03 June 2020

Table of Contents for Project Management

Project Management

Bridging the skills gap


With government initiatives like Make in India and Smart Cities getting a big push the demand for project management skills will see a dramatic rise. This will both be a challenge and an opportunity. 


Managing India has always been a huge task but in a nation facing an enormous skills deficit managing projects could well be a huge ask. There is already an enormous backlog of skilled managers across various areas of construction and infrastructure.  India is very close to China in the need for project managers. From 2005 to 2013 the country saw an overall 34 percent spike in the number of people employed and now has shown the strongest hiring intentions globally.






Now with changes on the economic, business and regulatory front, organisations require capable and qualified project managers to assume charge of projects and deliver successful outcomes. It has been amply demonstrated that the project manager plays a key role in meeting important performance indicators in a project. With an ever evolving role only candidates with up-to-date skills will be in demand across industries. Recruitment firms like ManpowerGroup India, Kelly Services and TeamLease Services have assessed that there will be a four-fold jump in demand for workers in areas like rail and metro transport, construction, energy, ports and other infrastructure leading to a jump in salaries for project leadership roles over the next year.


The demand is being spurred by massive infrastructure commitments on the part of the Narendra Modi led government. With more resources planned for IT and infrastructure project managers will be required to bring efficiency in government projects. There is now an emphasis on finding candidates with the right skills. It is reported over three in five Indian employers find difficulty in filling jobs. With technology constantly evolving project managers are required to demonstrate an aptitude with agile approaches and the latest technology. In addition to the country’s ever-strong IT sector, India’s leading hiring industries include project-rich sectors like healthcare, and oil and gas.


The latest verdict from the portals of the human resource supply industry is that close to 5 lakh new managerial jobs will have to be filled in FY 17 alone as important missions launched by the government like Make in India and Smart Cities and other construction and infrastructure projects get under way.


Companies like Schneider Electric India, for example, are among those that are currently proactive in hiring project managers in sectors such as power, oil and gas, renewable energy, industry automation, buildings, residential and energy management. ‘Make in India’ is perceived as definitely creating a trigger for creating additional avenues for project execution and project managers. Considering the current job demand profiles project managers will be seeking a premium from a compensation standpoint in the future. 






The view from the Project Management Institute (PMI) is that India will require about 400,000 certified project managers every year till 2020 in order to better manage and successfully implement large infrastructure projects.


As a part of the urgency to bridge the skills deficit organisations like PMI India have tied up with big corporates and infrastructure firms, as well as institutions like universities and colleges, to impart training for their programmes.PMI India, a not-for-profit organisation has, so far, associated with 66 institutions and corporations. PMI doesn’t charge for training and materials and has issued certificates to a growing number of project managers, who are active and every three years participate in an upgradation programme. The Indian chapter of the global organisation is focusing on various states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to explore tie ups with government agencies, PSUs and academic institutes.






In recent years with the project management discipline evolving like never before it has created high demands for new skills to master the challenges of the fast changing work environment. Smart, lean and forward thinking organisations are requiring project managers with necessary skill sets. They want them to think more strategically and innovatively, and to manage change and complexity with an agile and disciplined approach while monitoring the big picture.


"The project management profession has evolved from a niche, technical-based discipline to a fully embedded approach to the way work gets done," explains Tim Wasserman, CLO, TwentyEighty Strategy Execution and Program Director, Stanford Advanced Project Management Program. "As a result, the skills required to fill project-based positions have also changed. Smart organisations are embracing these trends to stay ahead of the competition and continue to innovate. Project management is no longer boxed away in a corner of the room. It stands front and center and is being adopted by every area of smart organizations. These organisations understand its significance and are investing heavily to ensure that individuals, teams and departments have what it takes to deliver maximum impact.”






Indeed as part of this dramatic change technology paradigms, platforms and trends are transforming the way organisations function all around the world. In the new construction environment managers are required to be qualified in the following hard and soft skills


Understanding of the latest technologies:  IT managers will be required to build knowledge about various technology applications for successful delivery of the application or service for customers. This includes development and implementation of 'cloud', 'big data', 'analytics', 'mobile', 'social', 'business intelligence'. Meanwhile for project managers in other sectors the knowledge of incorporating new technologies into the project to attain cost and operating efficiencies will be of critical importance.


Incorporating Agile methodology: Project managers are increasingly honing skills like Agile project management methodologies like Scrum and Lean to ensure continuous improvement, team contribution, scope flexibility, delivery of quality products and maximisation of customer value. Many firms are scaling up to more mature agile practices to raise performance levels of projects.


Strategic depth: While project management previously was focused on technical execution, today's projects requires strategic viewpoints and the understanding of the work's impact. That is an aspect which is being slowly assimilated in organisations as they appreciate the value of project managers who possess a solid balance of technical and relational skills. With the nature of the projects evolving and assuming complexity project managers are now expected to think more strategically on behalf of the entire enterprise. They have morphed from being project manager to a profit manager accountable and aligned with the project's financial performance and actualisation of expected benefits. They are also required to ensure that the project-based work achieves the organisation's strategic goals.


Managing distributed workforce:  Projects spread across geographies lead to challenges like having to manager a distributed workforce, communication issues, cultural differences, not to mention the need to balance and coordinate internal versus external resources. Only managers with the ability to coordinate distributed teams will enhance the prospects of success as well as career advancement.


Change Management: With change being a regular feature of projects leaders are increasingly being expected to learn how best to manage change quickly and adapt with a positive impact on the outcome.


Program and portfolio management: As projects widen in scope and become more complex, program and portfolio management are gaining in importance. Both these practice areas facilitate selection of projects that are aligned with strategy, deliver optimal return on investment and enable organisational growth. According to Gartner, by the end of 2016, 50 per cent of digital transformation initiatives will be unmanageable because of lack of portfolio management skills, and this will lead to a loss in market share. Hence, project managers with the relevant knowledge and experience in program and portfolio management will be in demand.


Understanding of new Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools: Project managers are required to be updated on the latest PPM tools that deliver the best results for their firms. These tools facilitate financial and operational overseeing of projects, standardisation, measurement, governance and process automation.


Leadership skills:  The emphasis is also on soft skills like leadership which are very necessary in managing highly complex projects. Project managers need to be proactive, collaborative and result oriented in their approach to solving problems. Their skills should include motivating team members, assigning responsibility and accountability.  Understanding and interpreting the information about projects, people and relationships are essential skills.


Solution providers: The competent project manager is required to remain calm in stressful situations and find solutions in the case of roadblocks in a project.


Decision making: In line with the project objectives he should be able to take informed decisions based on information pooled from various sources 


Communication: Project Managers are needed to have multidisciplinary skill sets which includes effective communications skills, analytical thinking, strategic initiative, a business mind-set and technical finesse. He should be able to communicate with his team members, related project stakeholders and external agencies to ensure that the workflow remains smooth. He should be able to know what information needs to targeted where for successful outcomes of projects.


Good learner: A deep knowledge of the project domain is very crucial for the success of the project. The project leader must be able to learn skills related to information technology, resource management, finance and budgeting and quality management.



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