The business world is constantly changing, and the change brings more and more complexity to projects that companies work on to achieve their goals. In turn, an increased complexity creates a need for more skilled staff as well as more project roles to ensure successful completion.

In fact,  The Pulse of The Profession report from the Project Management Institute  informed that organizations will require about 87.7 million individuals working in project management related roles, thus increasing the need for talented and experienced managers.

To meet the challenges of an ever-changing business environment and attract the best talent, companies around the world are already making impressive investments in their project management talent through training, knowledge transfer, and formal processes.

The importance of having these investments in project managers is demonstrated by the difference between training programs in champions and underperformers.

2 Credit: PMI

Clearly, project management is already playing a critical role for companies, so it’s no wonder that project management directors and executive leaders claim that perfect use of the essential skills as well as some new skills becomes an advantage for professionals working in this field.

Here are the essential skills that will define the success of project managers in their roles in 2019 and beyond.

1. The ability to use Artificial Intelligence-Powered Systems

There’s no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) powered business models and solutions will disrupt entire industries, from manufacturing to customer service. Despite a popular opinion that AI will have the most effect in the industry, it will also play an important role for project managers.

For example, AI-powered tools and systems can help them to prioritize projects and allocate resources for manufacturing and other purposes. These data-enabled tools can analyze vast amounts of information, define trends, and calculate what projects are more important and how many resources are needed to complete them in time.

As a result, AI solutions will greatly enhance the quality of decision making in project management as well as provide an opportunity to do impressive things like real-time scheduling of operations. So, knowing how to use these tools will become increasingly relevant in 2019.

2. Strategic Advice

According to project management directors and executive leader interviewed by the aforementioned report by the Project Management Institute, the role is quickly expanding to strategic advising. Now, companies require project managers to plan, execute, and deliver strategically relevant knowledge to CEOs and business leaders because they need them to be better positioned to navigate through an ever-increasing business landscape.

Moreover, this need is explained by the fact that project management is becoming more strategic; no wonder that more than 40 percent of organizations have an enterprise-wide project management office (EPMO) report that is aligned to their overall organizational strategy.

According to Gartner, EPMOs are now evolving into change hubs for dynamic business networks, and 50 percent of large companies will have integrated traditional project management and IT project management offices into EPMO hubs by 2021. This will allow them to respond to complex business changes in a timely manner and accelerate digital transformation.

Also, having an EPMO will help to achieve a higher level of PPM (Project Portfolio Management) in an organization. This is a serious problem for many companies: for example, according to a recent survey of executives and business leaders on the state of project management in 2018, 56 percent of them reported being dissatisfied with the current level of PPM in their organization.


Credit: Wellington, The State of Project Management Survey 2018

3. Technical Skills

A project manager will have to have a good understanding of platforms and tools used to deliver a project, even if their job isn’t actually tech-related. So, having some time to learn these skills is very important; by having this knowledge, one can better understand and interact with teams, customers, and other stakeholders involved.

The list of technical skills that will make a difference for project managers this year also includes the following:

    • financial planning
    • managing work schedules with appropriate software
    • making recommendations on insurance and overall management
    • project assessment for identification of potential issues.

That’s why 50 percent of project management directors say that the development of talent with the necessary technical skills has a high priority in their organizations, according to the Project Management Institute.

3 Credit: PMI

4. Leadership Skills

As you can see from the above image, leadership skills have a high priority for 48 percent of project management directors. It makes perfect sense because the essence of the role of a project manager is rooted in good leadership.

It will continue to play a profound role for professionals working in this area because they will lead their teams from both operational and strategic perspective – they provide the performers with all they need to complete projects, resolve conflicts, develop and set goals, communicate the visions, deliver much-needed motivation, assess performance, and overview the whole process to identify problems and respond to them in a timely fashion.

That’s why we have a lot of leadership-focused conferences planned this year, including:

  • PMO Leadership Conference 2019
  • 7th Women in Project Management Leadership Summit
  • APM Project Management Conference London 2019
  • Resource Planning Summit
  • PMI Global Conference – North America
  • AIPM National Conference

 5. Conflict Resolution Skills

Even though conflict resolution isn’t exactly the most impacting thing on a project manager’s schedule, they spend at least 24 percent of their day doing that, according to Fast Company citing a study by the American Management Association (AMA).

The list of potential causes of conflict during a project includes:

    • Poor leadership by the project manager
    • Role ambiguity
    • Lack of authority given to the project manager
    • Lack of communication
    • Change
    • Poor relationship between the project manager and functional manager

In other words, if a project manager doesn’t know when to intervene and take action when a conflict occurs, a lot of time and energy will be wasted. Therefore, learning them will become one of the main goals for professionals working in this area in the next few years.

The business world clearly needs more project managers ready to take on complex challenges. As the role becomes more and more important for organizations, this year will be a great one for nurturing a great skill set and finding a highly challenging and rewarding job.


Author Bio:

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. She is practicing regularly while reviewing new translation services at Pick Writers and constantly contributing to other educational platforms. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. You can find her on Facebook

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