Three Sides to Every Story: The PMI Talent Triangle

March 23, 2016 by FlexPro

listTake a moment and make a mental list of the qualities most critical to a successful project manager.  Whether you have held a full-time role at some point in your career or have spent time on a long-term project team, a few common attributes are likely to grace the page.

Is planning at the top? How about facilitation? Maybe communication trumps them all?

Perhaps the old adage ‘to each their own’ is most appropriate when trying to deduce what composes the core of project management.  In the interest of identifying important keys to becoming an effective PM, we turn to the experts at the Project Management Institute (PMI).

In a recent blog post, Project Management Professional Markus Klein examined the new ‘Talent Triangle’ unveiled by the PMI and how it fits into the current corporate environment.  The model succinctly dissects the art of project management into the three categories we explore below:


Technical Project ManagementSimply put, an understanding of technical tools that a project requires combined with the analytical mind to apply them.  Commonly known as ‘hard skills’, these abilities can be sharpened “via seminars, webinars, online trainings”.  More interestingly, a 2013 PMI study found that “66% of surveyed organizations indicate that project managers with the appropriate technical skills very hard to find”.  While this leg of the triangle may be the most concrete and easy to improve, dedication to the craft is certainly required.

Strategic and Business Management – Project managers must be able to align with the overarching company strategy with each decision made in both the short-term and big picture.  Business competence is also vital to forecasting resource needs, the ability to meet those demands, and the timeline in which the plan can come together.  Equally as important is acting in accordance with the company mission and vision to remain on stable ethical ground while maintaining a strong brand.

Leadership – Often seen as the most glaring requirement for complex projects, leadership can come in many forms.  In addition to the well-known norms like motivational ability and courage to make impact decisions, the PMI adds negotiation, conflict resolution, feedback delivery, and stakeholder communication to the list of essential characteristics.  Leadership skills can be honed with experience and a careful study of the most successful methods.

What we see in the PMI’s personality evaluation is a grouping of everything that likely appears on your list above.  An artful balance of all three categories may create a well-oiled machine to lead the slow march toward project completion, but every endeavor has its own challenges.  The only piece left is finding a way to adapt and rise to each occasion.

Subscribe Today!
Gain instant access every month to the latest resources and insights from top experts in the industry. Sign up below to get started.
Sign up below to get started.