Project Management Institute (PMI) today unveiled its Pulse of the Profession® in-depth report: The Project Manager of the Future: Developing Digital-Age Project Management Skills to Thrive in Disruptive Times. Based on insights from innovator organizations, the latest research outlines skills that are critical for employees who manage projects and programs, and behaviors employers will be required to demonstrate in order to face today’s business challenges brought forth by disruptive technologies. The report highlights what will be the most in-demand skills and competencies for workers, discusses the future of collaboration and touches on the potential professional culture shifts that may be required given the changing work environment.
Key takeaways from the report include:
- KEY COMPETENCIES ALIGN WITH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: The most important digital-era skills for prospective project leaders will be data science (data management, analytics, and big data), an innovative mindset, security and privacy knowledge, legal and regulatory compliance knowledge, the ability to make data-driven decisions, and collaborative leadership.
Organizations can ensure their workforce has mastery of these skills by factoring them into the recruitment process, as well as investing in training and professional development. In fact, the report indicates the vast majority of innovator companies (80 percent) are highly effective at recruiting and hiring project managers with the skill sets necessary to drive the organization forward into a digital environment. And, nearly three-quarters of innovator companies consider their organizations highly effective at training project leaders.
- THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH: Project leaders use multiple approaches, including collaborative platforms and work management tools, along with emerging, hybrid, and traditional methods, to help them deliver successful outcomes. This aligns with the concept of adopting a value delivery landscape mindset, one that allows organizations to minimize risks, control costs, and increase value by selecting the approach that best fits the needs of the project and the organization.
- VIEW DISRUPTION AS AN OPPORTUNITY: Innovators are creating a culture that views disruption as an opportunity to enable dexterity. Rather than view disruption as a threat, innovator companies value the technological shift toward a digital environment and continue to pave the way for evolving and leveraging advances like human-machine interaction, where people and machines work together.
Actions for Employers
To effectively manage the change, the report outlines several internal process improvements for organizations to focus on:
- MAKE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT A PRIORITY: As project leaders take on a more expansive role, training and skills development are even more essential. Innovator companies are responding with formal processes for developing those competencies through internal and external training.
- EMBRACE THE NEXT-LEVEL TOOLS AND APPROACHES THAT WORK: Digital transformation relies on an organization’s ability to leverage evolving technology and tools. Organizations must support what their project leaders see as the right approach or process be it disciplined agile delivery or design thinking. PMI expects the use of new practices to grow to the usage levels of the leading current practices, including lean agile, Scrum, waterfall, and Kanban.
- NURTURE A FLEXIBLE CULTURE: Create and nurture a culture that views disruptive technologies as an opportunity to evolve best practices. The report found the vast majority (80 percent) of innovator organizations value the technological shift toward a digital environment and encourage their project leaders to take advantage of flexible practices that allow them to move beyond the routine tasks, such as scheduling, to higher-level work, such as strategic thinking and planning.
“Project leaders are becoming even more essential as organizations continue to recognize that strategy is implemented through projects and programs,” said Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of Project Management Institute Today more than ever before, organizations need project leaders with an ability to learn and keep pace with technology. As disruptive technology frees them from routine tasks such as scheduling and gathering requirements, the role of the project leader is expanding to be one of an innovator, a strategic advisor, communicator, big thinker, and versatile manager.
PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® in-depth commissioned research was conducted online by Forrester Consulting for PMI among 469 HR professionals who hire, direct, oversee, and/or train staff that work on projects or programs, as well as 523 project leaders. The HR professionals are managers or higher level at mid-to-large size organizations. Respondents were in the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, India, and Australia. Forrester Consulting also conducted in-depth interviews on behalf of PMI with six HR professionals and 10 project leaders.