Back To The Future of Project Management

In my previous article, what is project management?, the question often asked is “what is the future of project management” and where is project management headed? To provide some context, let’s look at where the modern discipline of project management has come from.

Accidental Project Managers

For many, project management was a role that people fell into “accidentally”, they were typically from a technical or Engineering background and considered the subject matter experts(SME’s)in their field, considering this deep technical knowledge, someone felt they would make ideal project managers. Given that 70% of projects fail, this logic must be flawed…

You don’t make the best player on the field the coach

You don’t make the best player on the field the coach, so why would you make the best specialist a generalists? You shouldn’t. The more complex or complicated the project is, the more of a generalist you need, check this link for some great lesson learned quotes from NASA project managers. This is because all the relevant subject matter experts (SME’s) will form part of the project team of experts.

The project manager who is the smartest man on his project has done a lousy job of recruitment

The Project managers role is to be the specialist in project management, he is the project management SME, the role of the project manager is to facilitate an environment where the project team can perform and deliver the requirements of the project within the constraints of time, cost and quality.

A manager who is his own systems engineer or financial manager is one who will probably try to do open heart surgery on himself

 The future of project management, true project managers

The future of project management will be the development and rise of true “project managers” by this, I mean generalists that can apply not only the science of project management, but also the art of leadership, influence and strategy in a project management context across a wide range of projects and industries. To borrow from the NASA quote above, Understanding you will not be performing open heart surgery on yourself, and hiring the best surgeon (subject matter expert) for the particular role or challenge.

Project managers will have a greater role to play in business, and will be key deliverers of value driven change. The future wave of project managers will have studied a bachelor of Project Management and business management at the very least. I see every organisation have a senior executive Project Manager that offers a clear distinction between operational business as usual to specific projects delivering the organisational strategic plan.



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Who Wrote This Article? ...(It was: Chris O'Halloran)

I'm "Chris O". I've managed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects since the inception of my career. I love helping others figure out the intricacies of project management on any scale. Come find me on twitter or google+

Comments That Have Been Left So Far:

  1. True Project Managers are a rare find. They not only know the budding profession of project management, are usually experts in their fields, are reputable managers in their own right and are the holders of change within and across organisations.

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