5 reasons digital should be a required skill in PM

Why you should brush up on your digital and technology knowledge today.

Laptop showing code

One of the strongest trends in project management skills requirements that we’ve seen in the last year or so is in digital technology. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the Internet of Things has been a major trend for the last several years. There is hardly any business sector that isn’t at least partly digitally enabled, and many are leading with it.

New buildings, whether dwellings or commercial, are often equipped with a heart and a central nervous system consisting of digital technology. An example of a system aimed at the domestic market is Nest, which enables homeowners to manage heating and security through a smartphone. This is accomplished through a range of sensors, cameras and detectors around the home. It even has machine learning capabilities to minimise any human intervention.

In commercial developments, intelligent building management system have been around for a bit longer. Some companies are pushing the envelope more than others, though. SCA of Sweden, a manufacturer of hygiene and sanitation products, have developed a range of digitally enabled products which help streamline facilities management.

In short, virtually every sector a project manager works in has embraced digital technology, even less obvious ones like farming, and the trend is set to accelerate.

So in a world that is going digital at a rate of knots, where the IoT market is set to outweigh the smartphone, PC and tablet markets combined in 2016, the need for project professionals with both broad and deep digital skills and knowledge is set to soar.

As a result, we think there will be an increased pressure on current project professionals to upskill to remain competitive. Whilst digital and technology expertise may not yet trump core business skills in importance, they are fast becoming a prerequisite for many project roles.

These are the five main reasons digital is becoming a primary skill.

1. Planning

A broad knowledge and understanding of digital, how it works and its possibilities and limitations, is almost indispensable at the planning stage of a project, both in terms of conceptualisation and design as well as the delivery plan.

2. Selling

Every project will have to pass an approval committee, and whilst there is no active selling involved, you still need to convince them that the solution you’ve put together meets the requirements. To do that, in terms that are both easy to understand and convincing, you will need to be comfortable with digital.

3. Hiring

You are going to be hiring people who have an in-depth knowledge of digital technology and solutions. Hiring project staff is challenging at the best of times, and it’s imperative that you are able to evaluate the skills properly. If your own skills and knowledge in this area are weaker than they should be, you will open yourself up to mistakes that can end up affecting the project.

4. Communicating

You will be operationally involved on the front line, dealing with the digital experts and technologists delivering the solutions. To have a fruitful working relationship with them it’s imperative that you speak the same language. To have a good grounding in digital and technology will help the relationship. It will streamline communications, and save time and money when it comes to delivering the project.

5. Delivering

Projects are often run with the aid of various software suites, and if you’re not able to keep up you may find yourself at a disadvantage. Most project professionals will already use the usual suspects, such as MS Project and MS Office. But platforms like Slack, IFTTT and Zapier are becoming more common, not only in the digital agency world. Incorporating some of these digital tools could help automate tasks, streamline your work and saving valuable time and money.

We recommend reading these blogs to improve your general awareness and knowledge of digital and technology.

The Next Web | Wired | Digital Trends | TechCrunch | CIO | NS Technology

 As always, if you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know via email – we would love to hear your feedback.

// The Programme Recruitment team.