The Skills Project Managers Will Need in 2025

January 10, 2018 by Sam SauerSam Sauer

Lately, it feels like things have been advancing so rapidly that it’s possible some new-fangled technology could disrupt our line of work before you finish this article.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Over the last decade, technology has been advancing so rapidly that many of us are breathlessly trying to keep pace so we don’t get left behind.

To stay competitive in our careers, we must not only do our jobs well today, but be prepared for how we’ll be doing our jobs well in two, five, ten years from now.

So what skills and experience will be most important in the next two, five, 10 years? Based on industry trends and where technology is headed, here’s my guess for what PM skills employers will want to see in 2025.

Most people can pass a certification exam or learn a new software application. But not everyone has the panache to lead a team through a tough project, build relationships with stakeholders, or keep a remote team engaged.

Call them soft skills, emotional intelligence, or just good ol’ people skills—employers are going to seek out this attribute more and more.

In her recent article about 2018 predictions, PM expert Elizabeth Harrin wrote, “It’s possibly a bold prediction, but I think [project management] certification will come to be less important over time, as employers place more emphasis on being able to build relationships at work, deal with conflict, manage a virtual team and deliver on strategy to achieve tangible benefits for the business.”

Harrin probably isn’t that far off, considering the results of several studies that have found a project manager’s emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) does indeed have an impact on the success or failure of a project.

For example, a 2017 study of 107 Pakistani construction companies found that emotional intelligence did play a role in project success:

“The results showed that the emotional intelligence measures of self-awareness and relationship management, are highly significantly correlated with project success (0.192

So, the data backs it up: emotional intelligence is a key component of successful projects. How do you learn to lead and work with it? Here are some resources to get you started:

12 Must-Read Books That Will Raise Your Emotional Intelligence , Inc.

How to Boost Your (and Others’) Emotional Intelligence, Harvard Business Review

Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers, LiquidPlanner

Because of technological advances (IoT), shifts in society (remote working), and the many unknowns of the future (AI), project managers need to be open to new ideas, flexible to pivot with changing times, and ready to adapt to change.

But, that’s nothing new, right? Project managers have always been masters of adaptation. When things shift, the project manager is almost always the first to respond. They’re ready to adjust plans and expectations and are constantly watching for pitfalls and risks on the horizon.

So, you already have an advantage over other knowledge workers. The key is to continue to use those adaptation skills to seek out new learning opportunities, whether that’s through an online course, reading a book, or volunteering for a new project at work, as well as being aware of changes on the horizon.

Wondering how you can prepare for an uncertain future? Check out these resources:

9 Future of Work Books You’ll Wish You’d Read, Medium

The Future of Work Podcast

5 Ways AI and Automation Will Change Project Management, LiquidPlanner

Working remotely and with dispersed, international teams is on the rise, and employers will be looking for project managers who have experience s...

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