ability to tackle issues as they arise will help FMs as well. From minor challenges to more significant matters, every situation in a facility requires strong analytical skills and critical thinking.
For one, FMs need to ensure that they resolve issues with solutions that offer sustainable long-term results – not just quick fixes. In the heat of the situation, they’ll need to keep their cool, assess everything correctly, make good judgment calls, and act quickly.
A significant part of successful FM is planning. And savvy FMs know that while planning, it’s vital to consider what could go wrong. For example, they could face logistics and supply chain problems. This type of thinking is the essence of proactive maintenance. By remaining mindful of the inherent risks at each stage, when issues inevitably crop up, FMs can keep their facilities running smoothly because an efficient mitigation strategy is already available.
This PM skill enables FMs to pinpoint what could go wrong and then guides them on implementing a risk mitigation strategy.
Also referred to as soft skills, interpersonal skills include communication, empathy, and active listening.
At its core, facility management is about people. These skills empower FMs to manage relationships with all stakeholders – from clients to building occupants, vendors, and team members – by communicating effectively with each group, handling conflicts, and responding to the needs of each person accordingly.
FMs who lack social skills and the ability to communicate or interact well with others, may find that they won’t progress far in this profession.
One of the most important responsibilities for FMs is to create a viable budget, and then administer and control it throughout the financial year. Budget management skills empower FMs to effectively identify where potential cost overruns could occur, and proactively take steps to prevent these overruns.
Every maintenance request, task, or work order is subject to deadlines, which means there are several steps and stages to complete within a specified period. PM skills will help facility managers to manage time better through well-defined plans and a proper work breakdown structure.
Facility managers typically have hectic work schedules, often interrupted by phone calls, meetings, and other workplace matters. Hence, the ability to manage their time diligently can make the difference between a productive day and a wasted, chaotic day.
Just like PMs today that have a wide range of solutions, software, and methodologies like SCRUM, Agile, and kanban to streamline their work, FMs can also optimize their processes and workflow by adopting relevant tools and solutions.
Although FMs are not expected to be mathematical or engineering geniuses, at the minimum they should have the basic technical know-how to find their way around a computer. In addition, they’ll need the ability to assess situations, then use modern maintenance software like CAFM and other tools to address the needs on their premises. In addition, it’s expected that modern FMs are open to researching new technologies for improving their assets and work.
Ultimately, possessing PM skills enables FMs to adopt a proactive approach for managing their teams and facilities. Instead of relying on outdated work methods, FMs that acquire and leverage PM skills have the foresight to expect and manage risks, powerful technologies at their disposal, and better people management skills – all these qualities working together for optimal customer satisfaction.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy-to-use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.