Project managers need to wear alot of hats these days. Leader, manager, facilitator, negotiator, and the list goes on.
The project management profession is changing at a rapid pace. It’s safe to say it’s still in its infancy and is slowly finding a place in the corporate world. But here are some of the biggest trends of the last few years:
- Managing virtual teams. Having your project team co-located used to be the norm. Now it’s the exception. Even for small projects I rarely see everyone together. A project now generally has people working on it from different offices or cities, and sometimes even countries. The internet has certainly made the world smaller, and the proliferation of web based collaboration tools has made working apart even easier.
- Enhanced risk management. In the good ol’ days you didn’t need to do extensive risk planning except on large, or particularly risky, projects. Today project managers are expected to know and categorize all risks to do their job correctly. The size of the project management plan corresponds to the size of the project, of course, but in general, risk analysis is more important than it used to be.
- Project Management Offices (PMO). Every year more and more organizations are opening PMO’s. They come in many forms, and there isn’t a solid standard as to what functions or level of authority it has. But until a concensus is formed on the best function of a PMO, suffice it to say they run the full gamut from providing project management advice to administering projects remotely.
- More directly managed Vendors. Vendors are increasingly being used as companies outsource non-core functions. And if outside vendors are completing significant chunks of the project, managing them is important. Instead of letting them manage themselves, the trend is for project managers to manage the vendors directly, or at least talking directly with the project team on a regular basis as you do your own.
The most important trend of all is project management itself. The project management institute is reporting 11% growth per year in PMP designations, for the last 6 years. More companies are recognizing the value of project management, and that means opportunities to learn project management to further your career. It is truly becoming a profession. Someday people might call themselves “project managers” instead of engineers or developers.
I certainly hope so, as project management is a very important part of the process. It adds value over a technical manager leading a project, which is still the norm in many industries.
Good luck in your project management career!
Let us know in the comments what your observations on current project management trends are.