Reviewing the new PMBOK® guide, I notice they now include a section in each chapter covering emerging trends in project management.  I love this addition!  It’s exciting to think about what global trends and technological changes are out there and how they will impact our profession and the potential for advancements and improvements in our ability to complete SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS.

As I reflect on this topic, I thought I would use my next few blog posts to highlight six trends that I find relevant and exciting.  Project management is positioned to be a perfect vehicle to turn an organizations’ strategy into tangible results.  And, truly effective organizations will make sure their project and program managers have the right skills to drive and navigate change in a fast-paced environment.  In this year’s [PMI] “2018 Pulse of the Profession®”, it reinforces that using Project Management effectively can be a competitive advantage for organizations.  Not only is this important to me because that is the purpose of my business, but I truly believe this is a great profession and one where those holding the role are able to make an impact within their organization and/or build for themselves a bridge to a management level position.  You spend so much of your life at work, it’s important to see the value in what you are doing!

In this first post let’s explore the first two out of the six trends, employment and learning trends.


Employment Trends

Project Management still seems to be a growing, attractive skillset that employers desire.  According to [PMI’s] “Job Growth and Talent Gap Report”, by 2027, employers will need 87.7 million individuals working in project management-oriented roles, increasing the need for skilled and experienced project and program managers. Organizations will continue to place a greater focus on project management performance improvement to stay competitive and relevant.”  It also seems that employment for project managers is trending towards short-term contract or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs.  The “Pulse of the Profession” also reinforces this as “More than two-thirds of organizations [surveyed] report using outsourced or contract project managers (68%).”  Another employment trend is that, more and more, companies are starting to incorporate hybrid methodologies based on fit for purpose.  For example, a traditional waterfall methodology may be appropriate for one type of project whereas an adaptive framework would be more appropriate in another.  Therefore, there is more a need for hybrid project managers, ones who are not solely experts in one methodology but are well-versed in several and are competent in determining the best method for the project at hand. So, although project management remains a hot skill in the job market, if you are interested in pursuing this career path you need to be aware of the type of positions you will most likely be able to secure.

Learning in New Ways

I thought it was a great reinforcement as well to see that “72% of PMO leaders feel certification is very relevant for mid-career project managers. Certifications typically require ongoing professional development, allowing project managers to evolve, enhance, and grow a variety of skills, including technical, leadership, and digital skills.”  But, how we learn seems to be evolving dramatically.  We have so many options now!  Learning platforms range from social media to web-based tools, to learning management systems, all with a shift toward on-demand content.    Innovations in learning will continue to make it possible to learn anything, anytime, and anywhere.  And the skills we learn will certainly need to include soft skills.  In addition to the importance of the technical tools and techniques of project management, the softer skills continue to increase in importance. Even the new PMBOK devotes an entire chapter to the Role of the Project Manager and stresses the importance of a balance between technical, business and leadership skills.   Since a large part of project management involves interactions with other people, the ability to communicate effectively, resolve conflict, deal with ambiguity, and act with diplomacy, are critical skills to master.  And, as more projects are globally implemented and have to bridge language and cultural barriers, soft skills will increasingly be in high demand.

There are so many exciting and often times mind-blowing advancements occurring in the world.  As project managers, it is important to keep an eye on the future and try to understand how these changes may introduce negative risks or opportunity into your projects and your career.  I’d love to hear your feedback on what trends in employment and learning will impact us as project managers and what we should be doing to prepare and position our projects for SUCCESS. Next week, we will explore two more trends, including emerging tools/artificial intelligence and the changing face of teams.