The Director of the Master in Project Management at the Barcelona Campus of EAE Business School and lecturer on the Global Executive MBA, International MBA and Master of International Business, Marc Bara gave a presentation focusing on the Project Manager of the future, and the key skills required in changing environments.
Marc explained the foundations of his presentation were based on reports by the Project Management Institute and particularly the results of EAE’s 3rd Conference of the Advisory Board of Directors of Project Management, Supply Chain and Business Intelligence, held in April, which brought together executives from companies of the calibre of Ericsson, Nokia Mango and Pepsi. The conference focused on the participants’ expectation of Project Management in the future. In a session entitled “The Impact of Disruptive Technologies”, the lecturer shared his insight into the new critical needs in the profession, particularly focusing in technological changes in VUCA environments (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous).
The main conclusion is that a Project Manager has to be a good communicator, adaptable and able to lead remote teams with members spread around the world, as well as “acting as one of the company’s partners to understand why these projects are being undertaken at an executive level”. In his presentation, Marc explained that the traditional skills required by a Project Manager include the ability to react to changes in the environment, making the right decisions to reach the objectives set and taking into consideration the limitations (resources, time, etc.) on each project, as well as taking responsibility for the planning, execution, monitoring and successful closure of a project. He added that a good Project Management also needs skills, knowledge, techniques and strategies to contribute value to their organization with respect to a task as critical as the one they are assigned.
Marc Bara discussed which skills and experience will be most important in the next two, five or ten years. At EAE’s 3rd Conference of the Advisory Board of Directors of Project Management, Supply Chain and Business Intelligence, it was concluded that Project Managers have to be more adaptable and lead remote teams. Working remotely is becoming increasingly common, and the same can be said for working with international and multigenerational teams. In fact, by 2020, an entire new generation will join the workforce: Generation Z (people born after the mid-1990s). Looking beyond the stereotypes, it is becoming increasingly common for a Project Manager to have 20-year old and 65-year old team members working on the same project.
It must not be overlooked that Project Managers also have to be technologically efficient and have a good command of the IoT, applying machine learning to identify risks and freeing themselves up from administrative tasks through automation. The Director of the Master in Project Management at EAE’s Barcelona Campus explained that robots and Artificial Intelligence are going to automate a lot of work and this will change the foundations for lots of roles and jobs. “For Project Managers, this is an opportunity if automation frees us up to invest more time in strategy”.
In addition, Project Managers have to take on a strategic role. They can increase their value by moving beyond project management. “A Project Manager is no longer just an implementer. In the immediate future, it is essential that they act as a Management Partner”. Large projects involve a great amount of business analysis and change management in the organization. “Project Managers who understand this fact will enhance the likelihood of the project’s success”, explained the EAE lecturer.
Marc Bara acknowledged that each of the skills will require a diverse range of training and practice. “Innovations in learning methodologies “web platforms, blended in-person/virtual learning, etc.) will gradually enable professionals to acquire these new competences”.
The annual conference of the Project Management Institute brings together professionals in the sector to take part in training activities and talks. This year’s event focused on the role of the Project Manager with respect to new projects based on disruptive technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.