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Is the focus of core competencies shifting from technical knowledge (schedule, scope, cost) to soft skills (emotional intelligence, collaboration, leadership, coaching)?
As the industry of project, program, and portfolio management continues to evolve, there seems to be an ever-increasing focus on soft skills for project management professionals. How do you think this will affect the profession and what are the benefits?
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My understanding is that all the 6 of them have to be interlaced with each other and i dont see a shift happening from the former triangle to the stated "Soft skills" bucket of tasks
Schedule scope and cost are key project attributes and constraints. Skills are what a PM employs to manage those attributes, among others.

One does not replace the other. The customer directly contracts for the first; whether the PM has a high EQ is not part of the contract.
It is an excellent topic for an article.
What I write next is not addressing the multiple perspectives on the topic.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that as long as project activities are carried out by humans, social skills will always be the most important in execution.
It also concludes that the more involved the team members are in planning, the better the performance (efficiency and effectiveness) during execution.
Getting people involved in planning requires social skills
During Sunil Prashara's (CEO of PMI) fireside chat with three fellow executives at yesterday's PMI Global Conference session indicated, soft skills (re-branded as Power Skills by one of the participants) will continue to be needed to be an effective PM, especially as machine learning and other AI advances take over the manual or mechanical aspects of the role.

One could say that Daniel Pink's triad from Drive (Autonomy, Mastery & Purposes) are an alternate "Water Triangle" to complement the existing Iron Triangle...

I view it more as a Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. First tier is mastering project management fundamentals, i.e. scope/cost/schedule. You need those skills to establish credibility with the project team, stakeholders, and execs. Next tier is about softer skills.
I've never seen it as either-or. What makes a good PM good is the fact that they can use soft skills to manage projects. Being a scheduling master will get you nowhere without the ability to communicate and lead team members. I do believe the shift is not from 'technical' to 'soft' skills but rather the shift is within the 'technical' skill set. The focus is more on value than on scope. Give the stakeholders value for his money rather than scope for his money and they will be happy.
On the other hand...
If the processes and procedures are well designed and well defined, if the information recording and control mechanisms are fine-tuned and performed by entities outside the activities performers, what are the project managers' soft skills for?
1 reply by St├ęphane Parent
Oct 08, 2019 2:45 PM
St├ęphane Parent
Well designed and well defined for whom, Luis? As a project manager, I am constantly refining project and organizational processes. Sometimes it's just about improving efficiency; other times it's about adapting to new circumstances.

My current client just "changed" it's release form and process for our project. Lacking user-centric design, the form was not user-friendly and required tweaking.
As the processes around the various project management methodologies gets bedded in and automated with project teams becoming more focused, streamlined and experienced this leaves room for other areas that have been overlooked in the past due to time constraints, getting a second look to see if new approaches, efficiencies or skills can be gleamed from these soft skills. As a result more resources are being allocated to developing the next generation of Project, Program and Portfolio Managers. This maybe a step to getting such managers into more senior leadership positions within organisations thus the need to develop these skills which was once called people skills.
Soft-skills, or power skills, have always been 'core' skills to have as a successful practitioner. We are in a profession of building relationships as well as helping others get to reach their goals. The focus has certainly shifted in embracing the soft skills, hence a rebranding effort to power skills. It's time to rethink.

If you think about some of the questions that have come out, the discussions, and the messaging behind the rebrand, it all starts to tie together, doesn't it :)

Think bigger, think different.
As we all are aware that PM takes 90% of his time for communication and to be effective in this area one should have strong grip over soft skills. By calling it power skills for PM is great initiative to highlight its importance in Project environment.
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