What Skills Do Project Managers Need In Future?

PeopleCert’s Markus Bause talks about the future of project management skills, from soft skills to Dev Ops.

Please introduce yourself

My name is Markus Bause and I am the VP of Product and Marketing at PeopleCert.

PeopleCert specialises in best practices in IT service management and project management. We are responsible for the development, maintenance and promotion of a range of best practice methodologies that are used in various business areas worldwide.

These include global leading frameworks such as ITIL for IT service management and PRINCE2 for project management. PeopleCert aims to support organisations and individuals with best practice publications, effective resources, tools, learning materials and certifications to enhance their performance and competence.

As such our offering is available in multiple languages, across 200 countries, and the practices have been adopted by numerous professionals, more than 50,000 corporations (incl. 82% of Fortune 500) and more than 800 government organisations.

What kinds of skills are in highest demand, and will this change in future?

This past December, Forbes published an article by Bernard Marr, author and government technology adviser discussing the most in-demand skills for 2024 and lists among others, Project management, Data and AI, Sustainability, Cloud, and Communication skills.

Certainly, across various industries, a dynamic set of skills is currently in high demand, reflecting the ongoing evolution of the global workforce. As digital transformation accelerates, proficiency in ITIL, programming languages & DevOps, cloud computing and data management remain current while emerging fields such as sustainable technologies may gain prominence.

However, the importance of soft skills cannot be understated. Effective communication, adaptability, critical thinking, change management and collaboration are highly valued as organisations recognise the significance of interpersonal dynamics in achieving success.

Looking ahead, the demand for these skills is likely to persist, but the specific nature of technical skills may evolve as technology advances, influencing the trajectory of skill requirements. Additionally, as remote and hybrid work models become more prevalent, digital literacy and the ability to thrive in virtual collaboration environments will continue to be significant.

Having said that, professionals and organisations across industries are now compelled to adopt a culture of continuous learning. Staying abreast of emerging technologies, with training programs and certifications, is now essential for any professional’s career advancement and organisations’ business success.

PeopleCert provides a diverse range of certifications in both technical and business domains, empowering professionals to fulfil their potential and achieve personal aspirations. Simultaneously, organisations can leverage these certifications to enhance their human capital, align with strategic objectives, and attain business success.

How does the tech skills gap impact the arena of project management and project management professionals?

The pronounced shortage in tech talent, alongside the increasing integration of technology in all forms of work, is undoubtedly affecting all professionals across industries and positions.

As is expected, it also impacts project management with key implications for professionals in the field.

Foremost is the heightened competition for project managers with technical expertise, as organisations increasingly prioritise specialised skills. The evolving tech landscape outpaces the skill set of project managers leading to delays and inefficiencies in project delivery.

The importance of continuous learning becomes paramount, with project management professionals needing to stay abreast of emerging technologies to remain effective. Collaboration challenges can also arise due to communication breakdowns between project managers and technical teams, reemphasising the need for effective integration of project management and technology.

The tech skills gap truly underscores the necessity for a dynamic skill set that combines project management expertise with a deep understanding of technology, and organisations must invest in training to ensure their project managers are well-equipped for the challenges of the modern project landscape.

What are the symptoms of this issue and what’s the best response?

As mentioned, symptoms of the tech skills gap in project management are evident in increased competition for skilled professionals, project delays due to insufficient technical expertise, and challenges in effective collaboration. To address these, the best response involves fostering a culture of continuous learning and upskilling for project management professionals.

PRINCE2 7, the latest version of the renowned project management method, proves invaluable in this context. With a central focus on people management, the method recognises the pivotal role of human capital in project success. Its emphasis on flexibility, adaptability, and scalability aligns with the demands of the evolving tech landscape. Embracing digital and data management, PRINCE2 7 equips professionals with tools essential for navigating the challenges of the digital era.

Furthermore, it integrates sustainability into project performance, aligning projects with environmental and social responsibility goals. Its compatibility with Agile, Lean, and ITIL methodologies equips project managers to efficiently handle tech-driven projects, enhancing their ability to deliver results amidst dynamic requirements.

Designed for all professionals, including aspiring or experienced project managers, PRINCE2 7 provides a common language for projects across the organisation. By leveraging these characteristics, organisations can effectively bridge the tech skills gap, ensuring project managers are equipped with the versatile skills needed to succeed in today’s dynamic project environment.

In a world driven by digital, what role is there for human connections in future?

In a landscape where AI hints at streamlined work environments, the value of human skills in project success remains paramount. As technology intertwines with all aspects of human endeavour, the continuous learning journey for individuals must encompass the development of emotional intelligence, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and diversity.

Efficient collaboration among people, processes, and technologies becomes pivotal for successful organisational digital transformation, emphasising the significance of human skills in building connections and ensuring maximum value from IT initiatives.

Notably, our 2023 IT Upskilling report reveals that 46% of IT professionals prioritise collaboration and cooperation among essential soft skills, yet 35% identify it as the most noticeable skills gap in their companies. Recognising and addressing this gap is imperative for the holistic success of organisational initiatives & projects.

In conclusion, fostering collaboration and cooperation, alongside honing other essential human skills, is key to unlocking the full potential of professionals and achieving impactful organisational outcomes.

What else should project managers be wary of in the next 12 months?

In the next 12 months, project managers should prioritise factors like business justification, clear roles and responsibilities, and flexible adaptation to project requirements. Ensuring projects align with business goals and maintaining transparent communication about roles and responsibilities contributes to success.

Moreover, project managers must remain adaptable to evolving project environments, incorporating changes as needed. Staying attuned to technological advancements is essential, potentially requiring adjustments to project methodologies.

Amidst global economic uncertainties, project managers should focus on strategic business alignment and agile responses to unforeseen challenges. Navigating the dynamic landscape requires a holistic approach, encompassing business justification, effective communication structures, and adaptability to optimise project outcomes.

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