As in-person life slowly gets back to normal, the world of work that is emerging looks different than prepandemic standards. While navigating through this unprecedented period is challenging, project leaders have a significant role to play on the front lines, innovating and coming up with smart solutions in the post-COVID world.
“We believe that this situation will create unique opportunities for project professionals to help our world recover from this major disruption, whether it’s rethinking business models, rethinking how value gets delivered to customers, or rethinking the ways of working to include how we can best leverage AI, machine learning and other disruptive technology to accelerate change and value delivery,” said Mike DePrisco, Chief Operating Officer (COO), PMI.
To be successful, however, project professionals will need to be able to leverage emerging opportunities and adapt to the new world of work.
Lindsay Scott, a career columnist for PM Network and cofounder of the U.K. recruiting firm, Arras People, believes that the project professionals who will be successful are those who haven’t neglected their self-development and, instead, have been keeping an eye on what is happening in the project management landscape.
“We know it’s not a waterfall one anymore,” said Scott. “There is hybrid delivery going on. So one aspect of it is: what are your skills like in that particular area, because you may find that you’re lacking in comparison to other people who are in the marketplace. It is a crowded market, and you need to look for any way you can stand out in terms of the types of opportunities.”
One of the most critical skills project professionals will need to have mastered is communication. While having the ability to communicate on projects with team members, organizations and other stakeholders has always been important, the virtual work element has boosted the need for effective, emotionally intelligent, clear communications into high gear. In short, the need to keep people motivated and engaged from afar, as well as ensuring their well-being, has been under the spotlight like never before.
According to Scott, there are pockets of opportunity for all ages and experience levels. The key is understanding where those pockets are, and what hiring organizations are really looking for.
“It’s about being able to look around you in the situation that you’re working in right now and bringing your own unique perspectives based on your age and generation—based on all the kinds of things that the people who you’re working with might not even be aware of. You’ll be surprised at just how open people are,” says Scott.
Regarding certifications, PMI has recently started offering the PMP certification exam online for the first time. PMI’s move to providing critical offerings in the digital realm is one example of how the organization is pivoting quickly to support new working models.
“I think that what we’re learning from this experience is that there is an appetite for more digital, and given the sophistication of digital platforms these days and the way that they have evolved, you can create a really good customer experience and creative options for individuals to connect online just as you could do it face to face,” said DePrisco. “We’re excited about it. We think we’re well positioned to be able to serve our stakeholders in a digital, virtual way, and we’re off and running in that regard.”
Today more than ever, the world needs talented project leaders who are dedicated to ensuring that the next normal is better than the old normal. Now is the time to get the right skills to be one of those trailblazers.