Project management has evolved from an organizational function to a discipline that spans across industries, organizational hierarchies, and functions. As a result, the project manager role has seen a radical transformation, leaving the tag of glorified coordinators behind. Today project managers have strategic global roles, lead strategic teams delivering multimillion-dollar projects. In this blog, we take a shot at what the future will demand from the Project Manager role.
The demand for Domain Knowledge
Traditional project management focuses a lot on project management training and certification. While that helps develop excellent project delivery managers, it doesn’t allow for scalability. With complex enterprise projects that demand multi-location teams, high levels of technical expertise and a know-how of industry nuances, project management expertise alone won’t be enough. This needs a change in perspective for the project management role. Project managers will need domain knowledge to complement their project management skills and certification. This is possible only if everyone on the team started thinking like a project manager. Training a domain expert to be a project manager makes a lot more sense than expecting a project manager to pick up domain expertise.
Data-driven decision making
Enterprises are constantly challenged to maintain a healthy bottom line in the midst of changing the economic environment and highly competitive market conditions. This has a direct impact on how projects are planned, staffed and executed. Project managers are needed to have complete visibility and control over resource planning & productivity, budgets, cost adherence and risk. Data, therefore, becomes gold. Organizations need to build a robust data ecosystem with the right project management tools, training and governance to ensure success. Levels of data granularity and extent of analysis are only going to grow deeper as organizations look to do more with less. Project managers will, therefore, need to build capabilities that help them analyze data, extract actionable insights and make informed decisions.
One vs. Many
Traditional project management depends highly on organizational hierarchy. It typically involves a designated manager who has a team assigned to him/her. Project managers then report to the next level of managers/executives depending on the size of the organization, type of industry and other factors. While this brings a lot of structure and accountability, it limits innovation go to a great extent. Companies like Google, IDEO, and Apple to a name a few, thrive on flat hierarchy and flexible organization structures. They are able to drive innovation and success consistently by ensuring collective accountability and empowerment. Everyone on the team is a project manager. Everyone is working towards a goal rather than just getting the job done. As Robin Sharma points out in “Lead without a Title” – The new model of leadership (leadership 2.0) is all about every single stakeholder showing leadership in the work they do. With continuing evolution in the products and services market, success will come to those who dare to go beyond the tried and tested project management methodologies.
With increasing focus on Project Portfolio Management (PPM) in enterprises, Project Managers will be required to gear up for this shift. For a successful career progression, they will need to adopt new technologies, methodologies, and modes of communication. Be it dealing with virtual teams, using collaboration effectively or adopting comprehensive project management tools, project managers will need to add new capabilities to their repertoire to stay relevant. The rate of change is only bound to accelerate and those who adapt will come out on top.
Do you have a perspective on this? Do share with us by leaving a comment.