What's Next for Future Project Managers?

What is in store for future project managers? No risks? Hardly...it's likely only going to get worse with the high proliferation of cybercrime...the need for cybersecurity will only increase. New leaps in change control and scope management? Maybe, but likely just another tool or tools that supposedly make it easier but really just automate the change order process.

We know now that mobile technology is a must. A social presence, though still hard to quantify in terms of cost and benefit, is critical for every business. If you don’t have one or aren’t using it wisely, you’re already behind. And cloud computing…don’t get me started. While it’s really just doing everything via the internet (apps, storage, etc.) it still messes with people’s minds and it seems to be a mystery to many…including high-powered CEOs. 

So what is really in store for our next wave of project managers? Are the best practices today the same best practices that project managers will need to be following in the future? Will project management be the same in 2025 as it is today? Will expectations change? Will project success factors change? 

These are legitimate questions – legitmate things to think about as we work to improve and strive for project management excellence. Project management of the future….where is it going and how much will it change?

Basic project management and where it is headed. I think there are some things about how we run our projects that just simply won’t change. How we do those things and the tools we use to get there may change – may even change drastically – but the main concept likely won’t change….at least from my perception. Things that I don’t see changing are the basics that need to be part of every project engagement: the kickoff meeting, the project status report, regular project status calls, team meetings, risk management, issues lists and risks lists, change order management, etc. etc. We’ll still create test plans, we’ll still perform user acceptance testing, and we’ll still deploy systems through a hopefully well-planned process. The basics won’t change. So what will change?

Two key areas of potential change as I see it...

How project management offices (PMOs) will evolve. Will we need these 10-20 years from now? I’ve seen them fail as often as they succeed. If they continue to exist, what will their structure be like? I think they serve a purpose - when correctly assembled and executed - but too many lack strong leadership and a good methodology which ultimately lead to them either failing or being irrelevant in the organization.

The growth of engagement management over project management. As we are all asked to do more with less, I think we’ll see a much bigger movement toward engagement management vs. just project management. Gone will be the PM’s focus on daily project activities and running the project with project management software and excel spreadsheets. Yes, tools will be more detailed, but the focus of the PM will be broader – they will (or at least they should be allowed to) become much more of an engagement manager. Get PM involved very early on – allow them to be part of the deal closing, not just the project execution. Do this in order to properly set customer expectations, do this to get the best estimate of work and money and tasks possible, do this to have the best understanding of the resources needed to get the job done, and do this to get the project off and running with it’s best chance of success possible once the deal has been closed.

Summary / call for input

It's hard to predict. These are just a couple of areas that I think are in for changes. What about our readers – what do you see changing in the next 5-10 years or so? Please share your thoughts and discuss.


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