Whether you’re the boss, a business analyst, an account manager, or a digital marketer, more and more people are involved in project-based work, even if they don’t have the job title of project manager (PM). The Project Management Institute (PMI) calls this the Project Economy – where people have the skills to turn ideas into reality and address major issues companies are facing through a project management approach.
By adopting project management thinking, individuals can approach their work more strategically and are better equipped to handle complex tasks, collaborate with others, and achieve their goals.
We look at why it’s important for employees to have project management skills, what those skills are, and how to acquire them.
Understanding the New Project Economy
IBM Executive Cindy Anderson says the Project Economy was unleashed by the 4th Industrial Revolution. Using Spotify and Chinese electronics giant Haier as examples, she says projects at these organisations are now “led by people with a variety of titles, solving a variety of problems in industries big and small, and across all regions around the globe.”
According to PMI, the word “project” has enormous possibilities in defining how people do what they do and how businesses achieve their goals, create change, and deliver value. It means we should no longer define work by its features or attributes, but in terms of what needs to get done and figuring out the best way to do it.
Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, a project management and strategy implementation champion, says that with the digitalisation of the economy and increased focus on collaboration, innovation and agility, more work is being executed as projects. “Projects are the new norm for creating value or, indeed, for simply staying in business. No matter your title or role, whether it’s your first day on the job or you’re the CEO, if you are concerned with how your organisation creates value, then project management is now your concern.”
What do project managers do?
Project management is all about getting things done. Besides planning projects and seeing them to fruition, they play an important role in interfacing between a project and business objectives. Ultimately, they communicate and encourage transformation and growth within any organisation or role.
Taking a step back from the day-to-day tasks, these are the responsibilities all project managers carry and that are relevant to a variety of roles:
- Plan and organise tasks, identify dependencies and create timelines. Break down complex projects into manageable tasks, prioritise work and establish a roadmap for success.
- Identify and mitigate risks and develop contingency plans.
- Collaborate and communicate with team members and individuals to improve efficiency, avoid duplication of work and ensure better outcomes.
- Manage time and resources to meet project deadlines and budgets.
- Manage stakeholders’ expectations, and understand their needs and concerns to improve relationships, build trust and increase support for their work.
What skills do project managers have?
People or soft skills are a must-have for anyone involved in project management. Since they’re at the hub of work, they need to get on with different kinds of personalities and figure out how to support them and work with them. This makes emotional intelligence and social competency high-value skills.
They need a “sense of urgency” and don’t wait for things to fall in their lap but go out to find answers and solutions to ensure people and projects keep moving forward. Other critical soft skills (all of which can be learnt) are good communication, being a team player, being flexible, and being able to think both analytically and critically.
How do project management skills help you at work?
Regardless of your role, project management skills ensure you succeed at whatever it is you’re working on. Aside from personal effectiveness, leadership and becoming a better communicator, these are three compelling reasons why you should consider upskilling yourself or your team in project management:
- Get your work done – If you can plan, schedule and organise your work, you’re more likely to get it done on time, on budget and in a way that meets expectations.
- Balance priorities – Through priority planning (along with time-tracking and time management), everyone, from team leaders, engineers, developers, sales planners, marketers and small business owners, remain focused and aligned on the most important work.
- Manage ambiguity and uncertainty – PMs need good risk management skills to identify things that could go wrong and prepare contingency plans.
Learn in-demand project management skills
Expertise in leading projects is set to become an extremely marketable skill now and in the foreseeable future, and more companies – from private businesses to government agencies and nonprofit organisations – are investing heavily in project talent across the board. Plus, they’re willing to pay for the expertise.
At MasterStart, we are prepared for the shift to the Project Economy and believe project management skills are essential for both employers and employees to look at work through the lens of a task, not a title.
We invite those interested in learning the real-world skills needed to organise, plan and effectively manage any facet of businesses to download our FREE Project Management Toolkit. This resource pack will empower you with the knowledge and strategies needed to conquer any project challenge. It covers two powerful tools, the PESTLE Analysis, which helps uncover external factors that impact a project’s success, and Belbin’s Model, which helps you explore team member roles and strengths.
Ready to upskill yourself or your employees for the new Project Economy? Then sign up for our Project Management online short course and learn how to address all business challenges through projects.