Relevant skills for Erasmus+ project managers
Conducting an Erasmus+ project is not an easy task. But what are the most relevant skills needed for project managers according to themselves. This is the question presented in the MPM master thesis written by the project manager conducting the project “Innovation and Education in the Tourism Industry”. The question raised was of the balance between “hard” and “soft” skills, a concept used to describe the skill sets that a good project manager needs to adopt to be successful. But in what ratio should hard vs. soft be? In the thesis the project manager aims to answer that question.
As the world becomes more complex, so this complexity is reflected in the projects sponsored and executed in the Erasmus plus (E+) programme. Increasingly, researchers are looking at the role that soft skills knowledge play when managing complex international projects. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the relative positioning of hard and soft skills within the current processes of application, preparation and support provided by the E+ programme, and contrast to the skill sets which project managers leading these projects find most relevant when conducting the projects. The E+ programme has a clear focus on hard skills in its structure with less emphasis on soft skills. The research investigates the nature of this current emphasis within the E+ programme, and the forms of correlation with what a sample of Icelandic project leaders consider to be the most relevant skills when leading E+ projects, and seek insight into the potential evolution of E+ programme application, preparation and support processes during execution which might lead to greater project success. The findings indicate that the E+ programme would benefit from paying greater attention to the soft skill factors of projects led within the programme combined with the use of focused soft skills KPIs (key performance indicator) to support the evaluation of project success. Given the complexity of defining, measuring and self-rating soft skills, this paper also points strongly to a need to research further the role of soft skills in the E+ programme.
The thesis was introduced at a conference at Reykjavík University following a formal graduation and has been published and is available for reading here