Importance of Project Management Skills to Thrive in Times of Disruption

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It’s easy to forget today that the term “project manager” was rarely considered a profession by many when the Project Management Institute was launched – yet project management has become a globally recognized and valued profession over the decades. who followed. A 2017 report from Dell Technologies estimated that up to 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. Numbers like this may cause understandable concern, but the growth of the project management profession itself reminds us that new opportunities are emerging as disciplines mature and grow in adoption.

This is especially true for project professionals, who are only likely to see their skills continue to grow in demand over the next decade as organizations seek their expertise and skills to combat the effect of disruptive technologies. Analysis supported by the PMI found that employers around the world will need nearly 88 million people in project management-focused roles, especially in rapidly developing economies like India and China, which will account for over 75% of total project management-focused employment.

But the project manager of the future will be called upon to generate even greater value than traditional measures of delivering projects on time and on budget. A common theme in PMI’s most recent body of research and thought leadership reflects that the role of the project manager will continue to expand. The project manager of tomorrow will wear many hats: innovator, strategic advisor, communicator, big thinker, versatile manager, and more.

Along with the migration of business cards to LinkedIn profiles, job titles will also continue to evolve. Today we see project managers; team leaders; scrum masters and product owners; delivery, implementation and change managers; and transformation paths, among others. We also often see the project manager role evolve from “project manager” to “project manager” – and even project manager in some organizations – a reflection of the expanded and essential role these professionals play in disruption management.

In this new professional reality, project leaders, whatever their title, must continue to demonstrate the full range of skills required of project professionals. Strong technical skills are still necessary but must be complemented by leadership skills, as well as strategic and business management skills. At the same time, organizations also need project managers who maintain an ability to learn and keep pace with technology.

Businesses large and small are aggressively investing and expanding their capabilities in emerging technologies such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence.
But successfully navigating these disruptive technologies requires talents who have developed real digital skills. When we think of the term “digital skills,” we often think of computer-oriented tasks such as coding or software development. However, practitioners cannot overlook the human side of driving change and harnessing technology. At a time when many routine tasks will be increasingly automated, professionals will gain a competitive edge by building their skills in areas where machines can’t compete with humans: inspiring teams, leading with empathy, and mentoring colleagues. In short, it is crucial that project managers develop their Project Management Technology Quotient, or PMTQ – the ability to adapt, manage and integrate technology according to the needs of the organization and the project at hand. .

Key drivers for effectively managing disruptive technologies:

  • Skills, training and development: Innovative organizations consider the most important skills of the digital age for future project managers to be:
  • Data science (data management, analytics, big data)
  • An innovative mindset
  • Knowledge of security and privacy
  • Knowledge of legal and regulatory compliance
  • The ability to make data-driven decisions
  • Collaborative leadership.

It’s worth noting how many of these skills are what we might traditionally call “soft skills” (a term in dire need of reconsideration – after all, these are very often the hardest skills to cultivate).

  • Tools and approaches: Project managers use multiple approaches, including collaborative platforms and work management tools, as well as emergent, hybrid, and traditional methods to help them create value. Project managers should consider themselves ready, willing, and able to expand their toolkits to meet the unique needs of each project.
  • Culture: Innovators create a culture that sees disruption as an opportunity to enable greater agility. They value the technology shift to a digital environment as they encourage their project managers to take advantage of flexible practices and new tools – paving the way for continued evolution towards an environment where people and machines work together to achieve better results. .

The need for improved digital skills is particularly acute in India, home to a large youth population, with the working-age population growing by 1.3 million new workers every month. In order to fully capture what could be a tremendous demographic opportunity, organizations across India in all sectors are well advised to focus on developing strong project management skills. Indeed, a clear trend that PMI has identified in its research is that leading organizations report that they invest in formal processes to develop the skills of project managers in these areas. After all, even in the age of technological disruption, it’s still essential for organizations to rely on proven best practices in project management – engaging executive sponsors, executing projects that align with strategy organizational and keep a close eye on scope drift.

Organizations that succeed in this time of disruption are investing in their talent to enable increased productivity, create greater efficiency, and promote innovation. Forward-thinking organizations allow employees to experiment with different ways of organizing work and provide solid training to expand their capabilities. They create roles, assign titles, and empower their teams to select the most appropriate project management approach to ensure success.

These organizations not only embrace the future, but shape it through the successful implementation of projects. In the coming years, the world is expected to continue the recent trend towards a project-driven economy – one in which work is organized around portfolios of projects rather than jobs defined by bulleted lists of static responsibilities. . And in the project economy, it will be organizations that invest in project skills and continuous learning that will reap the rewards.

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