Although the science of project management has changed significantly over the last several decades, project managers still need a solid grasp of the fundamentals, such as planning, scheduling, budgeting, scope management, resource management, risk management and time management. These skills have been essential since long before Gannt Charts and Critical Paths were born. As the old saying goes: the classics never go out of style.
However, on today’s relentlessly fast-paced and business landscape, project managers need more than the fundamentals. To succeed now and into the future — and take their enterprises with them — project managers must master five progressive skills in the new world of work:
- Business Agility
Business agility in this context is not a project management methodology. Rather, it is a framework through which enterprises achieve business outcomes by improving project efficiency, while evolving operations for a bi-modal project management environment. To learn more about adopting business agility to drive project, portfolio and enterprise success, click here.
- Managing Change
In the past, change was a threat that project managers wisely attempted to target and remove. However, today change is not the enemy: to some degree, it’s a permanent feature of the project management landscape; and what’s more, it’s not always negative. As such, project managers need to have the ability and authority to break or re-invent the rules when it’s beneficial — or sometimes, when it’s simply necessary.
- Generating Engagement
Project managers typically juggle multiple projects at different stages, and monitor cross-functional resources that are distributed in different offices — and sometimes, on different continents. Trying to get buy-in through a conventional “command-and-control” approach isn’t just ineffective, but it’s counter-productive. Instead, the smartest — and frankly, the only — way to motivate and optimize team members is by authentically generating engagement.
Although they’re often the most experienced member of the team, project managers cannot take ownership of everything — because they’ll get spread too thin, and imperil instead of strengthen their projects. Knowing when to hand over accountability and authority — and when not to — is a science and art that makes a profound difference between success and failure. To learn more about task delegation in the modern enterprise environment, click here.
- Using Data Analytics
The good news for project managers is that they don’t have to add “data scientist” to their list of skills and certifications. However, they must be well-versed in several areas, including: identifying the optimal set project metrics and KPIs (and justifying these recommendations or decisions to relevant stakeholders); capturing and analyzing data in real-time; submitting data-driven updates and reports to required stakeholder groups; and leveraging actionable intelligence to make smarter, faster decisions.
The Bottom Line
Project managers will always need a strong technical foundation. But they cannot rely entirely on this to survive in the new world of work. They must also master all of the above, or else they’ll soon find themselves (if not already) struggling, when they should be — and, frankly need to be — succeeding.
Clarizen’s award winning cloud-based portfolio and project management (PPM) solution is endorsed by experienced project managers in enterprises around the world as an asset that helps them: drive business agility, manage change, generate engagement, delegate effectively, and leverage data analytics.