Like many professions in the post-pandemic world, project management has undergone another conceptual transformation, while also redefining how future projects will be managed with the release of the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle.
Keeping up with these new trends is critical to a project manager’s success, and also sounds a warning bell for companies looking to attract top talent to manage their increasingly complex projects in a highly-competitive landscape.
What’s New: 2022 PMI Talent Triangle
Let’s face it: managing projects is no easy task, and many of us often feel overwhelmed by the limited roles yet high levels of responsibility placed on project managers. American comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, said, “I can’t get no respect!” He eloquently coined the expression. And I’m sure many PMs in our misunderstood profession can identify well with this statement.
Since the emergence of the project management profession in the late 1960s, there has been a general expectation that project managers are everything to everyone on a project, although that role has been considered purely operational (basically managing the “schedule”) related activities that begin once the project is awarded from the customer.
Despite this limited official level of official responsibility, the success of the project always rested on the prime minister’s shoulders, hence a significant source of frustration and misalignment.
In May 2022, the Project Management Institute (PMI) finally confirmed what many of us have been taught since the late 1990s in releasing their updated PMI Talent Triangle:
Project managers are, in fact, Business owners They must adapt the ways of working and strong business acumen to manage their projects in our increasingly complex, changing world.
This is definitely a game-changing initiative, but it is essential to set up companies for better success on their customer-facing and internal projects. This now forces PMs to develop sharper, more refined skills to enable them to achieve these lofty aspirations.
Applying the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle: Ways to Work
The earlier traditional and agile ways of thinking have now evolved into a much broader toolbox that allows PMs more flexibility when managing their projects.
It also creates an expectation that project managers now “must be proficient in as many ways of working as possible—so they can apply the right technology at the right time, to deliver successful results.”
It is exciting and challenging to apply in large companies that must have (or develop) a high degree of organizational ambiguity to survive in the long run.
These new tools include design thinking, transformation, data modeling and performance management. These tools complement the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and now offer many different techniques that PMs can use to manage their projects.
Too many options? Information overload?
With so little time between the commercial phase and project award, how do PMs determine the best work method for each project? To me, this is one of the primary reasons project managers must engage prior to bid preparation to analyze the full scope and strategic importance of each project.
In this way, the work breakdown structure or WBS (ie the nucleus of the project) can be customized to cover only what is to be bid and executed. It also enables better identification and alignment of organizational assets for use in the project.
That’s why strategy meetings with key decision makers and stakeholders should be held as early as possible, even at the prospect identification stage. An adept PM will develop a questionnaire to guide the conversation and arrive at a “best way” to create both a business proposal and an implementation plan.
Applying the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle: Power Skills
As I mentioned in previous articles, communication is the most important skill for a project manager and this new pillar emphasizes an increasingly collaborative approach to leadership, fostering innovation, empathy and ownership.
In this way, the PM empowers his team with the goal of more effective stakeholder management All levels To drive the change of the project and meet the project objectives.
By using techniques such as neuroscience, business psychology, emotional intelligence, and brainstorming sessions, future PMs can develop a more empathetic, humanistic approach to understanding the ever-widening needs and challenges of managing their projects. Scope of stakeholders to be managed.
Don’t forget that projects are still managed by people, so understanding the human psyche, cultural differences, intergenerational preferences and historical perspectives are key inputs that influence team performance.
Nor can we ignore global trends such as diversity and inclusion, climate change and other geopolitical events that shape our behaviours, policies and actions. They also challenge the PM to be a highly adaptive, active listener.
These practices should be kept in mind by every PM while holding meetings, planning work and interfacing with stakeholders. I think it’s very powerful in encouraging creative, innovative approaches to solving problems, which is one of the main functions of a project manager.
For example, I promote a cultural minute at the beginning of select meetings to give team members an opportunity to share specific topics of interest. These can then be woven into the core of the meeting or even into specific parts of the project to improve team engagement.
Finally, I believe driving this increased interpersonal skillset can be very effective in coaching, mentoring and training across the project management spectrum as we all know the current challenges in retaining and attracting top talent!
Applying the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle: Business Acumen
From a purely operational focus to a new business owner mindset, PMs now “need to understand the macro and micro influences in their organization and industry and have function-specific or domain-specific knowledge to make better decisions.”
I particularly like this pillar of the new PMI Talent Triangle because it really elevates the PM’s status within an organization, while challenging functional managers to step up their games to support the company’s key projects and initiatives.
It challenges the Prime Minister to do their homework now so they really understand:
- Business context of the project (organizational goals, strategy)
- Key market drivers (regulation, currency, geopolitics)
- Competitive landscape (also important during implementation)
- What does success look like (sustainability, corporate image)
- Potential gaps (CAPEX, OPEX, skills) to implement work
Instead of participating only after project award, it now means Initial involvement During the commercial, pre-award phases of the project, the project team assesses project requirements to ensure that what is promised can actually be delivered to foster better relationships with customers (and other key stakeholders).
The value a project manager brings to an organization can truly be leveraged as organizations now see how influential PM is throughout the project.
For example, an adept PM applying business development or customer service techniques can assess the level of customer satisfaction at any point (not just at the end) during project execution. Opportunities to upsell by learning about a whole host of opportunities that arise, including competitor performance, new project scope, other customer projects, as well as innovations that respond to future trends/needs.
This will better prepare the PM during management of change (MOC) or variation order negotiations, as they will have a clearer understanding of how the original scope of the project was negotiated, thus providing important insight into customer psychology, key decision makers, etc. etc. This leads to a more consistent customer experience.
I’m very motivated by the release of the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle because I feel it finally gives project managers validation in our mission to show how much value we bring to an organization. This keeps us relevant by responding to megatrends while giving us a very complete toolbox to adapt our project management techniques to so we don’t overkill or undercut our projects. It challenges us to redefine what it means to be a project manager while still providing an important seat at the executive table.
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