What Key Skills are Required to Master Modern Project Management?

Read on to find out how you can shine in this field by improving your project management skills to take your career to the next level!


13 Mar 2020


4 mins

It takes a variety of skills to excel at project management.

Many of us have heard of the term project management, but do we understand what it really means, especially in a hyper-connected world? Broadly defined, it refers to the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to meet the requirements of an assigned project. And if you aspire towards leading project teams, or are already doing so in your current role, then you may be aware of the benefits that effective project management can bring. For instance, organisations that adopt proven project management practices utilises up to 28 times less budget than their counterparts.1

On one hand, the cost savings can be substantial. On the other hand, companies are also paying increasing attention to the time savings involved. According to research, only a mere 40% of projects are mostly or always completed on time.2 Compare this to the 88% on-time average achieved by industry leaders that successfully integrate project management into their workflows3, and the significance of this discipline becomes clearer. It's no wonder that the global demand for project management roles is projected to reach nearly 88 million individuals by 2027.4

Now that you have a better idea of the business impact that optimal project management can deliver, read on to find out how you can shine in this field by improving your project management skills, to take your career to the next level!

Know Your AI

Ever noticed how Google can predict your searched keyword without needing to fully type it out at times? That's the power of artificial intelligence (AI). A Gartner report states that by 2030, "80 percent of the work of today's project management (PM) discipline will be eliminated as AI takes on traditional PM functions such as data collection, tracking and reporting.”5

As a result, there exists a growing need for digitally savvy project managers, who can harness the power of technology like chatbots, as well as other automated programmes that query and gather data with greater efficiency to reduce operational risks and human errors. Better yet, by leveraging AI to calculate project duration, cost and progress schedules more accurately, you'll free up valuable time to focus on strategic-level goals and planning.  

Go Hybrid

Not every project is created equally. Therefore, it's no surprise that the methodology and execution to see each one through to completion differs on a case-by-case basis. Enter the concept of hybrid project management, where standard project management techniques are combined with more modern methodology - so you can reap the benefits of both!

Whether a project should take on a Waterfall model that encourages a more linear, sequential route to goal completion, or an agile approach that prioritises go-to-market speed, competent project managers should be able to define a hybrid framework to maintain a dynamic competitive edge.  For larger scale projects, this also enables more seamless integration of team members with different points of view and work styles, all while enhancing flexibility and productivity. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work.

Lead with EI

We often associate intelligence with an individual's IQ score, or academic aptitude. These days though, organisations and recruiters are beginning to prize emotional intelligence (EI) more, as this soft skill is arguably more important than possessing strong technical skills.

When EI was tested alongside 33 other important workplace skills, it was found to be the strongest predictor of performance, with a 58% success rate regardless of the job or industry.6 People who exhibit EI often manage to get the best out of themselves and their team because they display empathy and kindness, ensuring that others feel understood and incentivised to perform in the right ways.

In a multicultural workforce like Singapore, using EI to foster greater cooperation within teams can lead to a more successful final product. Fortunately, EI is something that can be acquired and improved with practice!

Of course, project management involves more than just the key factors covered above; useful skills such as assembling virtual project teams and Design Thinking also form part of the bigger picture. That's where a Master of Science in Project Management offered at SIM can prove to be particularly handy. To deep-dive into this ever-changing discipline and to know more about our project management courses!

1 CIO, 2 Jun 2019: Project management guide: Tips, strategies, best practices

2 Wellingtone PPM Intelligence: The State of Project Management Annual Survey 2018

3 CIO, 1 Sep 2017: Project management: 7 steps to on-time, on-budget, goal-based delivery

4 CPA Accounting Institute for Success, 6 Mar 2020: Best Industries For Project Managers

5 Gartner, 20 Mar 2019: Gartner Says 80 Percent of Today's Project Management Tasks Will Be Eliminated by 2030 as Artificial Intelligence Takes Over

6 Forbes, 7 Jan 2015: Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed

Posted online, 13 March 2020