What Skills are Required for Effective Project Management?

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In the second of our four-part blog series, where we asks a number of project management experts why everyone is talking about project management, we posed the question “What skills are required for effective project management?”

The demand for greater competency, particularly project managers’ ability to tie in with corporations’ strategy, suggests that project management will become even more important in years to come.
According to Sara Drake, CEO, Association for Project Management, the size of the global project management industry is estimated to be $6.6 trillion by 2020 while globally there will need to be 15.7 million more project professionals than there were in 2010.

So what skills are required for effective project management?

“Since project management’s inception we have seen a step change in how projects are managed and delivered,” says Drake. “Skills have evolved. Research and formal training has skyrocketed. Within the last 20 years we have seen our skills and processes truly challenged.

“Embracing demand for digital transformation and globalisation has allowed organisations to build more complex and larger-scale projects. Artificial intelligence and increased automation will continue to affect work patterns at all levels so work will be more about managing these projects.

“The role of project professionals is transforming and advancing – even today. While the traditional skills remain vital to delivering projects on time, on budget and to the right standard, they must now be world-class communicators, leaders and mentors too.”

Drake points out that project management became a recognised profession within the last 50 years. In reality, though, it only became mainstream over the last two decades, notably when the millennial frenzy around Y2K spooked businesses, airliners and financial services companies in the late-1990s. Dealing with the Y2K bug became a key project objective for corporations.

Since the turn of the millennium, the practice of project management has developed into an essential element of companies’ make-up. Programme directors, who look after large portfolios of projects, sit side by side with HR directors and finance directors when it comes to guiding the direction and culture a company wants to take. Project management has become a strategic competency.

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