PMI’s Talent Triangle is Evolving

PMI's talent triangle is evolving

PMI’s Talent Triangle is Evolving:

  • Technical Project Management is now Ways of Working;
  • Leadership is now Power Skills;
  • Strategic and Business Management is now Business Acumen.

Is this merely a change in nomenclature or is there more to it? In my humble opinion, this transition reflects the takeaways from PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2021. (I took a deeper dive with four posts based on the Pulse.)

Based on my coaching work, technical PM is a smaller skillset and is the minimum required to enter the profession. It’s no longer enough to progress to senior levels and beyond. To advance, PMs need a to learn related skills. PMI calls this “ways of working” and I think the term is appropriate. PMs need to learn and apply various ways of working to achieve their intended goals. This is what I teach in the Project Doctor Masterclass.

In terms of power skills, these are what I would call horizontal leadership skills that are needed to build bridges across silos. They are different from vertical leadership skills which is the norm in any hierarchical organization. There is risk associated with using power skills and effective PMs need to weigh the risks vs. rewards when using them, especially in traditional organizational cultures. In enterprises, large and small, that have an innovative culture, these power skills are very welcome and can boost your career.

The label change from Strategic and Business Management to Business Acumen, however, I think is less substantial. I don’t see much evidence to support this from the Pulse. It could be aspirational though. As a business owner, I regularly receive ideas and feedback from clients and service providers. They know a part of my business through their interaction with it, but not my entire business. I tend to dismiss most of these ideas either because I have tried them and they have not worked for my business, or it’s not the trajectory I want to take. If, by Business Acumen, PMI means that PMs should seek to understand all aspects of the business so that they can contribute relevant ideas, I support that label change.

Overall, I think this refresh of the Talent Triangle is timely and reflects PMI’s response to continue to be relevant in an ever-changing environment.