Transformation – key skills for the next generation of project professionals
There’s hardly a day that goes by when we aren’t seeing something in the media about transformation, automation of roles or the fourth industrial revolution. Business leaders in Guernsey and further afield openly admit to facing many challenges and complexities involved in driving necessary changes through their organisations. Transformational change is however, essential for organisational sustainability.
Changing times in Guernsey
Locally, if we look to the States of Guernsey and public sector reform, we see the ambitious ten-year framework for transforming the organisation, management and delivery of public services in Guernsey In the finance sector we have seen the development of FinTech at the forefront of many businesses’ strategic planning. Business transformation is now “business as usual” for most organisations in Guernsey today.
At the GTA University Centre, as the main facilitator of professional training on-island with around five thousand students accessing training services each year, we work closely with many local organisations transitioning through periods of change. These changes can be the result of the adoption of new technologies for better delivery of products and services, market forces requiring new and innovative ways of working, or changes in regulation.
So who is helping business leaders drive transformation within Guernsey organisations today?
The GTA is seeing increasing demand for both non-accredited training and professional qualifications in business analysis, project management and change management. These courses can be delivered face-to-face at the GTA or through online courses which are becoming increasingly popular for today’s busy professionals. This increased demand is a clear reflection that business leaders recognise that for transformation in business to be successful and profitable, and to enable a business to grow, good project management skills are an essential tool.
The GTA has also seen an increase in demand for in-house training in this area and recently delivered a course at Carey. Sarah Porter from says ‘Here at Carey, in the ever changing fast paced world of finance, we can have multiple developments on the go at any one time and appropriate management is essential to keeping the business moving forward in the most efficient and effective way. Key to this is ensuring everyone involved is planning, communicating and approaching each in the same way. The project training session provided by Sean Petralia, was not only engaging and thoroughly enjoyed by all that attended but provided (amongst many other things) useable techniques that will be implemented within processes across the business.’
The expert’s view
Sean Petralia, Project Management trainer for the GTA, believes we are living in times where the rate of business change has never been faster. This need for change has been driven predominantly by technology, regulatory change, globalisation, economic, social and political factors. No longer can the three traditional disciplines of the project professional; business analysis, change management and project management be viewed in isolation, they must be combined and harmoniously worked together. This combination then requires modern project professionals to have the knowledge and skills of all three disciplines.
Sean notes that business analysis is crucial in identifying key business issues, then defining the needs and providing options to deliver the appropriate solution (the business change). His view is that project management is the discipline of delivering the chosen solution to a specific time, cost and quality. Change management is the discipline of getting people to adapt and adopt to new working practices in order to drive organisational success. If we do all three successfully we get business transformation!
We are not suggesting that project professionals should be expert in all three, that would be a stretch, more that they have their particular skill expertise in one and basic skills and knowledge in the others.
Transformation requires culture change
Business transformation requires people to change. It is not organisations that change it is people. Business transformation requires strong leadership and skilled individuals able to identify business issues, recommend and deliver solutions and get people to change aligned to those solutions. Sean believes those project professionals with overlapping skills are and will continue to be in high demand.
Sean notes that ‘without doubt the trend will continue as the rate of change continues to increase. Project professionals should be investing in developing their soft skills as well as their hard skills and gaining an understanding in changing people and processes as well as systems. Though demanding, the role of project professionals for the foreseeable future is set to be exciting!’
How is Guernsey responding?
In response to this changing and demanding landscape, the GTA and Guernsey’s Digital Greenhouse have been working in partnership to provide greater access to information and routes to qualification for those interested in developing their skills in project management and business management. Lucy Kirby, Head of Digital at Economic Development at the States of Guernsey, highlights the importance of ensuring skills are kept up to date:
'Here at the Digital Greenhouse, we have seen a real growth in interest from people looking to know more about managing change and building skills to deliver real impact for their organisations. The Digital Greenhouse has been running the monthly Guernsey Innovation Lab for two years now and during that time has hosted over 18 events and interactive workshops. When the world around us is changing at a rapid pace, we are all asking: How can we keep up? Or even get ahead of the curve? It has never been more important to share inspiration from across the island and further afield, helping islanders prepare for the future and craft their own innovation journey. Working in partnership with the GTA for 2020, we are giving people the opportunity to take their learning further and access a range of both online, short course and professional qualifications in the space of project management, business analysis and change management.’
Key themes for 2020
In 2020 the key theme for the GTA/Digital Greenhouse partnership is ‘Transformation’. The GTA will be facilitating a series of face to face and on-line courses, preparing people to drive transformation and change within their organisations. Launching at the Digital Greenhouse’s Innovation Lab in January, Sean Petralia will be talking about the need for change and the increasingly popular innovation skillsets and job roles emerging in Guernsey. Throughout 2020, the Lab will once again showcase some of the best examples of innovation from across the island and include hands on introductions to a range of subjects linked to GTA courses.
Changing to survive
As outlined above, the need for transformational change in modern business is clear and those who fail to address the need for change and upskilling in this area of their business risk weakening themselves in today’s global struggle for position. As W. Edwards Deming, American engineer, statistician, professor and management consultant, noted: ‘It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.’
For more information in relation to any of these projects or training available in these areas please contact Kate Sole at the GTA University Centre at [email protected] or 721555.