Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For driving innovation in autonomous rail transit

As a child, Zhengkai Jiang had a keen interest in trains, counting each car as it rolled by. The fascination ultimately fueled a career that’s helping drive China’s railway transformation. That includes the project he’s most proud of: designing and manufacturing fully autonomous trains for a new stretch of subway in the Nanning Metro. It’s the first independent project CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co. Ltd. has completed with grade of operation 4 level automation, the highest grade of automated train operation. 

“The project vehicles are safer, smarter, more environmentally friendly and energy-saving, and at the same time liberating the dependence on drivers, which is consistent with the country’s green development and people-oriented strategy,” Jiang says.

Along with the innovation push, he’s also helped the company’s project management office establish and implement tailored standards and systems for project evaluation—actions that have increased revenue as well as the number of project managers, Jiang says. That kind of shift is one he only sees increasing for the profession.

“More and more companies regard project management as a key driver of organizational strategy and business success, rather than simply providing business deliverables,” he says.

All this helps Jiang focus on the big-picture benefits his projects deliver.

“High-speed trains not only shorten the sense of distance between people, but they also have a wide range of social benefits,” Jiang says. “They’ve played a role in balancing and promoting the economy of the areas along the route, forming many two-hour economic circles.”


Youth Movement

Perspectives on how young people are changing the world of projects. 

Young people have the courage to take responsibility. They’re more determined in their hearts to be reasonable and seek fairness—characteristics that make young people better at turning ideas into reality. —Zhengkai Jiang, PMP

Future 50 2021 Citizen Developer Banner Ad

Advice to My (Even) Younger Self

We asked the Future 50: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Focus on work collaboration and professional engagement rather than being limited to process orientation. Deliver strategically significant project value rather than just a product. —Zhengkai Jiang, PMP

Future 50 2021 OTF Banner Ad_v2

Q&A: Zhengkai Jiang on building consensus, the courage of young people and the Han Dynasty 

What skills do you need to succeed in The Project Economy?

Organizing, communication and coordination skills. As a project manager, these abilities allow you to successfully establish a team, reach a consensus on the project goals and vision among team members, and make team members willing to commit to the goals and vision.

How are young people changing the world of projects?

Young people have the courage to take responsibility. They’re more determined in their hearts to be reasonable, seek fairness and have sufficient executive power. These characteristics make young people better at turning ideas into reality.

What’s the biggest challenge facing young project leaders right now? 

The future project world is full of changes and uncertainties. The younger generation should strengthen their ability to resist frustration and cultivate the adversity quotient so they can be optimistic while facing setbacks and difficulties.

What’s one way managing projects will change over the next decade?

Organizations are paying more and more attention to the investment in new technologies—work collaboration tools, big data analysis, cloud computing, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence—and support rapid decision-making through faster and more efficient use of project data.

What famous or historic person would you want on your project team?

Han Xin and Zhang Liang, the founding heroes of the Han Dynasty. Han Xin was worshipped as a general by Liu Bang, and he was brave and strategic, and charged into battle. Zhang Liang was Liu Bang’s senior adviser. The two worked together to help Liu Bang defeat Xiang Yu.

What’s the first thing you check every morning?

Social media channels like WeChat and TikTok.