Are your skills ready for a Project Management Role?

Have you considered what skills are needed for project manager today?  In discussions with many Project Managers and Program Managers, this seems to be the new problem in an ever evolving world of Digital Technology.  In discussing these challenges with David Lipien (A Manager with considerable PM experience), I have come to a new level of understanding of the new needs and challenges for Project Managers in this ever changing digital world.  David provided this presentation to help direct me (

Some of the feedback really provides these 7 levels of key skills everyone should have if they want to be a project manager during this age of transformation.  My contact starts by visually showing some of the issues today.  One key concern is understanding the heterogeneous concerns of a project.  It is a central requirement for future project managers.   Having and developing long term learning and skill may represent the new vision for PM’s. Some of those skills Include:

Business Skills, Systems Integration, Enterprise technology, Technical Basics, Familiarity with legacy Systems, Global Collaboration/Out Sourcing and Project Management.

Project managers need some level of knowledge and proficiency in a host of categories to be effective in many instances.  They are required to deliver alignment and quality to a project.  Coming out of our current recession, the project managers skill is also required in understanding the business, cost ramifications and impact.  In many cases, this requires the project manager to work within key roles that offer maturity in the business and technology to meet those goals.

One central theme to the role which cannot be learned is relationships building.  While all other skills can be learned over time, a Project Manager must have the people centric skills that provide engagement and the ability to deal with objections.

In conclusion, project management skill requirements are changing to provide more engagement, understanding and experienced.  While many documents and books focus on PM skills alone, this qualitative view has shown that nurturing skills across a multitude of areas will provide the most skilled PM during this age of Digital Transformation.


6 thoughts on “Are your skills ready for a Project Management Role?

  1. You make a great point in that project managers in today’s marketplace are required to have skills beyond basic project management. In my role managing implementations of SaaS products for example, I would be ineffective without a few critical components which give me the ability to navigate the types of challenges typical of technology programs. Those critical pieces are:
    – A basic understanding of the technology and expected outcomes
    – Stakeholder management skills (and ability to generally build relationships and relate to people)
    – Organizational awareness (what’s going on across the business)
    – Change management (and navigating the needs and solitons for a successful transition)
    – Motivation skills (self and those around you)

  2. I agree that you need more than just traditional project management skills in today’s world to be an effective project manager. I work in change management and I understand that the tools are only 20% of what it takes to get the job done. The other 80% are the people skills and the relationship building that you talked about in your post.

    When my leader, the Vice President of Organizational Transformation, had the opportunity to hire members for our team, he chose to hire from within the health system vs. from the outside. He knew that by doing so he could leverage the relationships and personal capital that the employees who have worked here have built over their careers in order to help facilitate change.

    When our Chief Operating Officer spoke at our last leadership meeting he said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” That is, we don’t have to look to outside of our walls in order to improve our operations. We have the talent and knowledge that we need in house.

  3. Yes, I also agree with your post here that recently, the role of project manager has changed to encompass a broader set of skills, particularly technological skills. Especially, as we continue to develop from more of a manufacturing economy to an information or service economy, the projects that companies are investing into are less cut and dry. For example, though I work for a manufacturing firm, the last few major projects have been information or culture based. We have done an ERP implementation, new business development projects, re-branding projects, globalization efforts, etc. In the past, our project managers have mostly been engineers or those familiar with manufacturing. Now, we have these resources being drawn toward these other endeavors that affect many functions within the business and add value in a different way. This requires the project manager to understand the perspective of all these functions and how they flow together. The person who managed the implementation of our ERP system has no IS background, but he has project management background. His skills are communication, comprehension of basic business needs, relationship building, and being able to work cross-culturally. This set of skills is what enabled him to manage this project. I imagine this is the type of person or set of skills that will be more and more sought after in project management going forward.

  4. In the conclusion slide, the first item jumps out at me. Leadership and taking ownership. The second part is what I think is most important for this type of role. I often see manager, not just project managers, delegate work to their employees and never follow up to see how the assignment is progressing. I think taking ownership is more of trait than a skill, but never the less, something important for a manger to have.

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