IPMA International Project Management Association
11 February 2019 / 9:00

Project Manager 2.0: The proposed skills set

The VASB (Virtual reality, Artificial intelligence, Social media, Big data) age order is changing the thinking, behaviours, and day-to-day management routines of personal and professional lives of people. Businesses and government entities are left with no option but to embrace the change and transform their processes and systems. The impact of the transformation is wide and varied, necessitates having people with compatible skills to perform the day-to-day operational and strategic tasks and help cope with the change.

Project management (PM) profession is no exception to these changes. In fact, with ever pervasive presence in every sphere of life, PM may be affected more than the other professions. Thus, PM needs to evolve and get up-to-the-speed to deal with these changes. Key to successful PM transformation is having people with skills who can drive, implement, sustain and lead the change.

If the question is ‘where do we start from?’ The answer is very simple. Project Manager is the focal person in project-based environments, and as such we need project managers with VAB Age compatible skills to lead us into the new order. Given the broad coverage of skills and traits needed to be compatible to the VASB Age needs of PM, the project manager of VASB Age will be an evolved individual, a person with next level of skill set. Thus, we call it a Project Manager 2.0.

We define Project Manager 2.0 as “an evolved individual who possesses a balanced set of VASB Age and contemporary PM methodological skills, and continuously strive to acquire, upgrade, disseminate such skills to people within his/her eco-system of influence and lead from the front to make others VASB Age skills ready.”

Having led the conceptual foundation and defined the scope, we discuss below some of the skills that Project Manager 2.0 needs to have to be called as Project Manager 2.0. Please note that the list of skills described below is neither exhaustive nor complete, but just an attempt to lay the foundation and provide a starting point to the concept.

Proposed Skills Set

  1. Social media sense

Project Manager 2.0 must have skills to use social media effectively for performing the project-based tasks. The person should be conversant with latest social media tools and should keep himself/herself abreast of changes on the social media landscape.

Project Manager 2.0 is a person who is cognizant of the reality that social media is here to stay and thus be able to channel the positivity and use good features of social media tools for effective performance of project-based work. Setting up project-based social media groups, defining norms of social media engagement, deciding ‘which tools to use for what purpose’ are some of the skills that Project Manager 2.0 is expected to possess.

  1. Data-driven approach

Project Manager 2.0 should have skills to deal with the data. Capabilities and knowledge of big data analytics and how to use big data for project-based work should be an important armor of Project Manager 2.0’s skills set.

Understanding of analytics technologies will help Project Manager 2.0 take a data driven approach at various decision-making stages such as business case development, procurement, cost estimations, resource optimization and risk management.  Data driven approach is particularly important for large scale projects with significant risk exposure due to longevity of project lifecycle and the cost involved.

Project Manager 2.0 should be able to explore and decide whether a formal big data analytics technology needs to be used or simple analytics using excel sheet or other spreadsheet applications would suffice. However, in all cases, taking a data driven approach will help Project Manager 2.0 gain insights and useful evidence to make informed decisions, which will ultimately improve project efficiencies.

  1. Tragile project management skills

Project Manager 2.0 should possess a balanced blend of skills in Tragile project management. S/he should be conversant with contemporary skills in traditional and agile project management. Project Manager 2.0 should be able to decide how to mesh both approaches and identify instances and tasks that need to be done by taking either of the two approaches or by mesh-up of the two approaches.

Project Manager 2.0 should be able to integrate VASB Age techniques and technologies with Tragile project management methods and frameworks to effectively handle projects of future.

  1. Digital Leadership skills

Project Manager 2.0 needs to have skills in Digital Leadership. What it means is that the person is cognizant of the importance of VASB Age technologies for project work. And s/he continuously seeks, learns, upgrades, assimilates new knowledge on available digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), Big data analytics (BDA), and social media (SM), just to mention a few.

The person should be able to demonstrate leadership in knowledge sharing and knowledge capacity building of the teams. S/he should be able to lead development of a digital knowledge sharing eco-system to ensure everyone in his/her sphere of influence is up to the speed on latest VASB Age technological developments.

  1. Active Self-management through real-time learning (ASM-TRL)

The key to the success of Project Manager 2.0 is the active self-management (ASM) through real time learning and growth. An understanding of the available resources such as use of artificial intelligence systems to self-learn in real time or tap into social media for expert inputs or external wisdom to find solutions to emerging problems, is critical to achieve active self-management and be effective project manager.

  1. Stake-owner management skills

Stakeholder management is considered critical for project success. However, given the long-term impacts of projects and whole life-cycle approach to capital intensive or large-scale projects, taking a stakeholder management can be somewhat limiting.

A stakeholder could mean a person with temporary possession or holder of a stake. The longevity of the impact over whole life-cycle means we need to think of stake-owners who tend to have a long-term possession of stakes or affected by the project outcomes over long periods.

Project Manager 2.0 needs to have skills to decipher the level of impact, understand and identify stakeholders versus stake-owners to better serve the needs of stake-owners given the long-term impact on them. Project Manager 2.0 should be able to use VASB Age technologies to analyze the impact and build solution in product design and project management processes to manage stake-owners’ needs.

  1. Technological foresight skills

Project Manager 2.0 need to have foresight skills in understanding the technological evolution and prepare himself/herself and the people within his/her eco-system of influence to deal with the possible technological changes.

Being part of networks of visionaries and technology or business gurus can help Project Manager 2.0 stay up-to-date with the possible technological developments. Self-learning and interest in new technologies is a key trait to become Project Manager 2.0.

Concluding thoughts:

The fast-paced growth of social media societies, networked economies and virtual world technologies is driving a fundamental shift in human evolution. The changes are subtle but irreversible. It means people need to step-up and gain VASB age skills to be employment ready and productive.

In hindsight, project management being a dynamic profession is exposed to the VASB changes big time. The proposed skills described above could help make project management staff ready to embrace the change and be employment-worthy. Project Manager 2.0 could be the engine to lead towards the full-scale change.

Authored by:

Professor Jiwat Ram 

© 2019 Jiwat Ram, All Rights Reserved.




  • Thomas Boehm says:

    Dear Jiwat,
    In my opinion this view is too technical and human factor falls short.
    All these skills are not disagreed but why is the PM not more of an orchestrator who will reach out to those with more in-depth skills and include them into the team?
    Best regards,

    • Jiwat Jiwat says:

      Dear Thomas

      Exactment. You are correct that PM can serve as an orchestrator to coordinate and bring in right people into the team. But this is something that the PMs have been doing all along. Human element is always there, however, with all the technological developments happening, project management professionals are left with no option but to adopt technologies and use them. Human element comes during the project, but these elements cannot replace skills which are the basis of coming into the project.

      For the PM to be able to bring in people with right VASB age skills and knowledge, PM himself/herself needs to be technologically-upgraded or technologically-ready or technologically-evolved. If s/he has is not ready with VASB age developments, in hindsight, s/he will have no clue to lead projects of future. S/he will more likely fail.

      Someone needs to lead project management to next level. While professional organizations can build standards and knowledge, it comes down to the people who use that knowledge. As such, people within the project need to embrace the new technological advancements and be ready to lead from the front when managing the projects. That is why it is PM that needs to evolve into PM 2.0 to be able to help project management step into new VASB age order. Choices are limited.


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Author of this post

Jiwat is a Professor in Project Management. He has considerable experience of working internationally in diverse cultures and business environments.

Jiwat is currently serving on the Editorial Board of International Journal of Project Management.

Jiwat actively contributes to project management community. His work has been published in top scientific journals and Four of his published papers have remained in Top25 most downloaded papers. Additionally, two of his papers have been ranked as the Most Cited article published since 2012. More recently, he has published a number of articles on some of the issues confronting project management in various industry based outlets.