Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading association for project professionals and changemakers released its “Pulse of the Profession 2023” – a report that identifies key trends in project management based on findings from PMI’s global survey of 3,500 project, program and portfolio managers.

Across the 3,500 project professionals surveyed, regardless of region, industry, years of experience, leadership level, or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification status, there was a consensus around the most critical power skills: communication, problem-solving, collaborative leadership, and strategic thinking.

As noted in the PMI Talent Triangle, power skills are a critical skill set for project professionals to navigate the changing world of work and embrace smarter ways of working. Organisations sufficiently tapping into power skills, in addition to technical skills and business acumen, can expect to be better at handling complex project challenges, market changes, technological adoptions, and socioeconomic pressures.

The survey found that organisations placing a high priority on power skills tend to perform better against multiple key drivers of success. 72 per cent of their projects successfully met business goals, only 28 percent of their projects experienced scope creep, and they experienced less budget loss (17 percent) when a project failed.

In addition, organisations prioritising power skills are approximately three times more likely to report high benefits realisation management percent maturity, which is the number one key driver of success for projects identified in the research. Furthermore, they are two times more likely to report high project management maturity, and approximately three times more likely to report high organisational agility.

And while nine out of ten project professionals agree that power skills help them work smarter, organisations face challenges in prioritising the development of power skills. In fact, the report cites cost as the number one barrier to developing power skills, followed by a lack of perceived value. Furthermore, project professionals said they spend 46 percent of their professional development hours on technical skills and only 29 per cent on power skills.

“Our organisation is committed to empowering project professionals to develop the most robust set of skills to keep pace and create impact,” said Pierre Le Manh, President and Chief Executive Officer of PMI. “Technical skills and business acumen will always be important in project management, but this research shows that to drive the best project outcomes possible, organisations and project leaders must prioritise the development of power skills, too.”

A total of 3,492 project professionals representing a range of industries and regions, including North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, China, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa were surveyed for the creation of this report. The report was supplemented with 12 in-depth interviews with project management experts spanning a range of industries and regions.