New project management skills required to tackle digital disruption – European CEO

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According to the latest Project Management Institute report, organizations waste 10% of every dollar spent due to poor project performance. CEO and President Mark A. Langley says the number of roles for project managers is growing, along with increased competition and a faster pace of change. It is therefore more important than ever to find and encourage the right talent and to control this waste. Mark discusses how organizations can improve their project management talent management and discusses the new overlay of digital tools that will complement the PMI Talent Triangle: Technical Project Management, Strategy and Business Management, and Leadership Skills.

Watch our other videos with Mark A. Langley, where he discusses finding the right approach to delivering each project individually, and the importance of executive sponsorship to project success and strategy. For even more project management advice, explore the European CEO’s Guide to Project Management, powered by PMI.

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European CEO: Mark, what role do project managers play in an organization’s overall strategy?

Mark A. Langley: I think more and more organizations are recognizing that strategy – whether they call it strategic initiatives, transformation or change programs – is implemented through projects and programs. So the role that project managers play is really to implement the strategy. And when organizations recognize this connection and invest more formally in the talent needed to implement the strategy, they will achieve better results.

European CEO: What is the biggest oversight that organizations make when it comes to project management talent?

Mark A. Langley: Well, we see several practices that champion organizations have implemented that make them perform better than underperformers.

The first includes adopting a formal, documented career path for project managers. So rather than leaving it as an ad hoc role in an organization – perhaps informal, with great variability within the organization – they took the effort and made the strategic investment to identify a role for the project and program management. It defines the duties, responsibilities, skills, abilities and behaviors needed to be successful.

And on top of that, they actually have ongoing training and development in place. Because, like any other role in the organization, you need to be up to date with the skills of tomorrow, not just the job of today. So they anticipate 3 to 5 years, and say: where are we going from a strategic point of view? What capacities do we need? And we will match the skill development of our project managers into this defined career path going forward.

European CEO: what should organizations do now to engage in better talent development?

Mark A. Langley: Well, the skills and really the role have evolved over the last decade or two. So while it was more of a project coordinator role, for a project manager – maybe managing project artifacts, schedule and budget – it really became a leadership role. of project. And because of that, in our talent triangle, we’ve identified three critical areas. One being the technical skills in project management: they therefore remain essential. To be successful, organizations tell us, and our research proves that you need strong technical project management skills as a project manager.

But you really need two more domains. The first concerns skills in strategic and commercial management. So you’re thinking about the age of digital disruption: what’s the impact on organizational strategy? And you need to have the strategy and business management skills to understand that for the organization and ultimately for the customer.

And the third area, and perhaps the most important in our research, is leadership. They include things like organizational change management. Negotiation. Conflict resolution. These skills are really essential to motivate the team, to create a vision for the team. So that, throughout the term, they function at the highest level, ultimately to realize and implement the organization’s strategy.

European CEO: What trends do you see in these champion organizations that are already doing it well?

Mark A. Langley: Well, I mentioned that every organization is digitally disrupted. And most organizations, the vast majority, recognize that they need to digitally transform over the next three years. In this framework, what we would see against our talent triangle that we discussed is actually a layering of certain skills. And one would be digital.

So will you use artificial intelligence to perform your tasks more efficiently and productively? Or on the management side, how do you use digital to keep the team moving forward successfully? And finally, on the strategy and business management side, how do digital trends and these skills play a role in your organization, in terms of impact on customers, or internal customers and the businesses in which you operate? ?

Organizations are therefore expanding this talent triangle and highlighting what is essential to them. And I think that’s the most important. Leading organizations, champion organizations, recognize that they must prepare and apply the right fit of these skills to their organization to be successful.

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