Joseph Cahill opened his presentation with an example to illustrate how digital technology is a part of our daily lives, like how he used WhatsApp to ensure he boarded his flight to India on time.

It set the stage for discussions around changes in the business scenario with the advent of digital technologies, the need for project management to evolve, and the skills that the project manager of the future needs to acquire to succeed. Quoting Dr Michael Chui, partner, business and research, McKinsey Global Institute, from PMI’s podcast Projectified, Cahill said that a major part of what we do at work would be automated in the future. “Though technology will free us (from manual, repetitive work), teamwork will become even more important,” he said.

The project manager of the future would need fewer technical skills and more refined soft skills. A leader must have soft skills to be able to motivate, inspire, communicate, and respond effectively. Project managers would need to make data-driven decisions. As the amount of data available can be overwhelming, knowing how to pick the correct data and make timely use of it would be a valuable skill.

His presentation focused on the tools and strategies required to manage disruptions successfully. Being data-driven, adopting collaborative leadership, having an innovative mindset, and being open to change, were key mantras for success in this business environment, he said. He recommended skill development and an agile approach to project management as the way forward.

Cahill urged delegates to consider PMI as their partner in this journey, learn from one another, enhance their skills, and leave the conference with a new goal.