Melanie Franklin, CEO of Maven Training, spoke about the market trends hitting project management at a breakfast event in London, UK, recently.

Franklin, who is the author of three books on the soft skills required for project management, spends a lot of time consulting on what organizations need to do in order to deliver better projects.  She’s in and out of board rooms and she hears what people want from project management professionals.  At the moment, these are the trending topics.

Organizations want:

  • Knowledge and understanding of best practice

  • Technical project management skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Specialist knowledge in a relevant industry sector

  • PRINCE2 on your CV

She also said that there’s a wider trend away from ‘project management’ towards PPM, PPRM or P3.  If those acronyms don’t mean anything to you they are:

PPM:  project and programme management

PPRM:  project, programme and risk management

P3:  project, programme and portfolio management.

At interview you should be able to talk knowledgeably about the fact that PPM is the delivery of organisational change and development capability, as opposed to project management which is ‘just’ getting something done.  At board level the discussions now are about programmes and portfolios, which translates as doing the right thing for the business, and not just doing projects for the sake of it.

Those weren’t the words Franklin used exactly, but she was clear that project delivery is about staying OTOBOS and programme delivery is about delivering an outcome or vision and a more strategic change or business transformation.  In summary, when she is hiring or advising people on hiring, she looks for various key skills as follows.

In a project manager:

  • Delegation

  • Planning

  • Delivery on time

  • Cost management

  • Quality management

  • Risk management

  • Change management and managing the impact of those changes

  • Requirements gathering

  • How scope is presented and checked and how often.

In a programme manager:

  • Benefits management and realization

  • Stakeholder management

  • Ability to manage uncertainty with innovation, problem solving skills and creativity

  • Ability to manage problems without constantly referring them up.

For both jobs Franklin said she would look at how recent is the candidate’s investment in their knowledge.  For example, if you are going for a job as a project manager you are presenting yourself as an expert in project management.  So how true is this?  When did you last attend an event or networking evening, training course or seminar?  How is this reflected on your CV?  It doesn’t have to cost a lot (read this article for some ideas on things that you can do without corporate investment) but it does have to be recent.