The soft skills of project management : a view from diploma graduates

Campana, Joe (2010) The soft skills of project management : a view from diploma graduates. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

A research study was conducted in a key area of project management: stakeholder and relationship management through communication - ‘the soft skills’. It was conducted with Diploma of Project Management graduates from one Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the Australian College of Project Management (ACPM). The study was designed to initially identify the qualifications and project management experience of the participants. Further, it identified the respondents’ understanding of and attitude to commonly held principles and literature within the project management field as it relates to the soft skills of projects. This is specifically connected to their project experience and knowledge, approach to project communications, and the stakeholder’s needs. Some of the literature showed that through the management and application of the project soft skills by project managers may actually be a recipe for project success. Hence, an important underpinning of this study was that the project manager can enhance project success (or reduce the impact of failure) by identifying and prioritising stakeholders, developing and implementing strategies for engaging and communicating with them. The use of a positivist approach to this research study allowed for the evaluation and understanding of respondents to the emergent theories of successful projects being delivered through the management of stakeholders, communications, and relationships. Consequently, a quantitative approach to this study was undertaken. The participants were drawn from graduates who completed (graduated) from the ACPM with the Diploma of Project Management between January 2004 and December 2007 only. A list of graduates was collated from this period indicating that a total of 656 graduates have completed and graduated with the qualification. The data collection for this study was done in one phase only. The questionnaire was emailed individually by the researcher directly to the selected potential respondents. Subsequently, a total of 44 responses were received, providing an overall response rate of 43%. Two key factors emerged from the survey questionnaire. Firstly, the need for the soft skills to be incorporated in project management curriculum and education programs, and secondly, that successful projects are delivered through the management and application of the project soft skills. It is expected that the findings of this study be provided across various forums (such as vocational education and training, and project management conferences) and via project management bodies such as the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) to inform learning and provide greater insight into the soft skills of project management. It is the contention of the researcher that this quantitative study of Diploma of Project Management graduates’ views and attitudes highlights the importance of project soft skills and its importance in the delivery of successful projects as well as being part of the competencies of a successful project manager. This study also revealed the value of project experience and knowledge as it pertains to the management and application of the project soft skills.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 33246
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Knight, John
Keywords: communications management, diploma of project management, graduates, project management, registered training organisation, soft skills, stakeholder management, vocational education and training
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2010 23:48
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:21

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