The future of project management and global opportunities for project managers

What do you think the future of project management and project managers will look like?

I am sure you are aware that project management is a constantly growing field. In other words: project management and project managers will have a bright future across the globe! This is because the demand for project managers will grow, regardless of the industry. The most important thing is the tools und frameworks that are used to find a solution.
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Talent gap and the 4Cs

An important keyword in this context is the so-called talent gap, i.e., the gap that exists between the skills that companies hope their employees will have and those that future employees actually can offer. The choice on the labour market for future employees is so wide that well-qualified people have the free choice of which company they work for. Therefore, in this global competitive environment, it is more important than ever that we develop our skills and competence levels. Every year, technology and management styles change and, like software, we need to upgrade the way we work and our level of competence with respect to global markets. The fact is that globalisation is not new; what has changed is our attitude towards it. We cannot suppress globalisation, rather we have to accept it. Similarly, we have to accept the availability of advanced technology and its better utilisation for our projects and we will benefit from it. But how can project managers convince in a globalised world? How can project managers succeed in the future? Academic qualifications or certifications are of course not unimportant, but a project manager should be able to offer more in the future and in view of globalisation. He should focus on the 4Cs. In my opinion, the skills of the 21st century:

1. Critical thinking
2. Collaboration
3. Communication
4. Creativity
These skills are crucial and of great importance for all project managers and for the future handling of projects. Practical implementation of these 4Cs and the synthesis of knowledge play a central role in project management in order to develop and create solutions.

Theory and practice

If you take a look into the future, there are many opportunities that are directly connected to project management and project managers. In my opinion, learning institutions and business schools need to focus on this issue. Students should learn how to organise projects and how to deal with complex situations instead of just understanding how to deliver a project successfully in theory. Accordingly, they should not only be trained theoretically, but also practically. Only then they can put the theories into practice in the future.

The fact is that everything depends on how the project is handled and how state-of-the-art technologies are used. Theoretical skills are important, but they play a subordinate role. In my opinion, a project manager should develop situationally: We need to grow as the world around us grows.

The three pillars of future project management

This means that, in the future, there will be three pillars that are volatile: People, processes and technology. And exactly this is what project management and the work of the project manager will depend on in the future. How can we harmonise these three pillars so that the project success rate is improved in the future? This is the question we should answer, because this is where the opportunities of the future lie.

A project manager should have an open mindset to accept changes and working styles with respect to the current situation. Even though it is very important to look at all perspectives for business success, a project manager should not only have technical skills, but also soft skills such as team management, stakeholder management, communication management, conflict management, and so on.  However, it is crucial that a project manager always has a deep understanding of the context of the situation, acts accordingly and uses the right tools and frameworks for a smooth project delivery.

My look into the future

Project managers are continuous learners. They certainly have to be, because they regularly have to refresh their knowledge of processes and structures according to new global markets, new technologies, products, services and customers. Project managers are therefore used to adapting to new situations and they have an open mindset. This skill will help them to be an integral part of any organisation in the future. So, you can look forward to a bright future.
About the author: Mahesh EV is a project manager with more than 11 years of practical experience and the Senior Official of the IAPM in the metropolitan regions of New Delhi, Trivandrum and Calicut, India. Mahesh's implementation of many procurement and construction projects has broadened his experience. He has demonstrated his skills in the successful planning and execution of several projects, such as thermal power plants and renewable energy projects across India – from kick-off to handover of the plant.

He is a member and volunteer of various international bodies like Axelos-UK, affiliated member in OCRM-UK and he is a content writer for the IAPM Network in East Java (Indonesia).

Key words: Project management, Field report, Opinion piece, Future

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