Straight Talk on Project Management

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The evolving role of the Project Manager

What do you think when you think Project Manager? Technical Project Management skills? The need to understand project scope, how to build a schedule and a budget and ensure the deliverables are produced on time?

While all those things are still vital to the role of a Project Manager, the role of a PM is ever changing, with remote working, new pressures on project teams to work to tighter time frames and budgets, it pays to keep an eye on the basic skills you may need to evolve and keep up with that pace of change.

3 Key skills to hone

  1. Communication

You need to be able to communicate beyond simply relaying information – you need to be able to engage directly with stakeholders in a meaningful way, to achieve desired project outcomes.

  1. Negotiation

From talking to vendors about goods and services to trying to secure stakeholder involvement in a project, negotiation is now a vital part of being a Project Manager. Being able to negotiate also gives you the ability to deal with any conflict that arises in your project.

  1. Proactivity

Being proactive rather than reactive in Project Management means you always have more control over potential issues. Spending time planning for and managing risks means your project will, more often than not, be successful. You can be lucky on some projects but unfortunately, you can’t replicate luck.

Why hone these skills?

It always pays to keep one eye on the future and new technological developments. Back in 2019 Gartner predicted that by 2030, 80 percent of the functions that make up the role of Project Manager would be eliminated as artificial intelligence (AI) takes on these traditional PM functions such as data collection, tracking and reporting

An alarming thought and still quite a long way off becoming commonplace, but, they also predicted,soft skills will win out over hard skills, with titles such as Strategic Advisor, Innovator and Communicator replacing the traditional PM role.

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years…

The Project Managers of tomorrow will have to wear multiple hats and possess a deep understanding of the business and strategic values of the project. But it will be those key soft skills that will ensure to continued importance of the human PM.

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