Champion Voices
PMI South Asia

Project Management Skills: Not Optional Anymore

Enterprise Cloud Architect, Kyndryl India Pvt. Ltd. PMI South Asia Champion

What are the top project management skills required to meet the needs and expectations of today’s market?

To thrive in today’s business environment, project managers must learn and master the following skills:

Thinking like a CEO: In the 21st century, project managers are expected to think and deliver like a successful startup CEO.

Project leadership: Project managers are business leaders and participate in discussions with customers and other stakeholders to define business value. They understand business requirements and contribute to enterprise architecture designs and direct solution architectures. They communicate and sign off on the final solution and the cost case with customers. They continue to lead high-level design, support how the solution is being built and deliver it with the help of multiple people and organizations.

Ability to look for business value: Thanks to cloud automation technologies, the world has shrunken in terms of time, distance and skills. The role of project managers has shifted to being an orchestrator of success within the shortest time possible, a minimum budget and a fixed number of team members. Today, Project managers are expected to leverage automation tools to reduce cost and deliver quality outcomes with minimum resources.

Embracing automation: Reusable software codes and applications are simplifying software applications and systems. Using products and services related to digital transformation of governments and industries is helping bridge gaps in manual, unorganized and unstructured information systems.

Being innovative: The enablement of transparency and real-time dashboards is helping project managers deliver faster, foster better decision-making and ensure highquality products and services.

In what ways do certifications differentiate project managers?

Certifications enable skill development that is aligned with PMI’s Talent Triangle®. Exam content outline (ECO) describes domains, tasks and activities in a structured way. The sixth and seventh editions of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) comprise a collection of standards. These standards describe the interacting and overlapping domains in a simplified way for non-practitioners and practitioners alike.

The certification journey for project managers starts with the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®. Over the years, practitioners may move to the advisory level and consider the Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® or Disciplined Agile® (DA™) certification. Finally, when they reach the level of an expert or thought leader, the ideal certifications to pursue are Program Management Professional (PgMP)® and Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)®. Fortunately, there are formal education and training programs available to help project managers navigate their journey. Mentorship is also provided by PMI volunteers to aspiring project managers. Certifications at various levels help not only develop good project managers but shape great project managers. These certifications validate the skills earned and empower project managers to contribute and build great businesses.

Industry-recognized certifications help organize the profession and skills earned through various badges to set expectations and deliver as per the standards defined. This improves the success rate of projects and the overall outcomes.

What would be your advice to someone who is considering a certification but does not know how to go about it?

Project management skills are no longer optional but are now considered mandatory for successful projects. My advice to new project managers would be to actively participate in project management community forums, online and in person. PMI chapters are present in major cities around the region, providing networking opportunities with other project managers. It is important to identify a mentor who can guide you through the certification journey. Become a PMI member and leverage the standards and practice books for self-study. Besides, attending training sessions from Authorised Training Partners will help you expedite your learning journey.

You should also apply your acquired skills to your current projects to help validate your knowledge. To take a step further, observe how experienced project managers apply and deliver projects. Additionally, project managers must focus on developing the emotional quotient and leadership skills to effectively manage their teams. Participating and volunteering in PMI chapter activities will contribute to the growth of the chapter as well as your own personal growth. The next step is to become a PMI Champion and represent the industry, at the country level, to demonstrate your project management abilities and skills and show your commitment to the growth of the project management community.

Certified Project Managers Elevate Project Quality

Head of Project Services, Tieto India Pvt. Ltd. PMI South Asia Champion

What are the top project management skills to meet the needs and expectations of today’s market?

Negotiation, problem-solving, alignment and re-alignment techniques, leadership and managing the political landscape are the top skills required for project managers today. These skills ensure project success of scope, time and cost. The ability and agility to deliver intended benefits, strategic business results and desired project outcomes are the other significant success factors in today’s extremely complex project deliveries. Experience in modern and legacy technologies and industries is also useful for project managers today. Every experience is an endorsement of the practical applications of project management techniques and methods to deliver fruitful project outcomes. It is important to document lessons learned, which will provide inputs and insights for future projects.

In what ways do certifications differentiate project managers?

Project management certifications validate the skills, experience and knowledge of an experienced project who may have worked on various projects across industries. Certified project managers are considered experts in delivering projects with better quality. They follow guidelines and draw from their experiences in similar projects to deliver better outcomes based on standardized project management frameworks and documented best practices.

What would be your advice to someone who is considering a certification but does not know how to go about it?

The first step is to get involved with a PMI chapter in your city and network with professionals from various industries. Participate in discussions at your local chapter. Find a study group and a mentor or guide who can help you navigate the certification landscape. Always stay updated by following the latest edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) published by PMI. Lastly, celebrate your success once you have earned the certification.