Future-Proof Your Career

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Are you thinking about making a career move? Before you do, make sure that you’ve considered some of the major shifts happening in global markets and the new opportunities they are creating. The future of project management is changing fast—staying on top of today’s trends is key to being part of it.

Digitization Is a Driving Force

Looking at global trends that are shaping the job market for project and program managers, it’s clear that digitization is behind a lot of the shifts happening in the current business landscape.

Alarka Purkayastha, an engagement manager for Accenture based in Bengaluru, India, says: “Everyone is very keen now to add the digital component, which means that everyone is more focused on having a competitive edge in terms of how they can drive better value for customers, better experience for customers, which in turn means that there is a changing technology landscape as well.”

Know Thy Customer

Understanding what the customer values is key to getting the customer experience right. Accomplishing this requires a combination of cultural knowledge and targeted market research.

“Consumers are demanding experiences,” Purkayastha says. “They’re dictating their terms to these service and technology providers. That is where we see a lot of discussions around design thinking. How do you put yourself in a client’s shoes, and how do you experience or imagine their customer journeys? And then, how do you relate it back to the services and the technology solutions that you provide?”

In fact, some of the world’s most recognizable brands have made big strides by rethinking the customer experience.

“We have dramatically stepped up the focus on customer insight, and we are using technology to help inform us of what customers want, what they need and what they think of Starbucks,” says Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks. “That informed our entire holiday plan this year, and we had a fantastic holiday.”

Gaining those insights takes data—and the ability to collect, interpret and present it.

Soft Skills Are Power Skills

Echoing this concept, Barnali Sahoo, PMO head for the Americas division of Flight Centre Travel Group, states: “For project managers, it’s always important to keep an open mind. Whenever we have looked for skills in project managers, we have looked for those traits, specifically in the soft skills.”

Strong power skills—including collaboration, empathy and innovation—are the foundation of a high-performing team. Combined with communication skills, leadership, expertise, industry knowledge and strategic and business acumen, they are what organizations are seeking in their project managers, and what project managers will need to pursue emerging career opportunities.

Go deeper with PMI’s podcast, In-Demand Skills and Sectors on Projectified®, also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.


Digital Exclusive article developed for Project Management Institute, Inc. by staff content writer Deryn Zakielarz.


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