Pinto (1994) described project manager is truly the heart and soul of a project. Project managers are expected to successfully bring their projects to fruition (achieved pre-determined quality) while keeping a tight rein on budgets (costs) and schedules (time).
In order to fulfill the requirement of time, cost and quality, a project manager needs to acquire a set of skills to help him to manage the project and solve variety of problems during the implementation of project. These skills can be divided into two categories, which are hard skills and soft skills.
Klien (1992) briefly described hard skills are ones that project managers acquire through training and experience. While El-Sabaa (1999) described soft skills as the skills used to connate the ability of a project manager to work effectively as a group member and to build a cooperative effort within the team he leads. Soft skills are primarily concerned with working with people.
A project normally involves a lot of people and everyone plays different role. But they have the same objective: achieve the project's goals and complete the project within time, cost and quality. So, the project manager is liken to the conductor of an orchestra producing high-quality music only if all the musicians play in unison, following the lead of the conductor. The conductor succeeds only because of direct and instant communication with all members of the orchestra (Pinto, 1994). .
From the above metaphor, project manager is playing his role as leader in a project. He leads a group of people from different disciplines such as architect, engineer, quantity surveyor, contractor, sub-contractors and others. During the implementation of project, he needs to communicate and cooperate with this people from beginning till the completion of project. The process of managing project also can be called as the people management process. .
The skills needed to be a successful project manager is rarely not hard skills but is soft skills, which are leadership ability, communication skills, motivation, managing conflicts, negotiation, problem-solving skill and decision-making.