Essential competencies post-pandemic according to McKinsey

ANR Newsletter #58

Good day,

I hope you are doing well.

It’s been a while since I wrote; apologies for the long silence; I got busy with too many exciting projects, which was hard to say no.

In this decade, the world will see more projects than ever. The trillions of funds that have been promised for the pandemic recovery are millions of projects that will require millions of project managers.

A few weeks ago, I came across a McKinsey survey on the most critical skills organizations need to develop post-Covid-19. To my surprise, the usual innovation, strategy, entrepreneurship,… were not at the top of the list; instead, project management was!

Seeing this recognition also by McKinsey is another iconic milestone. I remember when I joined the Board of Directors of the Project Management Institute in 2013 that our envisioned goal was “Worldwide, organizations will embrace, value, and utilize project management and attribute their success to it.”

By now, we have enough evidence that we are close to reaching that goal, if not already done. It is the culmination of the work of millions of project managers and the infinite efforts from members and volunteers and the Project Management Institute, IPMA, APM, and other professional associations.

Yet, despite this great outlook, the project management methods we use today were designed for a world where operations were the primary focus and projects were a small fraction of an organization’s activities. In the Project Economy, project-based work becomes the primary unit of work, while operations need less and fewer resources to be carried out. Basically, all the current project management, program management offices, portfolio management methods, tools, and techniques are “old” and need to be reinvented.

The second urgent call for action is the appalling failure rates, around the 60% to 70%, that we see in every research on project success. I am not aware of any other profession that has such low-performance rates.

Imagine the benefits, both for organizations and society at large, if we could increase the current poor project success rate—the additional trillions of dollars and social, environmental, educational, and other benefits that would represent. And the impact could be almost immediate.

To succeed in the Project Economy, we needed to reinvent project management. Refresh our methods, adapt them to the current and future needs, simplify our tools, like the Project Canvas, and significantly increase project success; that is how we will gain greater trust and appreciation from our work from the top.

There is no doubt that these are exciting times for the project management world. It is in our hands to make it happen!


Strategy implementation Playbook
HBR Book
project revolution
lead successful projects
The Focused Organization
In addition to the five books he has authored, Antonio has contributed to seven other business books.

And to conclude, a few other developments that might be interesting for you, which I will cover more in detail in future newsletters:

  1. I just launched my LinkedIn newsletter, entirely dedicated to sharing knowledge about projects, project management, and strategy implementation => please subscribe here and contribute with your views!
  2. The Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook is now completed and ready to be released in October (what a marathon project!) => you can find out more and pre-order it here.
  3. The Strategy Implementation Professional online course and APMG certification continue to grow, with more than 200 members and 60 certified professionals worldwide =>  you can join us here.
  4. State of Project Management Survey => thank you all for your contribution; I will share the results in upcoming newsletters.
  5. I recorded my first two LinkedIn Learning courses => fantastic experience, I will share more in the near future in case this is something you are considering
  6. More to come in next newsletter

As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please get in touch.

Keep well,

Project Management Champion to the World

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by Antonio Nieto Rodriguez

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