Opinion: Project Managers Need To Up-Skill To Thrive In The 'Transformation Economy'


New research by 'best practice methodology' company AXELOS, suggested that the professional project manager might become a thing of the past, unless they evolve to embrace the new transformation economy.

Over 1.8 million people are employed in project management roles across Australia, covering the public sector and commercial sectors such as IT, financial services, construction, engineering, pharmaceuticals, health and manufacturing.  The numbers are set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years, according to 76% of project managers, as project management moves from being a specialist discipline to a generalist business skill.

The research revealed that 90% of project managers of its survey subjects said they need a stronger strategic vision that aligns with the goals of the business, suggesting that the project manager of the future will be valued above all for creativity, flexibility, agility, emotional intelligence and alignment with the strategic goals of the business or organisation.

"For full-time project managers who are able to skill up and bring agility, creativity and flexibility to projects, the rewards will be great," AXELOS said.

"They will benefit from higher earnings as they tap into the gig economy, while professionals who can drive the strategic organisational vision and achieve business transformation will be rewarded with senior management roles and even welcomed onto the board."The survey covered 187 senior project managers, representing such organisations as NHS Blood and Transplant, the Crown Prosecution Service, VISA, Meggit PLC and the Ambition Group.

Six out of ten believe that artificial intelligence and machine learning will have a profound impact on the profession: 59% say that automation will replace many routine project manager tasks, while 90% predict that project risk will increase, requiring them to develop new skills to overcome this challenge.

Golden Age

“Time and again we hear that the only constant in the world is change," AXELOS Chief Executive Officer Peter Hepworth said.

"Over recent years project management has undergone a transformation and it will continue to do so at a rapid pace as it responds to evolutions in business practices.

"Project management will evolve to become a more generalist business skill, giving professional project managers an opportunity to add value at a strategic level, and in some instances further their position within an organisation.

"But project management professionals need to broaden their skills and embrace issues of strategy, change management, risk management, stakeholder engagement and agility if they are to realise their organisational goals," he said.

As part of an international consultancy, Ambition Group Managing Consultant Parag Gogate said the pace of change in today’s business environment is immense.

"This means that project managers need to be more strategic, flexible and adaptable so they can effectively respond to the emerging transformation economy - ‘do agile’ and ‘be agile’! But it is not just the project manager that needs to evolve, so does the senior leadership mindset.

"To truly bring about business transformation and embrace all the benefits of the technology age, senior leaders need to learn how to communicate their strategic vision and objectives with clarity if they are to drive transformation from the top down.”

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