Power skills like communication and problem-solving play a leading role in project success. To reap rewards, organizations must prioritize these skills in hiring, training and assessment.
Big data, AI and the metaverse may grab the headlines in a world zooming toward new ways of working and living, but when it comes to real-world projects, it takes people to deliver the results. And people with power skills often make the difference between project success and failure.
A new report from PMI — Pulse of the Profession® 2022: Power Skills, Redefining Project Success — reveals widespread consensus among project professionals that communication, problem-solving, collaborative leadership and strategic thinking are the most critical power skills in helping them fulfill organizational objectives. Eight other power skills, such as empathy and adaptability, were also considered in the survey of more than 3,500 project professionals.
The Pulse report anchors a new Power Skills Resource Hub that features FAQs; a self-assessment template; and related content, including articles, infographics and podcasts.
The research shows a clear correlation between organizations that prioritize power skills and their top drivers of project success like project management maturity, benefits realization management maturity and organizational agility.
However, despite the strong connection between power skills and project success, many organizations have not made a concerted effort to help employees develop them. Talent decision makers report spending only one-quarter of their annual budget (25%) for training and development on power skills, but more than half (51%) on technical skills.
“Technical skills are important, but so is understanding interactions between people. At the end of the day, projects are done by humans,” said Luis Revilla, chief people officer at Softtek. “We need to appreciate that. We need to work on that.”
As for project professionals, they spend almost half (46%) of their professional development hours on technical skills but less than one-third (29%) on power skills. And nearly half (47%) say their organization didn't discuss power skills when they were hired or promoted.
Clearly, there is work to be done. For one, project management leaders can help shift these perceptions through coaching, mentoring and supporting talent development programs that emphasize power skills.
Some organizations have tackled the perception problem by framing power skills training as a benefit of employment during the recruitment process and incorporating power skills into individual employee development plans and performance goals. Has your organization taken these or other steps such as formal coursework, online learning and mentoring relationships when it comes to developing power skills?
When organizations do take these types of concrete actions, they demonstrate the value they place on power skills. And as the report shows, the benefits are substantial: more successful, profitable projects — and maybe a share of that spotlight.
To read the full report and learn more, check out PMI’s new Power Skills Resource Hub.