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What The Project Economy Means For CIOs

Mike DePrisco, Vice President, Global Solutions, Project Management Institute
Mike DePrisco, Vice President, Global Solutions, Project Management Institute

Mike DePrisco, Vice President, Global Solutions, Project Management Institute

PMI has long held the belief that all strategic change in any organization happens through projects and programs. And now, change is occurring with unprecedented speed and scope thanks to shifts in technology--technology that is more powerful, faster, cheaper, and more scalable than ever before. We are seeing entire industries--from banking to hospitality to healthcare to transportation, to name just a few--being reimagined and reshaped by such forces as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, robotics, and personalization.

With disruption--particularly of a technological nature--being the new norm, the way people work is changing. Gone are the days that people will be called upon to repeatedly perform a static list of tasks that accompany a job description. More and more, workers will be grouped and regrouped according to the knowledge, experience, and capabilities they bring to specific projects. For CIOs, this probably comes as little surprise--and is in some ways a validation of the way they have always approached their work.

But this new way of working presents new opportunities for CIOs to help their organizations thrive. Critical to this is an understanding of the competencies that form PMI’s Talent Triangle®: technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management skills. And increasingly, organizations also need project leaders with an ability to learn and keep pace with technology.

Recent research from Project Management Institute shows that the successful management of disruptive technologies relies on “a digital skillset.” When we think of digital skills, we tend to think of computer-oriented tasks such as coding or software development. But building a truly digital skillset that enables success in today’s digital environment requires a combination of skills.

SKILLS, TRAINING, AND DEVELOPMENT: Innovator organizations see the most important digital-era skills for prospective project leaders as data science (data management, analytics, big data), an innovative mindset, security and privacy knowledge, legal and regulatory compliance knowledge, the ability to make data-driven decisions, and collaborative leadership. Innovators also report investing in formal processes to develop project manager competencies in these skills. (In our research, “innovator organisations” are those that rate themselves as effective in managing the impact of disruptive technology.”)

TOOLS AND APPROACHES: Project leaders are using multiple approaches, including collaborative platforms and work management tools, along with emerging, hybrid, and traditional methods to help them deliver. Our research shows that project leaders consider themselves ready, willing, and able to use these tools and approaches to manage the impact of disruptive technologies.

CULTURE: Innovators are creating a culture that views disruption as an opportunity to enable dexterity. They value the technological shift toward a digital environment as they encourage their project leaders to take advantage of flexible practices and new tools, and pave the way for a continued evolution to an environment where people and machines work together toward more successful outcomes.

Organizations that will thrive in the face of disruption are those that invest in their talent to enable increased productivity, build better products and services, create greater efficiency and automation, and increase innovation. As technology becomes increasingly important even to those businesses that don’t define themselves as “digital” or think of themselves as being technology-dominated, CIOs will have the opportunity to wield even greater influence.

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