Like many other aspects of business, project management has changed enormously over the years. In recent times, the global economic downturn has had an impact on this area, affecting how businesses conduct their projects, manage and resource the people involved within the projects as well the strategies used to ensure a company stays competitive.
Recent research gathered in the Arras People Project Management Confidence Index report suggests that there is a renewed confidence in the industry following the economic downturn, ensuring that the future is looking positive for project managers.
Yet in an arena where business practices are constantly changing, what is the future for project management? This has been a topic of debate by business leaders for some time, and many argue, that despite changes in the way projects are managed, it still has its place in every industry.
Project managers of the future will increasingly spend more time leading projects rather than just managing them. While the term project manager is not likely to disappear any time soon, there will be a shifting tendency towards employing people as project leaders. As well as having the technical and people management abilities, leadership skills will become more important for future project managers.
The rise in social media has had an impact on managing projects, and the tools and techniques used in social communications will be increasingly employed in business projects. As well as using these methods to manage projects, social media will transform how skills are learned. Many trained project managers are making use of virtual learning to keep their skills up to date.
Just a few years ago, project managers had to rely on desktop software to fulfil basic project tasks. The evolution of smart technology has transformed how, when and where project managers can now complete their tasks. They can easily track tasks, create, edit, store and share files using apps and mobile devices on the move, making it much easier to manage projects and communications.
As with many industries and job areas, the recent economic downturn has seen many people moving in and out of employment. The concept of jobs for life is long gone, and the same is true for anyone embarking on a career as a project manager. Increasing numbers of project managers are turning to freelancing, working on various projects to meet different organisations’ demands. Reports also suggest that employees in this sector are increasingly looking to balance work and life, with flexible hours and remote working becoming ever popular concepts in project management.
Many organisations will increasingly make use of expert specialists such as Milestone UK to help ensure they keep critical projects on target, especially if they are needing to juggle a variety of tasks. Many professionals will continue to make use of a variety of methodologies that can complement each other when managing projects, rather than just use a standalone method.
There will be greater emphasis in requiring project managers to combine both experience with qualifications, and those seeking employment are likely to require a professional qualification such as PRINCE2, PMP or APM PMQ (usually preceded by the Project Fundamentals course and qualification APM PFQ) as a basic requirement.
The management of projects will always have a place in business, and as well as being able to manage projects, managers will need people management skills to ensure effective communications. Increasingly, it will be every employee’s responsibility to possess a range of project management skills, as it becomes an all-encompassing area for every business.