It seems that more and more organizations are trying to be on the cutting edge of technology. Disruption is a word we’re all used to seeing in different forms. What about the bottom line, however? Are companies that invest a lot of money (and PR efforts) in innovation more profitable? As it turns out, not necessarily.

Data shows that only a fraction of organizations actually produces results thanks to digital transformation:

While the benefits of disruptive technologies are clear, a staggering 75% of executives say they’re still waiting to reap tangible benefits from them.

Source: Forbes Insights (2018). The C-Suite Outlook: How Disruptive Technologies are Redefining the Role of Project Management.

They have the means to invest, they apparently have the will to follow through, so what’s missing here? The 2019 report published by the Project Management Institute suggests that the answer to that question can be found under the acronym PMTQ. This article attempts to address this finding and elaborate on some of the skills that high-PMTQ employees need to have.

What’s the definition of PMTQ?

PMTQ stands for Project Management Technology Quotient. Essentially, it’s a person’s ability to adapt, manage, and integrate technology based on the needs of the organization or the project at hand — source:Pulse of the Profession 2019 (2019).

People with high PMTQ know how to leverage technology to their organization’s benefit. They adapt to the constant changes dictated by emerging technologies. They encourage the adoption of digital skills across their team and the company as a whole.

The very idea of technology quotient (TQ) is not new, and if you’re associating it with IQ or EQ, you’re not mistaken. It’s a similar concept, but instead of intelligence or emotional abilities, we’re taking tech-savviness into account. Let’s take a description of TQ written by John Burton, as shared by OnlinePMCourses:

A person with a high TQ:

  • organizes work to take full advantage of available technology
  • reaps a payback from taking technology risks
  • takes advantage of the opportunities technology presents

An improved TQ helps people adapt to a future in which rapidly changing technology is even more central to every business function. Focusing on TQ helps to adjust our thinking about technology as not just gadgets and software but enablers of success. Source: Technology Quotient (TQ) and the Digital Skills Gap

The critical skills of project leaders with high PMTQ

The Project Management Institute listed three main characteristics of high-PMTQ professionals:

  • Always-on curiosity
  • All-inclusive leadership
  • A future-proof talent pool

How can we interpret them in terms of Project Management Technology Quotient?

Today’s organizations need professionals who are innately curious about how things and processes could be improved with technology. It’s not to say that they immediately jump on popular apps and tech. But they’re willing to test them and, if proven useful, adapt, manage and integrate them at the organization level.

Individuals with high PMTQ are also great at guiding people into being more innovative, increasing their TQ in process. Project leaders are no longer just working with people – they’re also managing technology. Software and hardware used by project teams serve a purpose. As a project manager, you need to be aware of that purpose and monitor if it’s being fulfilled. Your management workflow will likely affect the whole team and the way they approach technology at work.

It’s clear that organizations need to have active TQ promoters beyond just the project leaders. That’s why managers with high PMTQ are skilled at recognizing and nurturing people who are “future-proof.” They are genuinely excited by the advances in technology and willing to evaluate them fairly. They can adapt their skills and learn new things to further their careers.

Supporting PMTQ at a company-level

Yes, the first two letters of PMTQ do stand for Project Management, but the approach itself has to go beyond the project leaders. Here’s what you can do to promote PMTQ mindset at your company, depending on your role:

As a Project Manager

Become a TQ influencer. You’re probably not able to move your company forward by yourself. You need some like-minded people around you and, preferably, above you as well. The good news is that companies that are PMTQ innovators tend to perform better than organizations that stay behind. This could be enough to get your workplace’s management on board. When it comes to your peers and members of your project team, try to show them how technology choices influence their daily work and how it could be even further improved. Innovation is a popular topic, but try to focus on the tangible steps you could take instead of theorizing about the buzzwords we all hear but not necessarily use at work (think: crypto).

Work on your talents. The PMI Talent Triangle® shows that you need to nurture three aspects of your skillset:

  • technical project management
  • leadership
  • strategy and business management

To put it shortly, a high PMTQ is excellent, but it’s not enough to be a successful project manager. In order to be truly great at your role, you also need to master your leadership skills: from building a sense of team spirit to effective meeting management. On top of that, you can’t lose track of company goals: your decisions need to be in line with what’s best for your organization and its strategy.

As a company leader

Embrace the digital sustainability mindset. Digital sustainability is used to describe companies that use disruptive tech in a smart manner. Still, it also aims at using the advances in technology to make a step towards a more sustainable world. Being mindful of how your organization’s technology choices affect reality may change the way your workforce approaches it: it’s a step towards tech curiosity and thinking about opportunities a given solution presents.

Invest in employee training. Companies that excel at digital disruption pay much attention to refining the skills of their team members. It’s a safe investment and one that can increase the engagement of your workforce. What trainings to choose from? Of course, with PMTQ in mind, you should aim at increasing your team’s digital fluency. But be also on the lookout for initiatives that could help hone your employees’ business and leadership skills. These two aspects are necessary for highly competent employees.

Optimize knowledge-sharing processes at your company. Knowledge management and transfer policies are fundamental in a fast-paced technological landscape. High PMTQ is a feature of curious people who are willing and able to test things. If these tests are not documented, and lessons learned passed to their peers, you might risk someone unnecessarily repeating them.

Recognize your change champions. When it comes to employee recognition, a significant gap has been documented between what employers claim they do and what employees feel their bosses do. The first step would be then to gauge whether your recognition efforts are within your employees’ expectations. Later, pay attention to whether your PMTQ leaders are appropriately recognized and rewarded for the impact they have on your organization.

Note: we wouldn’t be able to call ourselves the advocates of happy workplaces if we didn’t emphasize the importance of optimal team workload. It’s easy to imagine that the most active and tech-savvy project leader may quickly become overutilized and overworked. Keep an eye on their workload (by means of resource calendar or timesheets) and try to maintain a balanced schedule.

Adopt innovative processes. PMI’s report shows that PMTQ innovators are more likely to use approaches like change management, DevOps, agile, or design thinking. Using innovative methods and tools to your organization’s advantage is a clear sign that you’re willing to develop and grow. At Teamdeck, we’re noticing that digitally fluent companies are more aware of the benefits that resource management poses.

PMTQ at your company: where to start?

Whether you’re a project manager or a person running a business, you can start with self-analysis. Even if your job title doesn’t have the word project in it, you’re probably still in charge of processes, teams, and, last but not least, technology. Look back at the key skills essential to nurture PMTQ and try to find areas for improvement in your daily process.

Spread the word about Project Management Technology Quotient among your workforce. Perhaps there are more future-ready people at your organization than you may have expected? Position yourself and other project managers as change champions and lead by example. Chances are that your business’s bottom line will be positively affected by that.

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