How to Stay Ahead of the Curve: The Top 10 Skills Project Managers Need in 2023

Continuous learning, evolving, and being relevant to the business landscape is the key to professional success and making a mark in the altered workplaces of today. With disruption at scale manifesting new challenges and opportunities, acquiring the right project skills to thrive in the dynamic IT/ITeS industry is imperative. In today’s fast-paced world, showcasing skills on your portfolio may not be enough to establish a clear competitive advantage. It would be best if you had clear differentiators.

Project management plays a critical role in the tech industry and has a direct bearing on delivery outcomes. As project professionals, it is hence crucial to prioritize the right skills to stay ahead of the curve.  Project Management Institute (PMI), the leading professional organization for project management, and the authority for a growing global community of millions of project professionals and individuals who use project management skills, has seen the very evolution of projects and programs for more than five decades.

Are you a project manager looking at evolving to the next and arming yourself with the skills for a career uptick? Here, PMI offers valuable insights into the skills that project managers need to cultivate in order to stay relevant and succeed. This article explores the top 10 in-demand skills for project managers in 2023 and beyond.

  1. Communication and stakeholder management

Project managers are answerable to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. To be successful, project professionals must possess excellent communication skills, recognize the importance of engaging with stakeholders, and effectively handle different opinions and interests. By aligning everyone towards a common goal, project managers can ensure that the project stays on track and eventually attains the desired goals. Developing influential skills and being able to articulate how the project fits into the overall business strategy is an opportunity for project managers to become leaders in their field.

2. Leadership

Leadership skills entail more than the ability to run meetings and give orders. In the IT/ITes industry, project managers require self-awareness, empathy, and humility, along with a deep understanding of technical tools and its impact on business. Regularly fostering team spirit, motivating teams towards a common goal, and supporting them in strategic thinking are essential leadership traits for project managers.

3. Risk management

Risk management has expanded beyond project-related risks to assess hazards for the larger enterprise and society. In the current volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, project leaders must use new methods to recognize, evaluate, and manage risks. Considering the long-term implications of a risk in addition to the immediate effects is crucial. By adopting a broader approach to risk management, organizations can better control and reduce risks that may affect their business operations, reputation, and stakeholder interests.

4. Visualization

Project professionals often deal with complex data, and the ability to visualize them can help identify patterns that would otherwise be difficult to understand. It becomes easier to express and clarify ideas, organize information, collaborate, and communicate effectively. Therefore, polishing visualization skills greatly enhances your ability to excel at work and contribute to the success of the organization.

5. Data literacy

Data literacy is crucial for project professionals as it underpins nearly all major decisions. Project managers must possess a basic understanding of accessing and manipulating data, derive meaningful insights from it, and communicate them confidently.

6. Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity can make a significant difference in an individual’s career growth and success. With constantly evolving technology, having a genuine interest in understanding how the industry is changing and adapting to new trends is essential. Project professionals who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, ask questions, seek answers, and stay updated with the latest developments are more likely to succeed in their careers and contribute to the growth of their organizations.

7. Stress management

Stress management needs to be practiced in our own lives, and project leaders need to foster it among their teams to avoid burnout and maintain productivity. Learning how to de-stress through activities aligned with one’s interests and capabilities is key. A holistic wellness approach makes for empathy and a ‘for purpose’ mindset.

8. Objectivity

It is highly essential to master the skill of seeing the world from different perspectives, which involves being receptive to feedback and gathering diverse points of view to gain an objective understanding of the project’s impact on a wide range of stakeholders. Project leaders must be diligent in this process to ensure the success of the project.

9. Adaptability

Even though project professionals were already aware of the importance of being adaptable, the pandemic has further reinforced it. Project managers must enhance their ability to adapt to changing circumstances, new technologies, and approaches. The willingness to embrace new methodologies and ways of working will always provide a competitive advantage over peers.

10. Agility

Agility is crucial in project management as it allows teams to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, stakeholder needs, and priorities. Agility enables project managers to respond efficiently to unforeseen challenges and opportunities, delivering results faster and with greater flexibility. It also helps teams maintain high levels of productivity and engagement by providing a sense of ownership and purpose.

As we move further into 2023, project managers must possess a diverse range of skills to stay proactive and adaptable in the ever-evolving industry. By mastering the 10 in-demand skills discussed above, you can position yourself as an asset to any organization looking to achieve success in their projects. Whether you are an experienced project manager or a beginner in this field, it is crucial to keep up with the latest industry trends and continuously learn new skills to stay competitive. Investing in your personal and professional development not only benefits your growth but also helps you provide better value to your clients and stakeholders. The world of project management is constantly changing, and it’s essential to be prepared to tackle any project challenge that comes your way. So, start polishing your skills now and set yourself up for success in the future.


(The article is by Project Management Institute, and the views expressed in this article are their own))

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